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Working Papers

Work in progress

1. Who is asking and how? The effects of enumerator gender and survey method on measuring social norms and beliefs (Job Market Paper)

Researchers and policy-makers frequently use measures of individuals' beliefs about social norms, and mismeasurement of sensitive norms threaten research efforts. Given limited causal evidence on effective ways of capturing sensitive gender norms, we test whether survey methods that may increase respondent privacy affect the reporting of social norms (such as women’s perceived independence, empowerment, and safety) in the northern Amhara region of Ethiopia. We explore the effect of conducting in-person interviews by comparing responses between women who were asked the survey on the phone and women who were asked the survey in-person. Additionally, we also randomize the gender of the interviewer to measure if women respond differently to male and female enumerators. Results show that the reporting of sensitive topics such as physical safety, emotional well-being, and freedom of movement is not significantly different for respondents interviewed via mobile phone and respondents interviewed in person. We find some evidence that respondents answer differently to female enumerators, conditional on using a phone survey. These effects are similar across women of all empowerment levels and are not affected by the length of the interview. Our results provide evidence in favor of utilizing cost-reducing technologies for surveying sensitive topics. 

1. Consequences of Female Employment on Violence Against Women- Evidence from Colombia and India

Thirty-five percent of women worldwide experience either physical and/or sexual domestic violence in their lifetime (WHO). Though the social and economic costs of domestic violence are well studied, the literature on determinants of domestic violence is limited. One factor explored by previous research is women's employment outside of the home. There are two main challenges while studying the effects of female employment on domestic violence. First, a women's decision to take part in the labor force can be jointly determined by factors that affect her exposure to domestic violence. I overcome this challenge by creating a proxy for female employment that is exogenous to factors that also cause domestic violence. The proxy for female employment is estimated as a Bartik-type demand shifter by interacting nationwide employment shocks weighted by the share of the local labor force that is both female and works in that industry. The second challenge is that most data on domestic violence comes from self-reported surveys, which are problematic because women might systematically misreport experiences of domestic violence because of various reasons such as social norms, stigma, and fear of personal safety. To address this issue of misreporting (or systematic measurement error), I use administrative data on hospitalization records due to domestic violence. Results from 377 municipalities in Colombia indicate that a one percent increase in female employment in the manufacturing sector is associated with a 1.7 percent decline in women's experiences of domestic violence in Colombia. These effects are strongest for municipalities that have higher rates of female employment. In India, I find the opposite effect using data from 600 districts. A one percent increase in female employment is associated with a 0.3 percent increase in reported crime against women.

2. Role of Empowerment in Mediating the Relationship between Female Employment and Intimate Partner Violence

Women’s participation in the labor force outside of the house has been proven to be beneficial for women’s empowerment (Anderson & Eswaran, 2009; Jensen, 2012). The effects of FLFP on domestic violence (DV) are mixed, and studies have found that these effects vary based on a woman’s initial bargaining power (Heath, 2014). Understanding this relationship between FLFP and IPV is important in order to minimize any unintended consequences and the associated socio-economic costs while making policy decisions about women’s labor participation. In this paper, we introduce a new stylized approach for studying the effect of FLFP on IPV that explicitly incorporates empowerment’s mediating effect on the relationship between FLFP and IPV. We use a causal mediation approach to model the effects of FLFP on IPV as mediated by WE. We find supporting evidence for previous studies in that FLFP is positively associated with IPV, but increases at a decreasing rate. Our results show, using mediation model estimates, that rising FLFP leads to a decrease in IPV at a lower level of employment. IPV starts decreasing at 60% employment level using the mediation estimates whereas it reduces at 70% employment with estimates from the benchmark model.

3. Transport Corridors and Socio-economic Gender-gaps: Evidence from India (with Samyam Shrestha, Isis Gaddis, and Amna Javed)

4. Looking for boy-girl discrimination in American Time-Use data (with Jeffrey Dorfman)

We apply time-use data for parents in the United States to test for gender-bias discrimination in parental time allocation. Testing at the activity level (work, leisure, childcare, etc.), we find only a few examples of discrimination in parental time investment and, further, we find that they offset so that, in the aggregate, we find no statistically significant discrimination in the time parents spend doing activities with their children present.

5. Access to Factory Jobs and Women’s Economic Empowerment (with Amna Javed and Isis Gaddis)

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