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
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
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