Intimate Partner Violence: The influence of job opportunities for men and women

Sonia R Bhalotra, Uma Kambhampati, Samantha Rawlings, Zahra Siddique

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
129 Downloads (Pure)


This study examines the association of unemployment variation with intimate partner violence using representative data from thirty one developing countries, through 2005 to 2016. It finds that a 1 percent increase in the male unemployment rate is associated with an increase in the incidence of physical violence against women by 0.50 percentage points, or 2.75 percent. This is consistent with financial and psychological stress generated by unemployment. Female unemployment rates have the opposite effect, a 1 percent decrease being associated with an increase in the probability of victimization of 0.52 percentage points, or 2.87 percent. That an improvement in women’s employment opportunities is associated with increased violence is consistent with male backlash. The study finds that this pattern of behaviours emerges entirely from countries in which women have more limited access to divorce than men.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberlhz030
Pages (from-to)461–479
Number of pages19
JournalThe World Bank Economic Review
Issue number2
Early online date7 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2019

Structured keywords

  • ECON Applied Economics
  • ECON CEPS Welfare


  • intimate partner violence
  • domestic violence
  • abuse
  • recession
  • married women's labour force participation
  • women's empowerment
  • male backlash


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