Does the COVID-19 stay-at-home order increase domestic violence? The significant decline in household income combined with prolonged confinement with the potential assailant may increase household conflict. Despite these plausible reasons for an increase in household violence, economic theory predicts that domestic violence depends on the income distribution within the household. To test these effects empirically, we estimate the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on domestic violence using two different data sources in Mexico City. First, we utilize call-center data from a domestic violence hotline (Línea Mujeres), and, then, we corroborate the call-center findings using official police reports. Using an event-study design, we find domestic violence calls for legal services decreased, however, domestic violence-related calls for psychological services held constant and even increased in certain weeks. Then, we consider the effect on official police reports and find that domestic violence police reports declined. We conclude by considering the differential effects of three local policies: food assistance, the prohibition of alcohol sales, and support to micro-entrepreneurs. We discover suggestive evidence that food assistance and support to micro-entrepreneurs mitigated domestic violence, but the alcohol ban did little to prevent household violence.

Country:
Program Area:
Study Type:
Quasi-experimental Analysis
Timeline:
March-May 2020
Impact Goals:
Improve women’s health, safety, and economic empowerment
Outcomes of Interest:
Call-center services for intimate partner violence
External Website:
Results Status:
Results
Results:
Using an event-study design, we find domestic violence calls for legal services decreased, however, domestic violence-related calls for psychological services held constant and even increased in certain weeks. Then, we consider the effect on official police reports and find that domestic violence police reports declined. We conclude by considering the differential effects of three local policies: food assistance, the prohibition of alcohol sales, and support to micro-entrepreneurs. We discover suggestive evidence that food assistance and support to micro-entrepreneurs mitigated domestic violence, but the alcohol ban did little to prevent household violence.
Key Findings:
During the lockdown: (1) domestic violence calls for legal services decreased, (2) domestic violence-related calls for psychological services held constant and even increased in certain weeks, and (3) food assistance and support to micro-entrepreneurs mitigated domestic violence, but an alcohol ban did little to prevent household violence