Methods: A systematic search of 11 databases was conducted following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Inclusion criteria included: 1) published in English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French 2) empirical evaluations of quantitative outcomes; 3) targeted women; 4) implemented in Latin America; and 5) economic interventions. The Methodological Quality Rating Scale (Auslander et al, 2012) was adapted to assess study rigor, with possible total scale scores ranging from 0-11. Studies that scored at or above the mean were considered high rigor, and those scoring below the mean were low rigor. Intervention effectiveness was rated as strong, weak, or promising. Studies with strong effectiveness were those that reported a significant outcome with high rigor. Low-rigor studies with significant outcomes were considered promising. Studies were considered weak if they were low or high rigor and reported nonsignificant outcomes.
Results: Twelve studies met criteria for inclusion in the review. Economic intervention types included: cash-transfer programs (n=10) and financial interventions, such as micro-credit and banking (n=2). The most common outcomes measured included: IPV (n=7) and decision-making autonomy (e.g., reporting IPV to police, intrahousehold decision-making and autonomy) (n=4). There were substantial variations in how IPV was measured across studies (i.e., sexual, physical, emotional, economic, a combination, or not specified.). Total MQRS scores ranged from 5 to 10 (M=7.25, SD=2.09), and 7 of 12 studies (58%) scored above the mean. Methodological strengths of the studies were research design (over half were RCTs or quasi-experimental designs) and appropriate statistical analyses. Methodological weaknesses included lack of discussion of statistical power. Among economic interventions that assessed IPV, 4 of 7 studies (57%) provided strong evidence of effectiveness for decreasing IPV, while 2 provided promising evidence (29%), and 1 provided weak evidence (14%). Additionally, 3 of 4 studies (75%) provided strong evidence of effectiveness at increasing women’s decision-making autonomy, while 1 study provided weak evidence (25%).
Conclusion: Findings suggest that economic interventions, particularly cash transfer programs, are effective at decreasing IPV and increasing decision-making autonomy for women. Future research should include greater uniformity in how outcomes are measured to more precisely compare intervention effectiveness to prevent IPV across Latin American countries. Additionally, because there were few micro-finance and banking interventions, more research is needed to assess their effectiveness.