Victoria Barone
Department of Economics, UCLA

Victoria Barone is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Economics at UCLA. Her research interests are labor and health economics. Her research is primarily concerned with the short and long run effects of child maltreatment; what policies can be put in place to improve reporting and, in turn, stop its negative effects on children.

Before coming to UCLA she was a Senior Research Assistant at the Inter-American Development Bank  Research Department. She collaborated with the publication “Development in the Americas” that provides evidence-based recommendations on how to foster skill accumulation in Latin America and the Caribbean countries.

The objective of this project is the study of child abuse and neglect in the United States. Child maltreatment is responsible for substantial morbidity and mortality and has long-lasting effects on mental health, drug and alcohol misuse and criminal behavior (Gilbert et al., 2009). I plan to evaluate the effects of the first policy aiming to reduce domestic child abuse and neglect in early 1960s. This policy consisted of making mandatory the reporting of child maltreatment by physicians, after the discovery in the medical field of the “Battered Child Syndrome.” This discovery increased national awareness about child maltreatment in the country, and by 1970 all fifty states had passed some form of mandatory reporting law. I exploit the staggered introduction of these laws across states to evaluate its effect on the number of cases reported and referrals to foster care and in measures of child well-being such as height, mortality, and mental health in adulthood. The contribution of this project is twofold. First, this research will provide policymakers with an evaluation of how effective are the often-used policies of mandatory reporting of crimes. Second, it will contribute to the literature on the impact of interventions for children from disadvantaged backgrounds and will broaden our understanding of how the stressors that many children face early in life affect their emotional development and behaviors in adult life.