Panel Paper: Do Income Shocks Affect Domestic Violence?

Saturday, November 10, 2018
8226 - Lobby Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Jillian Carr, Purdue University and Analisa Packham, Miami University

A large literature has documented that temporal crime patterns are directly related to the monthly cycle of government transfers. This project examines how the timing of nutritional assistance payments affects instances of domestic abuse and child maltreatment in the United States. To do so, we use a policy change in Illinois that shifted SNAP benefit issuance later in the month to evaluate two arguments that support the notion that nutritional assistance affects violence within households: (i) parents or partners use violence as a way to express frustration or economic stress near the end of the benefit cycle when resources are lean, and/or (ii) parents or partners use violence as a way to control the allocation of household resources shortly after an influx of benefits. Using crime-level data for the city of Chicago, we find that shifting SNAP benefits later in the month increases instances of domestic abuse by 4.2 percent, which suggests that in-kind transfers influence household violence. We find no corresponding effect on child maltreatment.

Full Paper: