NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Empowering Women through Employment, Earnings and Wealth in India

September 5, 2013

Using data from two detailed datasets -- the National Family Health Survey and the India Human Development Survey -- Aparna Mathur and Sita Nataraj Slavov, resident scholars at the American Enterprise Institute, explore whether women who are economically empowered (through work, earnings or wealth) are less likely to experience domestic violence.

They find that:

  • Working women may be at a greater risk of violence.
  • Higher earnings are associated with a reduction in violence.

These findings provide additional evidence to supplement earlier findings that simply focused on whether women worked, rather than their earnings, and concluded that employment was positively related to abuse.

In addition, they exploit a natural experiment wherein five Indian states made amendments to their inheritance laws allowing daughters equal status as sons in the right to inherit the joint property of the father. The results using data from the National Family Health Survey suggest that these state amendments significantly reduced the likelihood of abuse for women who benefited from these laws.

In general, results from this paper support the idea that more autonomy for women is an essential step forward in the fight against domestic abuse.

Source: Aparna Mathur and Sita Nataraj Slavov, "Empowering Women Through Employment, Earnings and Wealth in India," American Enterprise Institute, August 29, 2013.


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