Democracy in India [with Pradeep Chhibber and Irfan Nooruddin; forthcoming with Cambridge University Press]

A survey of empirical social science literature on India that covers topics from party politics, federalism, the bureaucracy, to public goods provision.


Gender, Law Enforcement, and Access to Justice: Evidence from All-Women Police Stations in India [Job Market Paper]

Can gender-based "enclaves" facilitate women's access to justice? I examine all-female police stations in India, and test whether group-specific institutions assist gender violence victims and female bureaucrats in law enforcement. I create an unprecedented dataset based on millions of police-reports from 2015, and leverage the manner in which all-women police stations were opened in an Indian state to estimate their causal effect with a quasi-experimental design. I find that the creation of enclaves in law enforcement does not increase reported crime. In fact, the intervention lowers the case load at standard stations by justifying the deflection of gendered crimes, reduces responsibilities for policewomen, and increases travel cost for victims seeking redress. The institutions formalize the "counseling" of victims by encouraging reconciliation with abusers at the expense of case registration. A large-scale survey reveals a negative association between proximity to such institutions and perceptions of policewomen. Broadly, I argue that 'representation as separation' may fail to generate positive outcomes.

Does Female Bureaucrats Contribute to Institutional Legitimacy? Experimental Evidence from India [with Sharon Barnhardt]

Several nations are installing gender quotas in bureaucracies with the intuition that because women are rated more favorably than men, their presence will contribute to institutional legitimacy. We theorize that the roles women perform within a bureaucracy is likely to have a moderating effect. We test this in the context of the Indian police using a large-scale survey (N 15,000) and with a novel video-based experiment – one of the few experiments on police legitimacy outside the United States. Consistent with our theory, we show that the way in which policewomen are perceived is dependent on the roles they are seen to perform. Counter-intuitively, policewomen are seen as more legitimate when tackling non-gendered cases compared to gendered crimes such as dowry harassment – especially by other women. The findings have implications for scholarship on gender and the conditions under which representation can improve trust in public officials.

Why do Women Face Occupational Segregation in Bureaucracies? Evidence from Policing in India [Under Review]

Do women face occupational segregation in bureaucracies like the police, and if so why? If female officers are constrained from carrying out specific jobs within law enforcement, they may be less able to assist other women in distress. Using a novel dataset of micro-level crime information, I show that women officers are not only assigned particular tasks, but specific cases (e.g. non-heinous gendered crimes). By classifying laws in India’s penal code, I show that female officers are slotted into tackling specific cases as a result of the bureaucracy's belief in their ability to perform "emotional labor”. I further illustrate that because women are placed in such roles they are impeded from performing front-line police work that may serve to elevate their influence within law enforcement as well as assist female victims of violent crime.

On-Going Projects

Do Cops Discriminate? An Experiment with Indian Police Officers (in collaboration with the Haryana Police)

Representation and Policing: A Text-as-Data Study of Crime in India

Does Ethnic Representation in Law Enforcement Affect Violence Against Vulnerable Groups? Evidence from Policing in India