Inter-Generational Benefits of Improving Access to Justice for Women: Evidence from Peru

Guadalupe E. Kavanaugh, Marra Micaela Sviatschi, Iva Trako
2017 Social Science Research Network  
Many developing countries have unequal access to justice, especially for women. What are the implications for gender-based violence, intra-household bargaining and investments in children? This paper provides quasi-experimental evidence on all-women's justice centers (WJCs) a community based approach aimed at reducing violence against women in Peru. WJCs are specialized institutions that mostly employ female officers and whose main purpose is to reduce gender-based violence by providing police
more » ... y providing police and legal services. We examine the gradual rollout of these centers and using complaint police data we find that as victims trust women officers more, they increase the reporting of gender-specific crimes by 40%. We also find evidence that this led to the deterrence of gender-based violence: using administrative non-reported data from health providers and district attorney offices, we find a 10% reduction in domestic violence, female deaths due to aggression, femicides and mental health problems with no effects for men and non-gender specific crimes. We argue that these results are driven by an increase in women representation in law and enforcement at the WJCs. Moreover, we find inter-generational effects: WJCs substantially increase human capital investments in children, increasing enrollment, attendance, test scores, while decreasing child labor. These results are consistent with a bargaining model in which the threat point is determined by women representation in law and enforcement. In sum, the evidence in this paper implies that providing access to justice for women is not only important for addressing gender-based violence, but also generates inter-generational benefits. JEL Classification: J12, J16, I25, K38 Keywords: gender-based violence, access to justice, children, household bargaining * We are very grateful for the abundance of support, guidance, and helpful comments from Karen Macours. We also gratefully acknowledge all the helpful comments and suggestions from
doi:10.2139/ssrn.3022670 fatcat:zm2k7po2sjgydgb7xs3nmtfkha