Skip to main content
Domestic Violence and Women's Autonomy: Evidence from India
accepted at Canadian Journal of Economics (2011)
  • Mukesh Eswaran, University of British Columbia
  • Nisha Malhotra, University of British Columbia

This paper sets out a simple non-cooperative model of resource allocation within the household in developing countries that incorporates domestic violence as an instrument for enhancing bargaining power. We demonstrate that the extent of domestic violence faced by women is not necessarily declining in their reservation utilities, nor necessarily increasing in their spouses’. Using the National Family Health Survey data of India for 1998-99, we isolate the e¤ect of domestic violence on female autonomy, taking into account the possible two-way causality through the choice of appropriate instruments. We provide some evidence for the evolutionary theory of domestic violence, which argues that such violence stems from the jealousy caused by paternity uncertainty in our evolutionary past. The findings have strong policy implications suggesting that it will take more than an improvement in women's employment options to address the problem of spousal violence.

  • Domestic Violence,
  • Women's Autonomy,
  • India
Publication Date
Citation Information
Mukesh Eswaran and Nisha Malhotra. "Domestic Violence and Women's Autonomy: Evidence from India" accepted at Canadian Journal of Economics (2011)
Available at: