Families under Confinement: COVID-19, Domestic Violence, and Alcohol Consumption
33 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2020 Last revised: 21 Jan 2021
Date Written: September 7, 2020
Does the COVID-19 pandemic increase domestic violence? The decline in household income combined with prolonged confinement with the potential assailant may increase household conflict. By contrast, economic theory predicts that domestic violence depends on the income distribution within the household. To test which effect dominates, we employ two separate data sources from Mexico City, domestic violence hotline calls and official police reports. Using a difference-in-difference strategy, we find that domestic violence-related hotline calls increased by 30%, while official police reports of domestic violence declined by 27%. To reconcile these mixed findings, we consider several potential mechanisms including confinement of victims with their perpetrators preventing reporting, alcohol consumption, fear of infection during reporting, among others. We find suggestive evidence that confinement of women with their perpetrators reduced official domestic violence police reports. Our findings imply that violence against women did not decrease during the lockdown, but instead, women faced hurdles in reporting their abusive partners to the police.
Keywords: Domestic Violence, COVID-19, Alcohol, Latin America, Mexico
JEL Classification: J12, J16, J18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation