Empowering women through employment, earnings and wealth in India

Article Highlights

  • Using data from two detailed, nationally representative, household datasets, we explore whether women who are economically empowered are less likely to experience domestic violence.

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  • We find that, while working women may be at a greater risk of violence, higher earnings are associated with a reduction in violence.

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Abstract

Using data from two detailed, nationally representative, household datasets – the National Family Health Survey and the India Human Development survey – we explore whether women who are economically empowered (through work, earnings, or wealth) are less likely to experience domestic violence. We find that, while working women may be at a greater risk of violence, higher earnings are associated with a reduction in violence. Although these findings are informative, they do not necessarily establish a causal link between economic empowerment and violence. To test for causality, we exploit arguably exogenous variation in state laws designed to equalize the inheritance rights of sons and daughters. Additional variation comes from the fact that these state laws did not apply to some women based on their religious affiliation and date of marriage. We find some evidence that women who were subject to these laws are less likely to report being victims of domestic violence.

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About the Author

 

Aparna
Mathur
  • Aparna Mathur is an economist who writes about taxes and wages. She has been a consultant to the World Bank and has taught economics at the University of Maryland. Her work ranges from research on carbon taxes and the impact of state health insurance mandates on small firms to labor market outcomes. Her research on corporate taxation includes the widely discussed coauthored 2006 "Wages and Taxes" paper, which explored the link between corporate taxes and manufacturing wages.
  • Phone: 202-828-6026
    Email: amathur@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Hao Fu
    Phone: 202-862-5214
    Email: hao.fu@aei.org

 

Sita Nataraj
Slavov
  • Economist Sita Nataraj Slavov specializes in public finance issues dealing with retirement and the economics of aging. Her recent work has focused on whether retiree health insurance encourages early retirement, the impact of widowhood on out-of-pocket medical expenses among the elderly and the optimal time to claim Social Security. Before joining AEI, Slavov taught a variety of economic courses at Occidental College: game theory, public finance, behavioral economics and econometrics. She has also served as a senior economist specializing in public finance issues at the White House's Council of Economic Advisers. Her work at AEI will focus on Social Security and retirement issues.


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  • Phone: 202-862-7161
    Email: sita.slavov@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Brittany Pineros
    Phone: 202-862-5926
    Email: brittany.pineros@aei.org

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