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Love, Hate and Murder: Commitment Devices in Violent Relationships

Anna Aizer () and Pedro Dal Bó ()

No 13492, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: Many violent relationships are characterized by a high degree of cyclicality: women who are the victims of domestic violence often leave and return multiple times. To explain this we develop a model of time inconsistent preferences in the context of domestic violence. This time inconsistency generates a demand for commitment. We present supporting evidence that women in violent relationships display time inconsistent preferences by examining their demand for commitment devices. We find that "no-drop" policies -- which compel the prosecutor to continue with prosecution even if the victim expresses a desire to drop the charges -- result in an increase in reporting. No-drop policies also result in a decrease in the number of men murdered by intimates suggesting that some women in violent relationships move away from an extreme type of commitment device when a less costly one is offered.

JEL-codes: J12 J16 K4 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-law and nep-soc
Date: 2007-10
Note: CH HE LS
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Published as Aizer, Anna & Dal B, Pedro, 2009. "Love, hate and murder: Commitment devices in violent relationships," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 412-428, April.

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