Sharon Bernhardt (Ashoka University)
15 May 2023 @ 12:00 - 13:15
- Past event
Do Women Prefer In-Group Police Officers? Survey and Experimental Evidence from India
Abstract. Several nations have enacted gender reforms in policing, many of which are premised on the notion that women favour female officers, especially in the context of tackling violence against women (VAW). We investigate this topic in India. Evidence from the first nationally representative police survey (N~15,000) demonstrates high levels of bias against policewomen, including among women and VAW complainants. To estimate the causal effect of police gender on officer evaluations, we design an unusual video experiment with assistance from the news corporation New Delhi Television (N~1000). We find that policewomen are not generally preferred to policemen, and citizens have significantly unfavourable attitudes toward female officers when seen tackling VAW rather than non-VAW cases. Female respondents drive these negative ratings. We highlight certain context-specific explanations and note that the manner in which policewomen are typecast may undercut the positive implications associated with representation. Our study is an example of shared identity increasing mistrust, and it expands the discussion about citizens using ascriptive characteristics to make inferences about politicians to include front-line bureaucrats like police officers.