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Karmini SHARMA - University of Warwick

Karmini Sharma (University of Warwick, Stanford King Center on Global Development) will present "Tackling Sexual Harassment : Experimental evidence from India".

Abstract :
Sexual harassment imposes substantial economic costs on the victims, yet there is limited evidence on how to effectively deter it. I present experimental evidence on the effects of a sexual harassment awareness training for college students in New Delhi, using a randomized controlled trial. I find that sexual harassment awareness training for men reduces sexual harassment reported by women in their peer groups by 0.06 standard deviations. However, the training also reduces inter-personal relationships between men and women. I find that this is driven by women’s choices, using a
lab-in-the-field experiment in which women prefer to cooperate with women rather than men on an experimental task. Using a theoretical framework of signalling, I show that this is consistent with some men undertaking ``good’’ behaviours even though they would prefer to harass women, to avoid disapproval from their peers. Empirically, I find that there is an increase in men’s perception of peer disapproval against sexual harassment and no change in their intrinsic attitudes towards it, consistent with the theoretical predictions. I cannot reject a null effect on sexual harassment and opposite sex relationships of a similar intervention that was delivered exclusively to women in a separate college. Thus, this paper shows that it is possible to engage men for women’s empowerment.