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EvidenceEvidence Syntheses
World Bank

A Mixed-method Review of Cash Transfers and Intimate Partner Violence in Low-and middle-income Countries

  • There is increasing evidence that cash transfer (CT) programs decrease intimate partner violence (IPV). However, little is known about how CTs achieve this impact.
  • This is a mixed-method review of studies in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Four- teen quantitative and eight qualitative studies met the inclusion criteria, of which eleven and five, respectively, demonstrated evidence that CTs decrease IPV.
  • There was little evidence of increases in IPV, with only two studies showing overall mixed or adverse impacts.
  • Drawing on these studies, as well as related bodies of evidence, the authors developed a programme theory proposing three pathways through which CTs could impact IPV:
    (a) economic security and emotional well-being,
    (b) intra-household conflict, and
    (c) women’s empowerment.
  • The economic security and well-being pathway hypothesises decreases in IPV, while the other two pathways have ambiguous effects depending on programme design features and behavioural responses to programme components.
  • Future studies should improve IPV measurement, empirical analysis of programme mechanisms, and fill regional gaps. Program framing and complementary activities, including those with the ability to shift intra-household power relations are likely to be important design features for understanding how to maximise and leverage the impact of CTs for reducing IPV, and mitigating potential adverse impacts.
Date published
  • 2018
  • Ana Maria Buller
  • Amber Peterman
  • Meghana Ranganathan
  • Alexandra Bleile
  • Melissa Hidrobo
  • Lori Heise
Published by UNICEF Innocenti
Key quote "If small design changes have the potential to decrease IPV, CT programmes have potential to realise significant gains across sectors at lower cost than violence-specific programming."