Family stress and domestic violence under Covid-19

A new GLO Discussion Paper finds for Canada that remote work on a large scale does not lead to family violence.

The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental organization that functions as an international network and virtual platform to stimulate global research, debate and collaboration.

GLO Discussion Paper No. 571, 2020

Covid-19, Family Stress and Domestic Violence: Remote Work, Isolation and Bargaining PowerDownload PDF
Beland, Louis-Philippe & Brodeur, Abel & Haddad, Joanne & Mikola, Derek

GLO Fellows Louis-Philippe Beland & Abel Brodeur

Author Abstract: We study the impacts of COVID-19 on domestic violence and family stress. Our empirical analysis relies on a unique online survey, the Canadian Perspective Survey Series, which allows us to investigate the mechanisms through which COVID-19 may affect family stress and domestic violence. We find no evidence that changes in work arrangements are related to self-reported levels of family stress and violence in the home due to confinement, suggesting that remote work on a large scale does not lead to family violence. In contrast, we find that the inability to meet financial obligations and maintaining social ties significantly increase reported family stress and domestic violence. These findings are consistent with two alternative mechanisms: social isolation and decreased bargaining power for women. Last, we provide suggestive evidence that receiving financial relief does not mitigate the effect of financial worries on domestic violence and family stress. We conclude that targeted programs supporting victims of domestic violence may be more effective.

More from the GLO Coronavirus Cluster

GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS,  EconPapers)Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.


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