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The Causal Impact of Women's Age at Marriage on Domestic Violence in India
Published in
Volume: 3180601

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 show that the effect of women's marital age on physical violence arises primarily because older brides, as compared to younger brides, are more educated. 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 (especially those which would ensure that marriage delays are associated with women staying longer in school), to reduce the prevalence of domestic violence in developing countries.

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