Internal Seminar: Elena Pisanelli

Title: "Empowering women in the household to prevent intimate partner violence: evidence from India"

  • Date: 22 November 2023 from 13:00 to 14:00

  • Event location: Seminar Room - Piazza Scaravilli, 2 + Microsoft Teams Meeting


This paper investigates the relationship between female bargaining power within the household and intimate partner violence (IPV) in India, focusing on the unique case study of Andhra Pradesh. Using a Regression Discontinuity Design (RDD) approach that leverages the geographical borders of British India, I find that living in villages that were part of British India, substantially reduces the incidence of IPV. To shed light on the underlying mechanisms behind this phenomenon, I explore the role of gender-equal cultural norms disseminated by Protestant missionaries, a significant presence in British India. Notably, these missionaries were predominantly single women, challenging traditional gender roles and norms prevalent in the region. I find that villages located in proximity to missionary stations where the presence of female missionaries was more pronounced experience an even more substantial decrease in IPV. My findings underscore the crucial role played by cultural norms and external influences in shaping household dynamics and reducing intimate partner violence, shedding light on the potential for interventions that empower women within households to address intimate partner violence in contemporary societies.