Working Paper Series, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management 222
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) has been consistently linked to poor health and adverse social outcomes. Though there is substantial empirical evidence on the determinants of IPV, little attention has been given to the potential impact of income inequality on domestic violence, especially in the developing world. This study aims to investigate the relationship between the IPV and contextual income inequality in India, a country with high prevalence of IPV and substantial income inequality. We use data on a nationally representative sample of 69,704 women from the third National Family Health Survey for India, conducted in 2005-06. Standard logistic regression and a Tobit model are used to examine the effect of income inequality, measured by the Gini-index, on different forms of IPV: physical, and sexual. In addition to income inequality, the multivariate analyses also control for other IPV determinants that are widely used in the literature. Results show a robust statistically significant positive association between income inequality and IPV in India. A one unit increase in the Gini-index increases the odds of sexual violence by 6.2% and less severe form of violence by 2.1%. Results of the Tobit model show that the intensity of violence against women increases by 0.0317 when the Gini-index increases by one unit. As for the other covariates, we find education level, husband's employment status, living in rural areas, being from non-scheduled caste, and the economic status of household to be protective factors from IPV. We also find the type of religion and caste/tribe to influence the likelihood of experiencing IPV. Policies that reduce income inequality would help in reducing the level of IPV against women.