The Cost of Violence

Violence is part of the human condition and zero targets such as "Prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against girls and women" are aspirational. Some countries are more able to "ensure stable and peaceful societies" than others; how the reduction of violence can be achieved is less well understood. Despite the uncertainty of what feasible targets for violence reduction are and how they can be achieved we advocate the inclusion of such targets in the post-2015 agenda.

In this research project, it is our goal to quantify the cost of violence. Our estimates suggest that it is high; the welfare cost of collective, interpersonal violence, harsh child discipline, intimate partner violence and sexual abuse are equivalent to around 11% of global GDP. The cost of homicides is much larger than the cost of civil conflict. However, violence perpetrated in the home appears to be the most prevalent form of violence. Domestic abuse of women and children should no longer be regarded as a private matter but a public health concern.

As part of the ceremony of the German Award of Psychology in 2019, which was awarded to Prof. Dr. Thomas Elbert, Prof. Dr. Anke Hoeffler presented this research project in Berlin. You can watch her talk (in German) here.  

Find the resulting book chapter here:
Hoeffler, Anke; Fearon, James (2017). Beyond civil war: the costs of interpersonal violence. Chapter 4 in: Prioritizing Development: A cost benefit analysis of the United Nations Global Goals (Bjørn Lomborg, ed.). Cambridge University Press, 67-88.