How Do Changes in Welfare Law Affect Domestic Violence? An Analysis of Connecticut Towns, 1990-2000

25 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2005 Last revised: 25 Aug 2008

See all articles by Jennifer Nou

Jennifer Nou

University of Chicago - Law School

Christopher Timmins

Duke University - Department of Economics

Abstract

The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act transformed welfare from an ongoing cash assistance program by restricting participation through time limits and emphasizing rapid entrance into the labor force. Changes in welfare dependency induced by these legal reforms had the potential to impact rates of domestic violence. Using decennial census, welfare caseload, and police report data, this paper investigates the introduction of time limits and work mandates across Connecticut towns. For a variety of reasons, Connecticut proves to be an ideal laboratory from which to obtain evidence. We find that rates of domestic violence fell in Connecticut with the passage of the new welfare law, especially in towns most subject to the law's provisions. Using Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Report data, we also find evidence that such results hold independent of the reform's effects on other personal crimes and crimes in general.

Keywords: domestic violence, welfare reform, time limits, work mandates, welfare to work

JEL Classification: D10, D12

Suggested Citation

Nou, Jennifer and Timmins, Christopher D., How Do Changes in Welfare Law Affect Domestic Violence? An Analysis of Connecticut Towns, 1990-2000. Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 34, 445-470, 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=868396

Jennifer Nou (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/nou

Christopher D. Timmins

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

213 Social Sciences Building
Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States
919-660-1809 (Phone)
919-684-8974 (Fax)

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