[Ideas of India] Karmini Sharma on Sexual Harassment, Empathy Training and Gender Bias

Karmini Sharma on Sexual Harassment, Empathy Training and Gender Bias 18/11/21 by Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Web player: https://podcastaddict.com/episode/131455099

Episode: https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/ideasofindia/037-JM-KarminiSharma-podcast-v1.mp3?dest-id=2249435

This episode is the sixth in a miniseries of weekly short episodes featuring young scholars entering the academic job market who discuss their latest research. In this episode, Shruti talks with Karmini Sharma about her job market paper, “Tackling Sexual Harassment: Experimental Evidence from India.” They discuss how training about sexual harassment affects women’s preferences and men’s behavior, how long these effects are likely to persist, and the broader implications for the #MeToo movement in India. Sharma is a Ph.D. candidate in economics at the University of Warwick. Her research focuses on the intersection of economics of gender, development economics and experimental economics. She seeks to understand deterrence of sexual harassment, gender segregation and discrimination.

Follow Shruti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/srajagopalan

Follow Karmini on Twitter: https://twitter.com/karsha

For a full transcript of this conversation with helpful links, visit DiscourseMagazine.com.


  • I was pleasantly surprised to find that sensitivity training had an impact at all
  • But I was also a little perplexed to see the results about relationships outside the class, with the conversation talking about how the effect of the training was to make women in the class substitute away from men in the class to men outside the class.
  • I need to read the paper and see if this is addressed, but did the paper consider the change in relationships outside the class vs relationships within the class for the control group as well? Because what I see as the simplest mechanism for women having more relationships three months after a treatment is that it simply gave them three months more to be on Tinder and Bumble and find relationships that weren’t anchored to their own college.
  • Like, the model here is that if you are not in a relationship then in every time interval you have a probability r of getting in a relationship and if you are in a relationship you have a probability b of breaking up; and with every day of three months that pass, the cumulative b builds up. And r is much higher with Tinder than without.
  • But maybe b becomes higher once you’re sensitised to the fact that the guy you’re dating from your class is actually a creep.
  • Alternative mechanism: the guys who took the sensitivity training benefitted so much from it that they became non-creepy and much more attractive to women at large – and paired up with women outside their class. With all the boys in the class paired up with women outside the class, the women in the class also have to search for boys outside the class.
  • Shruti told me that it makes sense if I listen to the conversation – but it didn’t, so the paper goes into my Pocket I suppose.
  • * Read the paper. The table doesn’t give raw numbers, and I can’t understand control mean. Grumble.

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