How do economic conditions affect the incidence of child abuse? While researchers have found that poverty and child abuse are linked, there’s been no evidence that downturns increase abuse. A new working paper (PDF; abstract) by economists Jason M. Lindo, Jessamyn Schaller, and Benjamin Hansen “addresses this seeming contradiction.” Here’s the abstract, with a key finding in bold:
Using county-level child abuse data spanning 1996 to 2009 from the California Department of Justice, we estimate the extent to which a county’s reported abuse rate diverges from its trend when its economic conditions diverge from trend, controlling for statewide annual shocks. The results of this analysis indicate that overall measures of economic conditions are not strongly related to rates of abuse. However, focusing on overall measures of economic conditions masks strong opposing effects of economic conditions facing males and females: male layoffs increase rates of abuse whereas female layoffs reduce rates of abuse. These results are consistent with a theoretical framework that builds on family-time-use models and emphasizes differential risks of abuse associated with a child’s time spent with different caregivers.
Freakonomics makes the case that good parenting doesn’t necessarily produce good children. But what’s the effect of bad parenting — especially child abuse? Martin Amis offered some evidence on that subject in a talk at the New Yorker Festival this weekend, in the form of a “charming anecdote about Stalin.” In 1937, Stalin liquidated most […] Read More »
From research by economists J.J. Prescott and Jonah Rockoff, here are a few current statistics on sex offenses reported to the police: 1) 25 percent of victims are 10-14 years old; 23 percent are nine or younger. 2) 22.5 percent of the offenders are family members. Only 8 percent are strangers. 3) 25 percent of […] Read More »