Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

Child Maltreatment, The Economic Determinants of

  • Jason M. LindoEmail author
  • Jessamyn Schaller
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_583


This entry examines the economic determinants of child maltreatment. We first discuss potential mechanisms through which economic factors, including income, employment, aggregate economic conditions, and welfare receipt, might have causal effects on the rates of child abuse and neglect. We then outline the main challenges faced by researchers attempting to identify these causal effects, emphasizing the importance of data limitations and potential confounding factors at both the individual and aggregate levels. We describe two approaches used in the existing literature to address these challenges – the use of experimental variation to identify the effects of changes in family income on individual likelihood of maltreatment and the use of area studies to identify the effects of changes in local economic conditions on aggregate rates of maltreatment.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.NBERCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.IZABonnGermany
  4. 4.The University of ArizonaTucsonUSA