IZA DP No. 7515: Unemployment and Domestic Violence: Theory and Evidence
published in: Economic Journal, 2016, 126 (597), 1947-1979
Is unemployment the overwhelming determinant of domestic violence that many commentators expect it to be? The contribution of this paper is to examine, theoretically and empirically, how changes in unemployment affect the incidence of domestic abuse. The key theoretical prediction is that male and female unemployment have opposite-signed effects on domestic abuse: an increase in male unemployment decreases the incidence of intimate partner violence, while an increase in female unemployment increases domestic abuse. Combining data on intimate partner violence from the British Crime Survey with locally disaggregated labor market data from the UK's Annual Population Survey, we find strong evidence in support of the theoretical prediction.