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American Economic Journal: Economic Policy: Vol. 5 No. 1 (February 2013)

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

Article Citation

Bobonis, Gustavo J., Melissa González-Brenes, and Roberto Castro. 2013. "Public Transfers and Domestic Violence: The Roles of Private Information and Spousal Control." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 5(1): 179-205.

DOI: 10.1257/pol.5.1.179

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)

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Authors

Bobonis, Gustavo J. (U Toronto)
González-Brenes, Melissa (Cove Strategy, Somerville, MA)
Castro, Roberto (Regional Center for Multidisciplinary Research, UNAM)

JEL Classifications

D82: Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
J12: Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure; Domestic Abuse
J16: Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
K42: Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
O15: Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
O17: Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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