Seeking safe harbors: Emergency domestic violence shelters and family violence
Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics
Univeristy of Wisconsin-Madison
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
On-line via Zoom
12:00 pm-1:30 pm
How do changes in the supply of services for domestic violence (DV) victim/survivors change the incidence of violence, both between intimate partners (IPV) and in the family more broadly? I examine how changes to emergency DV shelter bed capacity affect rates of DV homicide, the most extreme form of family violence. To do this, I leverage a unique data set of over 400 US DV shelters from 1984-present. This data allows me to look separately at the effects of binary changes in capacity (the extensive margin) and the magnitudes of these changes (the intensive margin). I find no strong evidence of a causal relationship between shelter capacity changes and IPV or DV homicide. I use a variety of econometric methods including instrumental variables, regression discontinuity, and difference-in-differences designs to show that across time horizons and specifications the relationship is small and not robust. There is some evidence that IPV homicides are negatively affected by increases in bed capacity and DV homicides positively affected, but these relationships are small and highly sensitive to econometric specifications.