Domestic violence is the most prevalent form of gender-based violence that threatens the wellbeing and dignity of women. In this paper, we examine whether and how exposure to physical or sexual assault by male partners influences women's decision to initiate a new business when they have access to financing. We collected primary data from rural Bangladesh in collaboration with a microfinance institution that provided small collateral-free loans to a group of married women. We conducted a baseline survey before loan disbursement and then conducted a follow-up survey 12 to 15 months later to collect information on loan usage. We find that women who experienced physical or sexual violence by their husband before receiving a loan are less likely to initiate a new business with their loan than those who did not experience such violence. Exposure to domestic violence obstructs the initiation of new businesses through reduced entrepreneurial self-efficacy and increased fear of business failure. The adverse impact of domestic violence is more detrimental for women who recently experienced another potentially traumatic event—an environmental disaster—than for those without such an experience.
- Domestic violence
- Entrepreneurial self-efficacy
- Environmental disaster
- Fear of business failure
- women's entrepreneurship