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

  • Lakshmi Iyer

    ()

    (Harvard Business School, Business, Government and the International Economy Unit)

  • Anandi Mani

    ()

    (University of Warwick)

  • Prachi Mishra

    ()

    (Research Department, IMF)

  • Petia Topalova

    ()

    (Research Department, IMF)

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 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.

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Paper provided by Harvard Business School in its series Harvard Business School Working Papers with number 11-092.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2011
Date of revision: Aug 2011
Handle: RePEc:hbs:wpaper:11-092
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  1. Robert Jensen & Emily Oster, 2009. "The Power of TV: Cable Television and Women's Status in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1057-1094, August.
  2. Demombynes, Gabriel & Ozler, Berk, 2005. "Crime and local inequality in South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 265-292, April.
  3. 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.
  4. Chong, Alberto & Duryea, Suzanne & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2008. "Soap Operas and Fertility: Evidence from Brazil," CEPR Discussion Papers 6785, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. 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.
  6. Anna Aizer, 2010. "The Gender Wage Gap and Domestic Violence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1847-59, September.
  7. Morgan Kelly, 2000. "Inequality And Crime," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 530-539, November.
  8. 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.
  9. Bloch, Francis & Rao, Vijayendra, 2000. "Terror as a bargaining instrument : a case study of dowry violence in rural India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2347, The World Bank.
  10. Irma Clots-Figueras, 2005. "Women in politics: evidence from the Indian states," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19294, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  11. Beaman, Lori & Chattopadhyay, Raghabendra & Duflo, Esther & Pande, Rohini & Topalova, Petia, 2008. "Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6922, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Abhijit Banerjee & Rohini Somanathan, 2004. "The political economy of public goods: Some evidence from India," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 04-17, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
  13. 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.
  14. Mirko Draca & Steve Machin & Robert Witt, 2008. "Panic on the streets of London: police, crime and the July 2005 terror attacks," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19632, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  15. 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.
  16. Timothy Besley & Rohini Pande & Vijayendra Rao, 2007. "Just rewards? Local politics and public resource allocation in South India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3763, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  17. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: Divorce Laws and Family Distress," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(1), pages 267-288, 02.
  18. Kislaya Prasad, 2012. "Economic Liberalization and Violent Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(4), pages 925 - 948.
  19. 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).
  20. Ebonya L. Washington, 2008. "Female Socialization: How Daughters Affect Their Legislator Fathers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 311-32, March.
  21. 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.
  22. 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 270-90, June.
  23. Indira Rajaraman & Manish Gupta, 2012. "Public expenditure choices and gender quotas," Indian Growth and Development Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 5(2), pages 108-130, December.
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