The Gender Wage Gap and Domestic Violence

Am Econ Rev. 2010 Sep;100(4):1847-1859. doi: 10.1257/aer.100.4.1847.


Three quarters of all violence against women is perpetrated by domestic partners. This study exploits exogenous changes in the demand for labor in female-dominated industries to estimate the impact of the male-female wage gap on domestic violence. Decreases in the wage gap reduce violence against women, consistent with a household bargaining model. These findings shed new light on the health production process as well as observed income gradients in health and suggest that in addition to addressing concerns of equity and efficiency, pay parity can also improve the health of American women via reductions in violence.

MeSH terms

  • Battered Women*
  • Black or African American
  • Domestic Violence*
  • Employment*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Income*
  • Pregnant Women
  • Risk Factors
  • Salaries and Fringe Benefits*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States
  • White People