NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Income Changes and Intimate Partner Violence: Evidence from Unconditional Cash Transfers in Kenya

Johannes Haushofer, Charlotte Ringdal, Jeremy P. Shapiro, Xiao Yu Wang

NBER Working Paper No. 25627
Issued in March 2019, Revised in July 2019
NBER Program(s):Development Economics, Health Economics

In a previous study, we found an improvement in female empowerment after randomized unconditional cash transfers in Kenya (Haushofer and Shapiro 2016). Here we report detailed impacts of these transfers on physical and sexual intimate partner violence, and construct a theory to explain them. Transfers to women averaging USD 709 reduced physical and sexual violence (-0:26, -0:22 standard deviations). Transfers to men reduced physical violence (-0:18 SD). We find spillovers: physical violence towards non-recipient women in treatment villages decreased (-0:16 SD). We show theoretically that transfers to both men and women are needed to understand why violence occurs. Our theory suggests that husbands use physical violence to extract resources, but dislike it, while sexual violence is not used to extract resources, but is pleasurable.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25627

 
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