The Effect of Social Distancing on Police Reports of Domestic Violence

22 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2020

See all articles by Lin-chi Hsu

Lin-chi Hsu

Howard University - Department of Economics

Alexander Henke

Howard University - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 31, 2020

Abstract

We analyze the effect of social distancing related to COVID-19 on domestic violence incidents in the U.S. using novel daily mobile device tracking data, the timing of stay-at-home orders, and dispatch and crime data from twenty-eight police departments. We find that reported incidents of domestic violence increase after local stay-at-home orders are enacted and that domestic violence increases with mobile device tracking measures of social distancing. Our result is consistent with an exposure reduction theory of domestic violence. When applied to the entire U.S., we estimate that social distancing increased domestic violence by approximately 6 percent, or more than 24,000 cases, from March 16 to April 30, 2020.

Keywords: Domestic violence, COVID-19, Coronavirus, Stay-at-home orders, Social distancing, Exposure reduction, Pandemics

JEL Classification: J12, D19, I18

Suggested Citation

Hsu, Lin-chi and Henke, Alexander, The Effect of Social Distancing on Police Reports of Domestic Violence (May 31, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3646299 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3646299

Lin-chi Hsu

Howard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Washington, DC 20059
United States

HOME PAGE: http://linchihsu.weebly.com

Alexander Henke (Contact Author)

Howard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Washington, DC 20059
United States

HOME PAGE: http://alexhenke.weebly.com

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