An Intergenerational Model of Domestic Violence

Robert A. Pollak

NBER Working Paper No. 9099
Issued in August 2002
NBER Program(s):   LS

This paper proposes and analyzes an intergenerational model of domestic violence (IMDV) in which behavioral strategies or scripts are transmitted from parents to children. The model rests upon three key assumptions: * The probability that a husband will be violent depends on whether he grew up in a violent home. * The probability that a wife will remain with a violent husband depends on whether she grew up in a violent home. * Individuals who grew up in violent homes tend to marry individuals who grew up in violent homes. The IMDV calls attention to three features neglected in the domestic violence literature. The first is the marriage market. If some men are more likely than others to be violent as husbands and some women are more likely than others to remain in violent marriages, then the probability that such individuals marry each other is crucial. The second neglected feature is divorce: ongoing domestic violence requires the conjunction of a husband who is violent and a wife who stays. Third, variables and policies that reduce the rate of domestic violence in the short run are likely to reduce it even further in the long run.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w9099

Published: Pollak, Robert A. "An Intergenerational Model Of Domestic Violence," Journal of Population Economics, 2004, v17(2,Jun), 311-329. citation courtesy of

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