Women’s Employment Status, Coercive Control, and Intimate Partner Violence in Mexico


Population Research Center, University of Texas, 1 University Station, G1800, Austin, TX 78712 (avilla@prc.utexas.edu).


Findings from previous studies examining the relation between women’s employment and the risk of intimate partner violence have been mixed. Some studies find greater violence toward women who are employed, whereas others find the opposite relation or no relation at all. I propose a new framework in which a woman’s employment status and her risk of violent victimization are both influenced by the level of control exercised by her partner. Controlling men will actively prevent women from working and are also more likely to physically harm their partners. Using a statistical model in which the effect of omitted characteristics on women’s employment and their risk of violence are allowed to be correlated reverses the estimated association between employment and violence. The final results show that employment reduces women’s risk of violence. Data for the study are drawn from a sample of over 30,000 Mexican women in intimate relationships. The findings have broad implications given the increase in female labor force participation in many parts of the world.