This paper examines the impact of perceived risk of street harassment on women’s human capital attainment. I assemble a unique dataset that combines information on 4,000 students at the University of Delhi from a survey that I designed and conducted, a mapping of the potential travel routes to all colleges in the students’ choice set using an algorithm I developed in Google Maps, and crowd-sourced mobile application safety data. Using a random utility framework, I estimate that women are willing to choose a college in the bottom half of the quality distribution over a college in the top quintile for a route that is perceived to be one standard deviation (SD) safer. Alternatively, women are willing to spend an additional INR 18,800 (USD 290) per year, relative to men, for a route that is one SD safer – an amount equal to double the average annual college tuition. These findings have implications for other economic decisions made by women. For example, it could help explain the puzzle of low female labor force participation in India.
That is the excellent job market paper by Girija Borker at Brown University, this is one of the most novel and important works I have seen this job market season.