CEP/STICERD Applications Seminars
Sexual Harassment in Public Spaces and Police Patrolling: Experimental Evidence from Urban India
Maria Micaela Sviatschi (Princeton University), joint with Sofia Amaral Girija Borker, Nathan Fiala, Anjani Kumar, Nishith Prakash
Monday 15 May 2023 12:00 - 13:30
Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.
Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.
Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.
About this event
We implement a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the impact of the world?s largest street patrolling program targeting sexual harassment in public space on women?s victimization in Hyderabad, India. Using a novel high-frequency observation exercise to collect measures of sexual harassment at 350 hotspots, we show that visible police presence reduces severe forms of sexual harassment by 27 percent and thus, improves women?s mobility behaviour. In particular, we find that women are less likely to avoiding a particular street to prevent sexual harassment. To explain the null effects on mild forms of sexual harassment, we exploit heterogeneity in police officers? attitudes towards sexual harassment and design an artefactual field experiment to understand police behavior and biases. We find that, on average, police officers? tolerance and willingness to sanction are lower for mild forms of sexual harassment. In line with this result, we find a reduction in less severe cases of sexual harassment only when the assigned police officers have better norms surrounding sexual harassment cases. Overall, addressing sexual harassment in urban places through the lens of policing poses a significant challenge due to the nature of the crime and police officers? potential biases.