An economic assessment of parents' self-composure: The case of physical child abuse

Mark D. Agee, Thomas Crocker, Jason F. Shogren

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1 Scopus citations


This paper uses a maximum likelihood procedure that accounts for unobserved heterogeneity in the sample to implement a preference-based model to assess factors that influence parents' likelihood of losing their composure and physically abusing their children. A basic supposition of the model is that parents prefer to deal with parent-child conflict by choosing tactics and behaviors that do not exceed a specified level of violence; however, endogenous parent and child behaviors and exogenous circumstances may arouse parents' emotions that cause this level to be exceeded. Our results suggest policy interventions that influence such circumstances and associated behaviors may strongly influence the incidence of physical child abuse. We estimate the ex ante annual value parents attach to risk reductions of self-composure losses associated with excessive parent-child violence. This value is shown to be greater than currently estimated annual savings in ex post costs associated with a comparable decrease in U.S. physical child abuse incidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-235
Number of pages41
JournalTopics in Economic Analysis and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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