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Terror as a Bargaining Instrument: A Case Study of Dowry Violence in Rural India

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  • Francis Bloch
  • Vijayendra Rao

Abstract

This paper examines how domestic violence may be used as an instrument to extract large transfers from a spouse's family. It is based on a case-study of three villages in Southern India, conducted by the authors, that combines qualitative and survey data. Based on the ethnographic evidence, we develop a non-cooperative bargaining and signaling model of dowries and domestic violence. The predictions from these models are tested with survey data. We find that women who pay smaller dowries suffer an increased risk of marital violence, as do women who come from richer families.
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Suggested Citation

  • Francis Bloch & Vijayendra Rao, 2002. "Terror as a Bargaining Instrument: A Case Study of Dowry Violence in Rural India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1029-1043, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:92:y:2002:i:4:p:1029-1043
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/00028280260344588
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rao, Vijayendra, 1993. "The Rising Price of Husbands: A Hedonic Analysis of Dowry Increases in Rural India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 666-677, August.
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    7. Rao, V., 1991. "A hedonic Analysis of Dowry in Rural India," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 91-6, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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