Year: 2011
Working paper number: 289
Author: Thaler, Kai
Unit: SSU

This paper examines the drivers of male perpetration of violence against adult family members and intimate partners in Cape Town, South Africa. Data on 1,369 young men from the Cape Area Panel Study are analyzed and significant causal pathways are examined for the full sample and for disaggregated samples of African and coloured respondents. Socioeconomic disadvantage plays a role in a culture of patriarchal violence, but its effects are largely mediated by behavioral factors such as routine alcohol consumption and having concurrent sexual partners, and norms of acceptance of violence against women. Different factors emerge as predictors of violence in the African and coloured samples. The findings of the quantitative analysis are illustrated with evidence from 45 qualitative interviews that address the role of violence in family and gender relations in Cape Town. Economic interventions are of uncertain efficacy give South Africa's difficulties since the end of apartheid in improving economic opportunities for the poor; thus interventions targeting norms and behavior hold the most promise for reducing family and intimate partner violence in the near term.

Publication file: WP289.pdf