The Causal Impact of Women's Age at Marriage on Domestic Violence in India

75 Pages Posted: 29 May 2018 Last revised: 5 Aug 2020

See all articles by Gaurav Dhamija

Gaurav Dhamija

Shiv Nadar University

Punarjit Roychowdhury

University of Nottingham

Date Written: August 5, 2020


We examine the causal effect of women's age at marriage on prevalence of domestic violence using newly available household data from India. We employ an empirical strategy that utilizes variation in age at menarche to obtain exogenous variation in women's age at marriage. We find robust evidence that a one-year delay in women's marriage causes a significant decline in physical violence, although it has no impact on sexual or emotional violence. Further, we provide suggestive evidence that the effect of women's marital age on physical violence arises because older brides, as compared to younger brides, are more educated and are married to more educated men. Overall, our findings underscore the importance of better enforcement of existing social policies that seek to delay marriages of women, as well as formulation of newer interventions, to reduce the prevalence of domestic violence in developing countries.

Keywords: Age at Marriage, Domestic Violence, India, Instrumental Variables, Women

JEL Classification: J12, J16, O12, O15

Suggested Citation

Dhamija, Gaurav and Roychowdhury, Punarjit, The Causal Impact of Women's Age at Marriage on Domestic Violence in India (August 5, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Gaurav Dhamija

Shiv Nadar University ( email )

NH-91, Village- Chithera, Tehsil-Dadri,
Dist. Gautam Buddha Nagar, UP
Gautam Buddha Nagar, Uttar Pradesh

Punarjit Roychowdhury (Contact Author)

University of Nottingham ( email )

United Kingdom

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