Abi Adams-Prassl, Oxford University

The Dynamics of Domestic Abuse


Survey evidence suggests that domestic violence is widespread. However, no evidence exists to date on the impact of cohabitating with an abuser on women’s labour market outcomes. We match police records on all crime reports in Finland between 2006-2019 to population administrative employment and earnings records. 2.7% of all cohabitation spells that started in this period are associated with at least one report of domestic abuse. However, this rate is close to 5% amongst couples with large gaps in completed education. Using a matched observation control design and a within-individual comparison of outcomes across relationships, we show that women suffer large and significant earnings and employment falls upon cohabitating with an abusive partner. This deterioration of women’s labour market outcomes upon cohabitation is similar for couples in which police reports appear close to cohabitation, those in which reports occur a number of years following cohabitation, and for those in which no report of violence is made to the police but the man is recorded as an abuser in another relationship.

(Joint with Kristiina Huttunen, Emily Nix & Ning Zhang)

Abi Adams-Prassl is associate professor & Senior research fellow at University of Oxford.

Her research sits within Applied Microeconomics, often focused on the econometrics of consumer and family choice.
Her research has three main themes.

First, she develops empirical methods to bring new models of decision-making to data. Much of behavioral economics is confined to lab experiments because it is difficult to measure and quantify irrationality. She asks what we can learn from real-world data about the drivers (rational or irrational) of choices and develop practical tools for applied researchers to use in their work. Another key research stream concerns family decision-making. Poor data and restrictive models often mean that economists end up making strong assumptions about how families behave, increasing the risk of unintended consequences when formulating policy. In 2020, she was awarded an ERC Starting Grant to develop this research agenda.

Second, she exploits large-scale datasets to better understand modern labor markets. She has a number of projects using job vacancy text to provide new insights on changing employment contracts and diversity in the workplace. A particular interest is in understanding why gender inequalities persist.

Third, she develops frameworks for quantifying access to justice in the UK legal system. There have been a big reforms in the process by which individuals can enforce their rights. Alongside Jeremias Adams-Prassl, she analyses the impact of these changes on claimants and provide theoretical frameworks for assessing the legality of reforms. Their work on employment tribunal fees led to the UK Supreme Court declaring them unlawful in 2017.

You can read more about Abi Adams-Prassl  and her research here

CEBI contact: Christina Gravert