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The Power of Political Voice: Women's Political Representation and Crime in India

Listed author(s):
  • Lakshmi Iyer
  • Anandi Mani
  • Prachi Mishra
  • Petia Topalova

Using state-level variation in the timing of political reforms, we find that an increase in female representation in local government induces a large and significant rise in documented crimes against women in India. Our evidence suggests that this increase is good news, driven primarily by greater reporting rather than greater incidence of such crimes. In contrast, we find no increase in crimes against men or in gender-neutral crimes. We also examine the effectiveness of alternative forms of political representation. Large scale membership of women in local councils affects crime against them more than their presence in higher-level leadership positions. (JEL D72, J16, K42, O15, O17)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/app.4.4.165
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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/app/data/2011-0220_data.zip
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 165-193

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:4:y:2012:i:4:p:165-93
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.4.4.165
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-applied
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  1. Lori Beaman & Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo & Rohini Pande & Petia Topalova, 2009. "Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1497-1540.
  2. Morgan Kelly, 2000. "Inequality And Crime," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 530-539, November.
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  5. Soares, Rodrigo R., 2004. "Development, crime and punishment: accounting for the international differences in crime rates," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 155-184, February.
  6. Levitt, Steven D, 1997. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 270-290, June.
  7. Mirko Draca & Stephen Machin & Robert Witt, 2011. "Panic on the Streets of London: Police, Crime, and the July 2005 Terror Attacks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2157-2181, August.
  8. Timothy Besley & Rohini Pande & Vijayendra Rao, 2012. "Just Rewards? Local Politics and Public Resource Allocation in South India," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 26(2), pages 191-216.
  9. Edlund, Lena & Li, Hongbin & Yi, Junjian & Zhang, Junsen, 2007. "Sex Ratios and Crime: Evidence from China’s One-Child Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 3214, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Clots-Figueras, Irma, 2011. "Women in politics: Evidence from the Indian States," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 664-690, August.
  11. Eliana La Ferrara & Alberto Chong & Suzanne Duryea, 2012. "Soap Operas and Fertility: Evidence from Brazil," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 1-31, October.
  12. Aizer, Anna & Dal B, Pedro, 2009. "Love, hate and murder: Commitment devices in violent relationships," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 412-428, April.
  13. Anna Aizer, 2010. "The Gender Wage Gap and Domestic Violence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1847-1859, September.
  14. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: Divorce Laws and Family Distress," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 267-288.
  15. Francis Bloch & Vijayendra Rao, 2002. "Terror as a Bargaining Instrument: A Case Study of Dowry Violence in Rural India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1029-1043, September.
  16. Indira Rajaraman, 2012. "Public expenditure choices and gender quotas," Indian Growth and Development Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 5(2), pages 108-130, September.
  17. Kislaya Prasad, 2012. "Economic Liberalization and Violent Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(4), pages 925-948.
  18. Demombynes, Gabriel & Ozler, Berk, 2005. "Crime and local inequality in South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 265-292, April.
  19. Fafchamps, Marcel & Minten, Bart, 2006. "Crime, Transitory Poverty, and Isolation: Evidence from Madagascar," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(3), pages 579-603, April.
  20. Banerjee, Abhijit & Somanathan, Rohini, 2007. "The political economy of public goods: Some evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 287-314, March.
  21. Iyengar, Radha, 2009. "Does the certainty of arrest reduce domestic violence? Evidence from mandatory and recommended arrest laws," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 85-98, February.
  22. Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo, 2004. "Women as Policy Makers: Evidence from a Randomized Policy Experiment in India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1409-1443, 09.
  23. Rafael Di Tella & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2004. "Do Police Reduce Crime? Estimates Using the Allocation of Police Forces After a Terrorist Attack," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 115-133, March.
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