Nirvikar Jassal - Representation in Force: Gender, Violence, and Policing in India

Mon, Nov 9 2020, 11:30am - 12:30pm
nirvikal jassal

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 victims of gender-based violence and female officers in law enforcement. I create an original dataset based on Indian police reports and leverage the manner in which all-women police stations were opened in Haryana state to estimate their causal effect. The creation of enclaves in law enforcement does not increase registered crime. In fact, the intervention lowers the caseload 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 arrest of suspects, and survey evidence suggests that all-women stations might not be associated with positive perceptions of policewomen. Broadly, I argue that representation as separation may have unintended consequences.



I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University's King Center on Global Development. I received my PhD from the University of California—Berkeley in 2020. My work has appeared in the American Political Science Review and Asian Survey.

I specialize on policing and crime, with a regional focus on South Asia. My research utilizes quasi-experiments, experiments, machine learning and computational text analysis to understand violence against women (VAW), hate crime, perceptions of law enforcement, and police accountability. A major component of my research has been the collection of fine-grained data on the criminal justice system in India.

My work has been funded by a 2018-19 Minerva Peace & Security Fellowship from the US Institute of Peace, the Poverty Action Lab at MIT, the Center for Experimental Social Sciences at Oxford, the Berkeley Institute for International Studies, and the UC Berkeley Department of Economics.

Prior to my doctorate, I worked at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, and served as an aide in the office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

I hold a BA from Columbia (2010) and an MSc from Oxford (2012).