Gender Issues

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 254–286 | Cite as

Financial Inclusion Through Public Works Program: Does Gender-Based Violence Make a Difference?

  • Saibal GhoshEmail author
  • Manuela K. Günther
Original Article


The study investigates the impact of gender-related violence on financial inclusion. Exploiting the staggered rollout of a major public works program across Indian districts, we find evidence that households in states with gender-related violence are less likely to own a bank account, notwithstanding the fact that districts in these states were early implementers of the public works program. These findings are however, different after the government launched a massive program to promote universal financial inclusion. To be more specific, we find evidence of an increase in account ownership consistent during this period by over 100 percentage points, although the use of bank account by working women declines significantly. These findings of increased access are consistent with the bargaining theory, which suggests by gaining greater resources, women also gain more power. However, low use of accounts highlights the theory of male backlash as a response to undermined economic role at home. Overall, these results suggest that any attempt at ensuring universal financial inclusion needs to adequately take on board the aspect of gender-related violence, which can be the outcome of not only economic, but also social and cultural factors.


Financial inclusion Violence Bargaining Male backlash India 

JEL Classification

D 12 J 12 J 16 



We would like to profusely thank, without implicating, two anonymous referees for the incisive comments on an earlier draft, which greatly improved the exposition and analysis. Thanks are also due to Alexander Moler for the data support and certain clarifications on the variables. Any remaining errors are the authors’ own responsibility.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Advanced Financial Research and Learning, SBS MargFortIndia
  2. 2.Overseas Development InstituteLondonUK

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