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Exploring Impacts of Community-Based Legal Aid on Intrahousehold Gender Relations in Tanzania


Community-based legal aid (CBLA) has been promoted as a promising intervention to reach rural marginalized populations who face barriers to accessing formal legal services and is increasingly implemented with the specific goal of protecting women's rights. This study evaluates the impact of a twelve-month CBLA program in northwestern Tanzania on intrahousehold gender relations using a clustered-randomized control trial across 139 villages. Among 1,219 women, the study finds those in treatment villages are more likely to refer others to paralegals for a variety of domestic issues; however, there are no measureable impacts on aggregate knowledge of marital law, intrahousehold decision making, or reported experience of twelve-month intimate partner violence. These overall results are robust to a number of other sensitivity analyses, including accounting for spillovers, attrition bounds, and modeling choices. While these results indicate limited potential for intrahousehold and gender-progressive change, program duration and intensity likely affected measurable positive impacts.


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Publication date: 2019

Author(s): Valerie Mueller, Amber Peterman, Lucy Billings, Ayala Wineman

Journal: Feminist Economics

Language: English

Peer reviewed: YES


Tanzania, united republic of