Dominant development policy approaches recommend women’s employment on the grounds that it facilitates their empowerment, which in turn is believed to be instrumental in enhancing women’s well-being. However, empirical work on the relationship between women’s employment status and their well-being as measured by freedom from marital violence yields an ambiguous picture. Motivated by this ambiguity, this paper draws on testimonies of men and women and data gathered from rural Uttar Pradesh, to examine the effect of women’s employment and asset status as measured by their participation in paid work and their ownership of property, respectively, on spousal violence. Unlike the existing literature, we treat women’s work status and violence as simultaneously determined and find that women’s engagement in paid work and ownership of property, are associated with sharp reductions in marital violence.

Additional Metadata
Keywords India, domestic violence, employment status, property ownership
JEL Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure (jel J12), Economics of Minorities and Races; Non-labor Discrimination (jel J15), Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination (jel J16)
Publisher IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor - Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit
Persistent URL
Bedi, A.S, Chhachhi, A, & Bhattacharyya, M. (2009). Marital Violence and Women's Employment and Property Status: Evidence from North Indian Villages. ISS Staff Group 1: Economics of Sustainable Development. IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor - Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit. Retrieved from