Who's your neighbour? Social influences on domestic violence

Posted: 9 Sep 2020 Last revised: 14 Aug 2021

See all articles by Mehreen Mookerjee

Mehreen Mookerjee

Zayed University

Manini Ojha

Jindal School of Government and Public Policy, O. P. Jindal Global University

Sanket Roy

American University of Sharjah

Date Written: July 13, 2020

Abstract

This paper examines peer effects on physical domestic violence in a developing country. We estimate the causal impact of neighborhood physical domestic violence on the likelihood of being exposed to physical abuse within a household. We define a household’s peer group as all other households living in the same neighborhood. To address potential endogeneity issues in analyzing peer influences, we use an instrumental variables/fixed-effects approach that compares households in the same state but different neighborhoods and hence having a different set of peers. Using exogenous variation in neighboring women’s exposure to parental violence in her natal family as an instrument for average neighborhood domestic violence, we find that a 1 standard deviation increase in neighborhood domestic violence leads to a 0.2 standard deviation increase in the probability of domestic violence within a household. Our heterogeneity analysis highlights that these effects vary substantially across regions, religions, and levels of women empowerment. We establish that domestic violence is not just driven by intra-household factors but also observable changes at a societal level. This also lends support to policies like increasing neighborhood vigilance to reduce domestic abuse. Evidence of peer effects implies that any policy which impacts domestic violence directly will have spillover or social multiplier effects created by peers in the neighborhood. This suggests that prior analyses of policy interventions targeted at reducing domestic abuse, not having accounted for endogenous peer effects, have underestimated the total social impact of such programs leading to an imprecise evaluation of their feasibility.

Keywords: Neighborhood, domestic violence, peer effects, instrumental variable, Asia, India

JEL Classification: C26, J12, J16, O12

Suggested Citation

Mookerjee, Mehreen and Ojha, Manini and Roy, Sanket, Who's your neighbour? Social influences on domestic violence (July 13, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3666894

Mehreen Mookerjee (Contact Author)

Zayed University ( email )

P.O. Box 4783
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

Manini Ojha

Jindal School of Government and Public Policy, O. P. Jindal Global University ( email )

Jindal School of Government and Public Policy
O. P. Jindal Global University,Sonipat-Narela Road
SONIPAT, HARYANA 131001
India

HOME PAGE: http://www.maniniojha.com

Sanket Roy

American University of Sharjah ( email )

PO Box 26666
Sharjah
United Arab Emirates

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