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

Author

Listed:
  • Gustavo J. Bobonis
  • Melissa González-Brenes
  • Roberto Castro

Abstract

We study whether transfer programs in which funds are targeted to women decrease the incidence of spousal abuse. We examine the impact of the Mexican Oportunidades program on spousal abuse rates and threats of violence using data from a specialized survey. Beneficiary women are 40 percent less likely to be victims of physical abuse, but are more likely to receive violent threats with no associated abuse. This evidence is consistent with a model of decision-makers' interactions with asymmetric information in the male partner's gains to marriage, who can then use threats of violence to extract rents from their female partners. (JEL D82, J12, J16, K42, O15, O17)

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:5:y:2013:i:1:p:179-205
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.5.1.179
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • 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
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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