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Women's access to labor market opportunities, control of household resources, and domestic violence

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  • Heath, Rachel
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    Abstract

    While there are many positive societal implications of increased female labor force opportunities, some theoretical models and empirical evidence suggest that working can increase a woman's risk of suffering domestic violence. Using a dataset collected in peri-urban Dhaka, this analysis documents a positive correlation between work and domestic violence. This correlation is only present among women with less education or who were younger at first marriage. These results are consistent with a theoretical model in which a woman with low bargaining power can face increased risk of domestic violence upon entering the labor force as a husband seeks to counteract her increased bargaining power. By contrast, husbands of women who have higher baseline bargaining power cannot resort to domestic violence since their wives have the ability to leave violent marriages. These findings are inconsistent with the models of assortative matching in the marriage market, expressive violence, work in response to economic shocks, or underreporting of domestic violence. The results on age at marriage are also inconsistent with the implications of a reverse causality model in which women enter the labor force to escape violent situations at home, although the results on education are consistent with that story.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6149.

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    Date of creation: 01 Jul 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6149

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    Related research

    Keywords: Gender and Development; Adolescent Health; Population Policies; Gender and Health; Gender and Law;

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    1. Helen V. Tauchen & Ann Dryden Witte & Sharon K. Long, 1985. "Domestic Violence: A Non-random Affair," NBER Working Papers 1665, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ambrus, Attila & Field, Erica, 2008. "Early Marriage, Age of Menarche, and Female Schooling Attainment in Bangladesh," Scholarly Articles 3200264, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    3. Pitt, Mark M. & Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Hassan, Nazmul, 2010. "Human Capital Investment and the Gender Division of Labor in a Brawn-Based Economy," Working Papers 83, Yale University, Department of Economics.
    4. Anderson, Siwan & Eswaran, Mukesh, 2009. "What determines female autonomy? Evidence from Bangladesh," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 179-191, November.
    5. Anna Aizer, 2010. "The Gender Wage Gap and Domestic Violence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1847-59, September.
    6. Hidrobo, Melissa & Fernald, Lia, 2013. "Cash transfers and domestic violence," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 304-319.
    7. Bloch, Francis & Rao, Vijayendra, 1999. "Terror as a Bargaining Instrument : A Case-Study of Dowry Violence in Rural India," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1999020, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    8. Gustavo J. Bobonis & Melissa González-Brenes & Roberto Castro, 2013. "Public Transfers and Domestic Violence: The Roles of Private Information and Spousal Control," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 179-205, February.
    9. Erica Field & Attila Ambrus, 2008. "Early Marriage, Age of Menarche, and Female Schooling Attainment in Bangladesh," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(5), pages 881-930, October.
    10. Mukesh Eswaran & Nisha Malhotra, 2011. "Domestic violence and women's autonomy in developing countries: theory and evidence," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 44(4), pages 1222-1263, November.
    11. Emily Oster & M. Bryce Millett, 2010. "Do Call Centers Promote School Enrollment? Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 15922, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Angelucci Manuela, 2008. "Love on the Rocks: Domestic Violence and Alcohol Abuse in Rural Mexico," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-43, October.
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    Cited by:
    1. 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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