The Road to Crime: Analyzing the Impact of Rural Road Connectivity on Crime in India



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In 2001, 28% of India's population lacked access to paved roads (World Bank, 2021). At the same time, the country has been ranked the most dangerous place for women, in terms of public safety (Thomson Reuters Foundation, June 25, 2018). To improve connectivity in India, the government of India launched a $40 billion rural road construction program named the PMGSY, with an aim to connect 115,000 Indian villages. I use administrative data from the Population Census, the PMGSY and official crime records to answer the research question: Does constructing rural roads impact crime in India, especially crime against women? Using a Difference-in-Differences identification strategy, I calculate the effect of PMGSY roads on crime in areas that were newly connected under the program. I observe no consistent relationship. I further implement a Multiple Linear Regression to include the effect of non-PMGSY roads on crime. I find that a shift in a district's connectivity from the 25th to the 75th percentile, is associated with an increase of 13.68% in crime rate.



Economics, Econometrics, Data Analysis, Difference-in-Differences