The War in Your Head: On the Long-term Origins of Domestic Violence

Prof. Dr. Tilman Brück, International Security and Research Center & IGZ – Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops

We analyse the long-term, intrapersonal origins of domestic violence. Using unique primary survey data from Angola, we demonstrate that exposure to battle-related sexual violence against women significantly increases a former soldier’s propensity to commit domestic violence against his intimate partner more than a decade after the end of the war. To establish causality, we build on a natural experiment in exposure to wartime sexual violence by armed groups in the Angolan civil war. We find that soldiers exposed to battle-related sexual violence were conditioned into gender-based violent practices and that this exposure in turn increases post-war domestic violence against intimate partners. Our evidence suggests that this effect is psychological and persistent in nature, which challenges long-held views in economics of domestic violence as instrumental behavior or as a short-term function of intra-family power structure or prevailing cultural norms.

About the speaker

Professor Tilman Brück is the Founder and Director of ISDC - International Security and Research Center in Berlin and Team Leader of Development Economics at IGZ – Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops, Germany. He is also the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the „Households in Conflict Network” (HiCN). Professor Brück's research interests focus on the economics of household behaviour and well-being in conflict-affected and fragile economies, including the measurement of violence and conflict in household surveys and the impact evaluation of peace-building programs in conflict-affected areas and of humanitarian assistance. He was previously Director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and Professor of Development Economics at Humboldt-University of Berlin. He obtained his doctorate in economics from the University of Oxford.

Venue: Room 0.16-0.17

Date: 15 June 2017

Time: 12:00 - 13:00  CEST