Department of Medicine
Rush University and Stroger Hospital
1653 W. Congress Parkway
Chicago, IL 60612
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|December 2016||Health, Human Capital and Domestic Violence|
with Nicholas W. Papageorge, Gwyn C. Pauley, Tracey E. Wilson, Barton H. Hamilton, Robert A. Pollak: w22887
We study the impact of health shocks on domestic violence and illicit drug use. We argue that health is a form of human capital that shifts incentives for risky behaviors, such as drug use, and also changes options outside of violent relationships. To estimate causal effects, we examine chronically ill women before and after a medical breakthrough and exploit differences in these women's health prior to the breakthrough. We show evidence that health improvements induced by the breakthrough reduced domestic violence and illicit drug use. Our findings provide support for the idea that health improvements can have far-reaching implications for costly social problems. The policy relevance of our findings is compounded by the fact that both domestic violence and illicit drug use are social prob...