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Intimate Partner Violence and Children's Human Capital: The Development of Socio-Emotional and Cognitive Skills in Early Years

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)


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IPV Exposure and Children's Human Capital Accumulation

When children witness intimate partner violence (IPV), they too become victims. The effect on children can be not only direct, but also indirect by affecting the interaction with their
mothers. The proposed research project will combine an internationally unique UK longitudinal cohort data resource with state-of-the-art dynamic human capital modelling to study the
short- and medium-run impact of exposure to IPV on children's cognitive and socio-emotional
development up to age seven, and the role of mothers' responses in this process.

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Non-Technical Summary

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Intimate Partner Violence and Children's Human Capital (with Alex Vickery and Gloria Moroni)

This paper studies how exposure to Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) affects the accumulation of cognitive and socio-emotional skills of young children. We use a dynamic latent factor model and estimate the joint dynamic process of IPV exposure, parental investment, mother’s mental health and child skill development, allowing for static and dynamic complementarities between all inputs. We allow for both a direct effect of IPV —through the witnessing of abuse— and indirect effects —via changes in parental investment and mother’s mental health. We find that the negative effect of IPV manifests earlier in childhood for socio-emotional skills whereas the long term effect is more persistent for cognitive skills. When decomposing the total effect into direct and indirect effects we find that for cognitive skills the direct effects play a relatively larger role, while for socio-emotional skills the indirect effects dominate. Finally, our results suggest that while early childhood interventions that target parental investment and mother’s mental health can be effective in offsetting the immediate negative effects of IPV, in absence of follow-up the benefits will fade-out as the child ages. 


Gloria Moroni (Co-I)

Alex Vickery


British Academy Postdoctoral Researcher

Royal Holloway University of London

Postdoctoral Researcher

Erasmus University Rotterdam

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Dan Anderberg

Department of Economics
Royal Holloway University of London
Egham, Surrey, TW20 0EX
United Kingdom

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