Domestic violence and women's economic decision-making

This project is funded by the BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant scheme (grant no. SG162861).

Research question

This project uses a lab-in-field experiment in Ethiopia to ask whether and how experiences of domestic violence impact women’s economic decision-making.

Research summary and methodology

30% of women worldwide report being victims of domestic violence (DV), and in parts of sub-Saharan Africa the figure exceeds 50%. We hypothesise that exposure to DV may negatively impact women’s cognitive functioning and economic choices, including decisions over budget allocations and investments involving time and/or risk. If such effects exist, providing women with additional income or income-generating opportunities may not be enough to reduce DV within a relationship, or to enable women to exit abusive relationships. Instead, interventions tackling DV may need to address violence more directly, for example by addressing men’s information and incentives.

Our research project consists of a field experiment with 600 women from urban slums in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Participants are randomly assigned either to a treatment condition priming experiences of domestic violence, or to various control conditions. They then perform incentivized computer-based tasks to measure their risk preferences, time preferences, and aspects of cognitive functioning especially relevant in the context of DV. This design allows us to carefully measure the impact of DV on women’s economic decision-making, and to separate out the possible psychological mechanisms driving such impacts.

Collaborating Researchers

Dan Anderberg, Royal Holloway University of London

Featured Publications

In progress.