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Access to toilets and violence against women

, Md Amzad Hossain, Sheetal Sekhri
Published in 10.1016/j.jeem.2022.102695
Volume: 114

This paper examines if in-home access to toilets reduces the risk of violent crimes against women. We use the roll out of the Swachh Bharat Mission, a flagship toilet construction program in India, to ascertain if assaults and rapes of women reduce when access to in-home toilets increases. We bolster our findings through an instrumental variable strategy using political alignment of locally elected representatives in close elections with the national government’s political party, post the launch of the program, as an instrument. We find that construction of toilets reduces sexual assaults on women, but do not discern consistent changes in rapes. Our findings for sexual assaults are robust to a variety of controls, specifications, and identification approaches. We address reporting changes as a plausible alternative explanation and present evidence to support the exclusion restriction in our IV strategy.

About the journal
JournalJournal of Environmental Economics and Management
Open AccessNo