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The Effect of Cash, Vouchers and Food Transfers on Intimate Partner Violence: Evidence from a randomized experiment in Northern Ecuador

2013 — By Melissa Hidroboa, Amber Petermanb, Lori Heisec

Despite the pervasive and far reaching consequences of intimate partner violence (IPV), there is little conclusive evidence on policy instruments to reduce or prevent violence. Using a randomized experiment in Northern Ecuador, this study provides evidence on whether cash, vouchers and food transfers targeted to women in poor urban areas and intended to reduce poverty and food insecurity also affected IPV. Results indicate that overall transfers reduce controlling behaviors and multiple forms of IPV including moderate physical and any physical or sexual violence by 6-7 percentage points. Impacts do not vary by transfer modality, which combined with the overall negative impacts on IPV, suggests that violence is not being used to forcefully extract resources. Instead, initial conditions and power dynamics between partners is important in determining the magnitude and significance of reductions in IPV.