A large fraction of domestically abused women report that their partners interfere with their participation in education and employment. As of yet, mainstream economics has not dealt in any systematic way with this phenomenon and its implications for welfare policy. This paper puts forward a theoretical framework that rationalizes why men may use violence instrumentally to prevent their partners from entering employment or from increasing hours of work. The model predicts a non-monotonic relationship between the gender wage gap and domestic violence. We explore the implication of this result in the context of various welfare policies. There are unlikely to be any magic bullets or one-size-fit-all solutions when it comes to reducing the incidence of domestic violence. Instead, specific measures and incentives may have to be targeted at different types of households.
instrumental partner-violence non-cooperative family decision-making welfare policy