Natural disasters and violence against mothers in the Philippines. Can a conditional cash transfer program be protective?

A/Prof. Ben Edwards1
1Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

The Philippines has the 4th most number of natural disasters of all countries in the last twenty years (274 natural disasters, Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, 2016).  Violence against women often increases following natural disasters particularly given the financial strain that accompanies significant disasters.  The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (commonly referred to as the 4Ps) has been a key component of the Philippines’ government focus on addressing poverty of families with children and is the third largest conditional cash transfer program in the world, covering 4.4 million households or 21 percent of the population (Acosta & Velarde, 2015).

As one of the most natural disaster prone countries in the world, understanding if the 4Ps does promote resilience in the most vulnerable families in the face of a natural disaster is a critical question.   Using new data from a United Nations funded nationally representative longitudinal cohort study of children and their families, we test whether the 4Ps program mitigates against natural disasters in the Philippines.  We capitalize on geographical variation in the expansion of the 4Ps and the location of natural disasters, and sophisticated econometric techniques to provide causal estimates of the extent to which the 4Ps mitigates against the worst effects of natural disasters on the most vulnerable families with respect to mother’s reports of family violence.  We discuss the implications for Australia and New Zealand.


Associate Professor Ben Edwards is a Senior Fellow at the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods where he is focused on policy relevant research on child and youth development and advising and supporting longitudinal studies.  Internationally, he advised the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the measurement of non-cognitive skills in longitudinal studies.  Ben is Co-Editor of the Australian Journal of Social Issues.

He is an expert in longitudinal studies of child and youth development, linkage of administrative data to surveys and longitudinal studies of disadvantaged groups such as refugees.

Natural disasters and violence against mothers in the Philippines. Can a conditional cash transfer program be protective?


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