Gender violence, enforcement, and human capital: Evidence from women's justice centers in Peru

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In many developing countries, access to justice remains unequal, especially for women. What are the implications of this inequality for gender-based violence and investments in children? This paper provides evidence from Peru's women's justice centers (WJCs), which are specialized institutions that provide police, medical and legal services to reduce gender-based violence. Examining the gradual rollout of WJCs across districts and villages, we find that the opening of a center reduces the incidence of gender-based violence, as measured by self-reported domestic violence, female deaths due to aggression, and hospitalizations due to mental health, by about 10%. This decrease in women's exposure to violence has intergenerational effects: WJCs substantially increase human capital investments in children, raising school attendance and test scores. The evidence suggests that these results are driven by an increase in enforcement against gender violence. After a WJC opens, there is an increase in the reporting and prosecutions for gender-specific crimes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103262
JournalJournal of Development Economics
StatePublished - May 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


  • Access to justice
  • Children's education
  • Gender-based violence


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