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Public Safety for Women: Is Regulation of Social Drinking Spaces Effective?

Saloni Khurana () and Kanika Mahajan ()
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Saloni Khurana: Indian Institute of Foreign Trade

No 11, Working Papers from Ashoka University, Department of Economics

Abstract: This paper examines the impact of reduced availability of hard liquor in bars on sexual crimes against women outside their homes. We construct a district level panel dataset on reported crimes and use an identification strategy that exploits a natural experiment that led to a complete crackdown on bars selling hard liquor in a state of India. Using a difference-in-difference strategy, we show that placing restrictions on alcohol sale through closure of on-premise drinking outlets that serve hard liquor reduces reported incidence of sexual assault and harassment against women by 25% but has no effect on reported rapes. We conduct placebo tests and show that the result is not driven by existing pre-trends. The result is also robust to an alternative estimation strategy using a synthetic control construction. These results have policy implications for regulating social drinking spaces due to their impact on women's public safety.

Keywords: alcohol regulation; hard liquor; bars; violence against women; sexual assaults (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 47 pages
Date: 2019-05
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