Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Saving Money on Your Own or in Solidarity: An Experiment on Women’s Empowerment and Intimate-Partner Violence in Colombia
Authors: Tankard, Margaret Elaine
Advisors: Paluck, Elizabeth Levy
Contributors: Psychology Department
Keywords: behavior change
financial inclusion
social norms
Subjects: Social psychology
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Theory suggests competing predictions about effects of financial independence on women’s experience of intimate-partner violence (IPV). Financial independence may give women greater bargaining power and the means to exit abusive relationships, but may incite backlash from a partner. A psychological prediction adds that when women view abuse as normative, they require a new reference group that sustains norms of female independence. An 18-month field experiment among 1800 women in Colombia tested (relative to a control condition) two versions of a financial intervention that granted women an incentivized individual savings account. In one version, the account was presented as a personal project (personal messaging condition); in the other version, the account was presented as a project many women are pursuing, thereby creating a new reference group of women who are pursuing financial independence (normative messaging condition). We did not find consistent effects of the personal versus normative messaging manipulation. The financial treatment (vs. control) led to greater self-reported formal financial engagement, as expected. We found some evidence that the financial treatment led to greater self-reported independent decision-making and lower self-reported depression, but these effects must be interpreted cautiously due to attrition and inconsistency across related outcome measures. However, the financial treatment had heterogeneous effects on several primary survey outcomes, depending on women's baseline self-reports of IPV. For women who began with no self-reported IPV, the financial treatment (vs. control) moved them in the direction of making more decisions jointly with their partner (instead of independently) and experiencing less IPV. For women who began with self-reported IPV, the financial treatment (vs. control) moved them in the direction of making more decisions independently (instead of jointly with their partner) and experiencing more IPV. Changes in perceptions of other women's support for following a partner's wishes, but not changes in personal attitudes or confidence, paralleled this interaction pattern. Despite much policy interest in financial interventions, and strong theoretical predictions about women’s financial empowerment and social norms as pathways to reducing IPV, we did not find strong results from a savings intervention and a normative messaging intervention. We discuss implications for research and practice.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Psychology

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Tankard_princeton_0181D_11750.pdf7.95 MBAdobe PDFView/Download

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.