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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.
    2. Lundberg, Shelly & Pollak, Robert A, 1993. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 988-1010, December.
    3. Robert A. Pollak, 2004. "An intergenerational model of domestic violence," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 17(2), pages 311-329, June.
    4. Alderman, Harold, et al, 1995. "Unitary versus Collective Models of the Household: Is It Time to Shift the Burden of Proof?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 10(1), pages 1-19, February.
    5. Chwe, Michael Suk-Young, 1990. "Why Were Workers Whipped? Pain in a Principal-Agent Model," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(403), pages 1109-1121, December.
    6. Farmer, Amy & Tiefenthaler, Jill, 1996. "Domestic Violence: The Value of Services as Signals," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 274-279, May.
    7. Rao, V., 1991. "A hedonic Analysis of Dowry in Rural India," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 91-6, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
    8. 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.
    9. Tauchen, Helen V & Witte, Ann Dryden & Long, Sharon K, 1991. "Domestic Violence: A Nonrandom Affair," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 32(2), pages 491-511, May.
    10. Manser, Marilyn & Brown, Murray, 1980. "Marriage and Household Decision-Making: A Bargaining Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 21(1), pages 31-44, February.
    11. McElroy, Marjorie B & Horney, Mary Jean, 1981. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: Toward a Generalization of the Theory of Demand," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(2), pages 333-349, June.
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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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