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Domestic violence and women's autonomy in developing countries: theory and evidence

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  • Mukesh Eswaran
  • Nisha Malhotra

Abstract

This paper sets out a simple non-cooperative model of resource allocation within the household in developing countries that incorporates domestic violence as a vehicle for enhancing bargaining power. We demonstrate that the extent of domestic violence faced by women is not necessarily declining in their reservation utilities, or necessarily increasing in their spouses'. Using the National Family Health Survey data of India for 1998-99, we isolate the effect of domestic violence on female autonomy, taking into account the possible endogeneity of domestic violence through the choice of appropriate instruments. We provide some evidence for the evolutionary theory of domestic violence, which argues that such violence stems from the jealousy caused by paternity uncertainty in our evolutionary past. The findings have strong policy implications suggesting that it will take more than an improvement in women's employment options to address the problem of spousal violence.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Canadian Economics Association in its journal Canadian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 44 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 1222-1263

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Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:44:y:2011:i:4:p:1222-1263

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Cited by:
  1. Heath, Rachel, 2014. "Women’s Access to Labor Market Opportunities, Control of Household Resources, and Domestic Violence: Evidence from Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 32-46.
  2. Heath, Rachel, 2012. "Women's access to labor market opportunities, control of household resources, and domestic violence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6149, The World Bank.
  3. Hidrobo, Melissa & Fernald, Lia, 2013. "Cash transfers and domestic violence," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 304-319.

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