Love on the Rocks: Domestic Violence and Alcohol Abuse in Rural Mexico

Manuela Angelucci 1 , 1
  • 1 University of Arizona, angelucm@eller.arizona.edu

Abstract

I use experimental data for the evaluation of Oportunidades to study the determinants of domestic violence and alcohol abuse. The program, a combination of cash transfers to women and human capital investments, decreases husbands' alcohol abuse by 15% and changes their aggressive behavior depending on transfer size, husbands' education, and spousal age gap. While small transfers decrease violence by 37% for all households, large transfers increase the aggressive behavior of husbands with traditional views of gender roles, probably because their wife's entitlement to a large transfer threatens their identity. This evidence rejects standard unitary, collective, and bargaining models for this latter group of households. It also shows that, while targeting women as recipients of micro-credit or other welfare programs may have additional beneficial effects by reducing alcoholism and domestic violence in most households, the risk of violence may increase for some.

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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy (BEJEAP) is an international forum for scholarship that employs microeconomics to analyze issues in business, consumer behavior and public policy. Topics include the interaction of firms, the functioning of markets, the effects of domestic and international policy and the design of organizations and institutions.

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