Panel Paper: Happily Ever after? Domestic Violence in Periods of Scarcity

Thursday, July 19, 2018
Building 5, Sala Maestros Upper (ITAM)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Adriana Camacho1,2 and Catherine Rodriguez1, (1)Universidad de los Andes, (2)CAF - Development Bank of Latin America

This paper estimates the causal impact that a variation in household income has on domestic violence at the municipality level using the arguably exogenous variation in time and space of the payments from the Colombian Conditional Cash Transfer program Familias en Accion. We find that the municipalities’ domestic violence rate decreases by six percent in the months in which the transfers are received. Expectations of payments, particularly negative surprises that take place when families do not receive the transfers they were expecting, intensify economic shortage, and thus, domestic violence too. The channel that appears to be explaining our results is a budget constraint alleviation mechanism, where the reduction in domestic violence can be explained by the receipt of the transfers. No evidence on changes in female empowerment, marital status, or labor participation of the beneficiary women appear as plausible alternative mechanisms. We discuss policy implications for the design of Conditional Cash Transfer programs.