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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

This event is both online and in person

SAL 1.04, 1st Floor Conference Room, Sir Arthur Lewis Building, LSE, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PH

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.

Participants are expected to adhere to the CEP Events Code of Conduct.


This event will take place in SAL 1.04, 1st Floor Conference Room, Sir Arthur Lewis Building, LSE, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PH.

The building is labelled SAL on the LSE campus map. You can also find us on Google Maps. For further information, go to contact us.

This series is part of the CEP's Labour Markets programme.