The European Journal of Development Research

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 779–808 | Cite as

Does Income Inequality Increase Violence Against Women? An Instrumental Variable Approach

  • Ahmed Shoukry RashadEmail author
  • Mesbah Fathy Sharaf
  • El Hussien Mansour
Original Article


Violence against women is a violation of basic human rights and a global health problem. Although the literature is rich in studies on the determinants of violence against women, little attention has been given to the potential impact of income inequality on violence against women. The present paper aims to investigate the impact of the state income inequality on violence against women in India, a country where violence against women one of the highest in the world. We use data on a nationally representative sample of 69,704 women from the third National Family Health Survey for India, conducted in 2005–2006. We argue that income inequality increases the risk of experiencing violence by eroding social capital in the living community. To estimate the causal impact of economic inequality on violence against women and avoid endogeneity, we rely on an instrumental variable approach. As the first step, we use simple standard regression models and find that state income inequality increases intimate partner violence as well as violence by anyone other than her partner. When tackling the endogeneity issue, our findings suggest that income inequality increases the risk of violence by anyone other than the partner, but it did not increase the risk of spousal violence. The study’s findings are robust to different regression techniques.


Income inequality Instrumental variable Violence against women India 


La violence à l’encontre des femmes représente une violence à l’encontre des droits humains et constitue un problème d’envergure mondiale. Bien que de nombreuses études aient analysé les déterminants de la violence à l’encontre des femmes, peu de travaux ont analysé la corrélation entre les impacts des inégalités sociales sur la situation des femmes. Le présent papier essaie d’étudier les impacts des inégalités des revenus sur la situation des femmes en Inde ou le taux de violences à l’encontre des femmes est un des plus élevé au monde. Dans cette étude nous exploitons une base de données nationale représentative avec un échantillon de 69,704 femmes, troisième enquête ‘National Family Health Survey for India’ de 2005–2006. Nous expliquons l’évolution des risques de violences par la variation du niveau du capital social. Et, afin d’estimer l’effet causalité entre inégalité économique et violences envers les femmes et mettre en évidence ainsi l’endogénèite nous adoptons une approche de variable instrumentale. La première étape consiste à modéliser un model avec une régression standard simple et à en déduire que les inégalités des revenus accroissent les violences des partenaires mais aussi des non partenaires. Pour résoudre les problèmes d’endogéniète nos résultats suggèrent que les inégalités des revenus accroissent les risques de violence par les non partenaires mais cela n’augmente pas le risque de violence du partenaire. Cette étude est robuste par rapport aux différentes techniques de régressions.



The authors would like to thank the two anonymous referees and the handling Editor of this journal for the invaluable comments that have substantially improved the manuscript. We would like to deeply thank Waleed Gharbi and Ichiro Kawachi for their invaluable suggestions and help.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interest.


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Copyright information

© European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ahmed Shoukry Rashad
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mesbah Fathy Sharaf
    • 2
    • 3
  • El Hussien Mansour
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Economic Studies and Policies Sector, Dubai Department of Economic DevelopmentGovernment of DubaiDubaiUnited Arab Emirates
  2. 2.Department of Economics, Faculty of ArtsUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.Department of Economics, Faculty of CommerceDamanhour UniversityDamanhourEgypt
  4. 4.The New School of Social ResearchNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.New York City College of Technology, City University of New York (CUNY), Office: N600BrooklynUSA

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