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Public Transfers and Domestic Violence: The Roles of Private Information and Spousal Control

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  • Gustavo J Bobonis
  • Roberto Castro
  • Melissa Gonzalez-Brenes

Abstract

Existing economic theories of the family suggest that public transfer programs in which funds are targeted to women, by improving women’s bargaining position in the household, may decrease the incidence of spousal abuse. We study this prediction empirically using data from a unique survey in Mexico to examine the impact of the Oportunidades conditional cash transfer program on spousal abuse rates and threats of violence. We find that although women in beneficiary households are 33 percent less likely to be victims of physical abuse than women in comparable non-beneficiary households, they are more likely to receive violent threats with no associated physical abuse. We re-interpret a model of decision-makers’ interactions with asymmetric information in the male partners’ gains to marriage to document how increases in female partners’ socioeconomic opportunities can lead to an increase in husbands’ use of violent threats with no associated physical abuse – predictions consistent with the empirical evidence.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-362.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 09 Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-362

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Keywords: spousal abuse; conditional cash transfer programs; non-cooperative bargaining;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. de Brauw, Alan & Peterman, Amber, 2011. "Can conditional cash transfers improve maternal health and birth outcomes?: Evidence from El Salvador's Comunidades Solidarias Rurales," IFPRI discussion papers 1080, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  2. Siwan Anderson & Garance Genicot, 2012. "Suicide and Property Rights in India," Working Papers id:5080, eSocialSciences.
  3. Giulia La Mattina, 2014. "Civil Conflict, Sex Ratio and Intimate Partner Violence in Rwanda," HiCN Working Papers 175, Households in Conflict Network.
  4. Þevket Alper Koç & Hakký Cenk Erkin, 2012. "On Intergenerational Transmission of Domestic Violence: Pollak Revisited," Bogazici Journal of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Bogazici University, Department of Economics, vol. 26(1), pages 45-65.
  5. 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.
  6. Hidrobo, Melissa & Fernald, Lia, 2013. "Cash transfers and domestic violence," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 304-319.
  7. World Bank, 2011. "Work and Family : Latin American and Caribbean Women in Search of a New Balance," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12489, The World Bank.

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