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The Economics of Domestic Violence – Evidence from Bangladesh

Health & Psychology Bangladesh

Study Context

In Bangladesh, 1 in 2 married women report suffering from physical or sexual violence during their lives (BBS 2016). To date, the drivers of violence and pathways of change remain poorly understood and there is a need for evidence on how to improve the design and targeting of anti-violence programs (Samuels et al. 2017). Understanding the relative importance of motives for violence and their relationship to different interventions is crucial for policy prioritization, particularly in contexts where prevalence rates remain high despite progress in women’s economic empowerment.

Study Design 

The project proposes a combination of surveys and lab-in-the-field experiments with households in Bangladesh to investigate the motives for domestic violence. First, the research team will run a lab-in-the-field experiment in which a man can express his dissatisfaction with an anonymous woman using an annoying sound. This will allow the team to study whether men use punishment to deter or respond to certain wife behaviors and whether violence is driven by financial or reputation concerns. Second, the team will use vignettes about every-day situations to study the external relevance of the experiment for domestic violence.

Results and Policy Lessons

Results forthcoming.

  • BRAC James P. Grant School of Public Health

2020 – ongoing

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