All content on this blog is original work produced by Allison Primack. Do not republish or print without permission.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Shout Out in the New York Times!

I woke up to an email this morning from my undergrad thesis advisor that he published a project we worked on during undergrad about GPS technology, and it was featured in the New York Times today!

Here is the New York Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/02/technology/gps-and-human-error-can-lead-drivers-astray-digital-domain.html

And here is the full study: http://mobilelifecentre.org/upload/publication/219/original/GPS_paper_-_CHI_camera_ready.pdf

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Can a government-wide mentorship program really work?

I am happy to announce that I am OFFICIALLY PUBLISHED IN A JOURNAL! It was published in print on June 15, 2012 for the summer issue of "The Public Manager", but a link can also be found on GovLoop (not allowed to share anywhere else due to copyright).

The article is a five page report about the pilot of the mentors program I help run over at GovLoop. Check it out here!

http://www.govloop.com/profiles/blogs/can-a-government-wide-mentorship-program-really-work

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Economic Analysis - Gasoline Prices


As a part of my economics course this semester, we were asked to use the concepts we learned in class and apply them to a current policy issue. I chose to write about gasoline prices. Enjoy! 



Reducing U.S. Gasoline Consumption By Raising Taxes
Introduction
            Gas prices have returned to a hot topic in the news, as prices are expected to soar again over the summer to all time highs of $5 per gallon. These high prices have clearly upset Americans – however, despite these prices, high volumes of gasoline continue to be consumed throughout the United States. In other words, the American short run demand for gasoline is inelastic. Even though companies are not making that much more on gasoline due to higher acquisition costs, the lack of substitutes allows gasoline companies to maintain a transportation monopoly in many parts of the country.
            It is no secret that consuming the amount of gas that Americans do has a lot of negative consequences. Because there are countless political issues with drilling American oil in Alaska, California, or on ocean shelves in the gulf, most of the money being pumped into gasoline every year is escaping the American economy, and going into foreign markets. Additionally, the emissions created by gasoline have many negative impacts on health the environment.
            Because of this, lawmakers have been looking into ways to reduce reliance on gasoline in the United States, and have been grappling with the idea of increasing taxes on gasoline in order to achieve this goal. This policy is attractive because assuming that the demand for gasoline is more elastic in the long run, the tax will change consumption patterns while simultaneously collecting additional revenue. Historically, in the United States gasoline has only had excise taxes, whose purpose is to create revenue, not curb behavior.
Is this idea economically sound? Would raising taxes on gasoline be a good policy move for the United States, or is there an alternative that would be more successful? To speak to these issues, this paper will give a background on gasoline taxes in the United States, and discuss how raising these taxes will induce income and substitution effects. It will then outline the issues associated with raising these taxes, and give some alternative solutions to achieve the goal of curbing consumer demand of gasoline.  The paper will conclude by discussing the political feasibility of this proposal.
Background: Excise Taxes on Gasoline
            An excise tax, which is a tax on a specific good, was first applied to gasoline in the state of Oregon in 1919. Within the following ten years every state had adopted some form of a gasoline excise tax[1]. To this day, every state has a varying amount of excise tax on gasoline; this is the main reason why gas prices vary from state to state.
Even though it initially failed in Congress in 1914, a federal excise tax of one cent per gallon of gasoline was added amongst a wide range of other excise taxes as a part of the Revenue Act of 1932 to balance the federal budget[2]. The gasoline tax proved to be extremely lucrative, generating $125 million in the first year, which amounted to over 15% of the internal revenue collected in 1933. Originally, this tax was meant to be temporary, and was supposed to be removed as soon as highways and roads were built and/or maintained.
However, because of its success, it was not repealed, and is still in effect today as a part of the Highway Revenue Act of 1956, with the creation of the Highway Trust Fund. This changed the purpose of the tax from collecting revenue to become a type of user tax for the state highways and roads. Instead of the money simply going to the general treasury, the earnings from the gasoline excise tax went into a special account to be specifically used for roads. Starting in 1982, under the Surface Transportation Assistance Act, a small percentage of these funds were also allocated to mass transit purposes.
In the 1990s, the excise tax for gasoline continued to rise. The Omnibus Budget Revenue Reconciliation Act of 1990 changed the function of this tax again by allocating some of its funds away from the Highway Trust Fund to deficit reduction and the Leaky Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund. Over the decade the distribution of the tax between these different funds shifted several times.
Currently, the federal tax on gasoline is 18.4 cents per gallon, or 24.4 cents per gallon for diesel fuel. State taxes range from 4 to 32 cents per gallon, with some states having provisions to fluctuate their rates in response to any change in the federal rate. This would offset changes to the federal tax level for consumers, and keep the combined State-Federal tax nominally constant[3].
Recently, has been discussion about expanding the gasoline taxes to cover some of the negative externalities associated with high gasoline consumption. In his discussion paper, Ian W.H. Parry conducted a cost-benefit analysis, correcting some of these negative externalities through Pigouvian taxes on gasoline. The externalities he chose to include in his analysis were local pollution, global warming/CO2 pollution, oil dependence, congestion, and accidents[4]. He concluded that to cover all this and the current revenue needs, gasoline taxes should be at least $1.23 per gallon, which is almost seven times the amount of the current tax. Legislation has not been made in this direction yet because it lacks political support and would change the nature of the tax completely.
How Raising Taxes on Gasoline Causes Income and Substitution Effects
            Changing the price of a good incites two different types of changes to consumption – income effects, and substitution effects. As Browning and Zupan explain, these effects cannot be observed separately; rather, when consumers change their behavior, the combined effect of both factors can be observed[5].
            The income effect is the change in the consumer’s real purchasing power brought about by a change in the price of a good[6]. If gasoline prices were to go up, the consumer’s real purchasing power for all other goods decreases, thus shifting back their budget line in a parallel fashion. This price increase would decrease real income, which causes the consumer to fall to a lower consumer curve.

            The substitution effect is an incentive to increase consumption of a good whose price falls at the expense of other, now relatively more expensive goods[7]. As prices change around each other, the consumer will choose to consume different consumption bundles based on their preferences at a given price. When gas prices rise, it is expected that the consumer will substitute away from driving and consuming gasoline in favor of other less expensive ways to transport themselves, such as using a carpool, public transportation, obtaining a more fuel efficient car, etc.
It is easy to see how these effects go hand in hand. As expected, as prices rise there is a negative income effect and a negative substitution effect. In order to maintain gas consumption at the higher prices, consumers would have to change their consumption bundles and substitute other goods for gasoline, or find alternatives and spend less on gasoline. Because employers will not raise salaries just because gas prices go up, it can be assumed that consumers will generally have the same income, and thus it is guaranteed that their purchasing power will decrease.
Issues with Increasing Taxes
            If taxes on gasoline are raised, it is expected that the elasticity, or consumer responsiveness of the quantity of gasoline demanded to a change in price, will change. When considering this policy, it is important to take two different types of elasticity into consideration – short run, which looks at more immediate changes in consumption, and long run, which looks at changes over a longer period of time. Demand elasticities can either be positive or negative to indicate which direction the quantity changes in, but we are more concerned with the magnitude of the elasticity than the direction. For this reason, it is common to consider elasticity as an absolute value during analysis. If the elasticity of demand is zero, it is perfectly inelastic and quantity consumed is immune to price changes. The elasticity of demand is considered inelastic if its absolute value is between zero and one, and elastic is its absolute value is greater than one.
            Luckily, because of fluctuations in state taxes and in the pretax price of gasoline, we are able to predict elasticities on gasoline despite the fact that the federal tax has not changed in recent years. Currently, studies show that the elasticity of demand for gasoline is between -0.034 and -0.077 in the short run[8]. These results are highly inelastic. The long run elasticity is more difficult to calculate due to many outside factors over time (including recessions, embargoes, etc.), but studies estimate that it is also highly inelastic, at an approximate value of -0.31[9]. This makes sense because there are not many substitutions for gasoline in some areas, so consumers have no choice but to consume gasoline. Elasticity may be higher if alternative transportation options were more prevalent in the United States, but these are not necessarily a reality outside of metropolitan areas.
            From an economical perspective, the inelasticity of gasoline is fantastic news for the federal government because even if the price is raised due to taxes on a good with inelastic demand, people will continue to consume it. Based on the elasticities stated above, if gas prices were to rise 10% due to additional taxes, demand would only decrease by 0.55% on average in the short run, and by 3.1% in the long run. This means that a significant amount of tax revenue can be collected as a result.
On the other hand, from a social perspective the inelasticity of gasoline is not good. While increasing taxes on gasoline would be beneficial for previously stated reasons, it will also hurt the consumers by decreasing their purchasing power. Excise taxes are extremely regressive, and affect lower income families more than others. Policymakers need to take this into account while making their analysis. To address this, many have suggested that a “tax-plus-rebate” program should be used to help offset the income effect, where qualified consumers would get a tax rebate in the form of unrestricted cash transfers[10]. However, this is not ideal because there is no clear way to define who would be qualified for the rebate (i.e., based on location, income level, or both) and it would go against the goal of the policy by not promoting consumption reduction.
Alternative Solutions
            In order to achieve the goal of reducing gas consumption, the federal government has several other options to consider, other than increasing and expanding the current excise taxes:
Regulation
            Regulating gas prices, and/or consumption, is an alternative solution that has been relatively popular.  If the government chose to regulate prices, they would create a price ceiling, or maximum price that could not be surpassed by any firm, and the market would determine the quantity supplied. Because much of our gasoline is from the foreign market at prices we cannot control, this is a dangerous policy to put into effect. As seen in the Arab Oil Embargo in 1973, these prices could quadruple overnight, which would make the regulation worthless. If companies cannot make or sell their product at the set price, they will make less of it and shortages will be created. Studies in various industries have proven that the market and natural supply and demand works better than regulation, so this should be avoided if possible.
            Another form of regulation that has been discussed is limiting the amount of gas an individual can consume, a form of rationing. This would be similar to the “cap and trade” programs being created in response to greenhouse gas emissions, in that the government would create an aggregate amount to be consumed, and make available only enough permits to match this amount[11]. In this way they are specifying the quantity, and letting the market choose the prices. Those who need more gasoline could buy extra amounts from those who do not need nor want it. Again, this would be disadvantageous to many Americans who do not have transportation alternatives to substitute into, so it would be difficult to get Congress to pass such a bill. For citizens living in more rural areas of the country with less access to public transportation and other fuel alternatives, it is not reasonable to limit them to the same amount of fuel as Americans living in larger cities with many other options. Additionally there may be high transactions costs in running this type of program, making in not technically feasible. Despite these issues, historically cap and trade style programs have been more politically feasible than other regulations because they can specify limits with more ease and still allow flexibility in the market. On top of this they do not specifically tax people, which is good in our tax-adverse society.
Creating More Low-Cost Green Alternatives
            While some automobile companies have begun to create cars that are more fuel efficient, these options are not always economically available to all Americans. The Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), also known as “Cash for Clunkers” program tried to help offset this in the summer of 2009 by giving vouchers between $3500 and $4500 to Americans for new vehicles whose current mileage ratings were 18 mpg or less[12]. The hope was that this would help the environment and cut gasoline costs for Americans while stimulating the economy because new cars get better mileage and create lower emissions. When the program concluded in August 2009, a total of 690,114 “clunkers” were traded in, with $2.877 billion in vouchers distributed[13]. A study by the University of Michigan reported that this program improved the fuel economy in the United States by 0.6 mpg in July 2009 alone[14].  However, most economists agreed that this program spent billions of dollars to accelerate purchases of new cars only by a few months; studies show that as gas prices rise the sales of high-mpg vehicles rises without intervention[15]. A large amount of government money was spent on a program that made a limited impact, so CARS was not very effective.
            Other incentives can be created to promote green options. One program run by the U.S. Department of Energy is the alternative fuel tax program, which refunds consumers 50 cents per gallon for using gasoline alternatives, such as compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, P-Series fuel, liquid fuel derived from coal through the Fischer-Tropsch process, and compressed or liquefied gas derived from biomass[16]. If these programs were better known, consumers may be more likely to use these alternative resources and reduce gasoline consumption. The problem with alternative fuels is that they cost more to produce than you can sell them for. Crops need fertilizer and gas to harvest and transport. Electricity needs to be generated at a time when the grid is overwhelmed and the supply constrained. Electric cars have limited range and take a long time to charge. Hydrogen is very explosive and there are few stations to provide it. Natural gas is bulky and needs high-pressure tanks. Unfortunately gasoline is a perfect medium, as is diesel, and getting a new car with better mileage and lower emissions will be more cost effective than dealing with this green alternative.
More Emphasis on Public Transportation
            If policymakers truly wanted to reduce reliance on gasoline, it would be essential to provide more, and better alternative forms of transportation for consumers to substitute into. In Europe, for example, the short run elasticity of demand on gasoline is closer to the world demand of -0.40, which is significantly more elastic than the U.S. elasticity of demand[17]. Because public transportation is more commonly used, they are able to tax significantly more on gasoline – currently, taxes on gasoline in many European countries exceed $2 per gallon[18]. This tax provides much more revenue, and is widely accepted because public transportation is a solid substitute.
Because public transportation in the United States is not as widespread or developed to the same degree as Europe, and major cities and businesses are more geographically spread out, it is difficult to use that as a substitute for consumers if prices of gasoline were to go up. However, if excise taxes continue to help pay towards these transportation development projects, this could eventually be a possibility. This is probably the most politically feasible option, but it still has its issues.
Conclusion and Political Feasibility
There is no clear answer on what policy is best to reduce gasoline consumption in the United States. Most policymakers agree that gasoline taxes are low, not only in comparison to other countries internationally, but simply because they have not been adjusted in years. While it has remained constant in nominal value, it has decreased in real value because it has not even been adjusted for inflation. It is reasonable to expect this tax to rise in the coming years, if not only to adjust for inflation.
Raising taxes on gasoline is not impossible since the government has done this already with other excise items, such as cigarettes. Behavioral economic analyses and econometric studies produced consistent estimates, showing that the price elasticity of demand in cigarettes rose as price rose. Long run elasticities were between -0.27 and        -0.48, approximately double of the estimated short run elasticities[19]. This means that people were more likely to change their consumption habits over time; they bought tobacco from alternative sources, quit smoking, or reduced their consumption as prices went up. This was a market-based solution to the problem, and proved that the government is capable of gaining extra revenue while still causing behavioral changes.
There is skepticism of whether the same effect would happen with gasoline because at best it would take a 10% increase in gasoline prices in order to achieve a 1% decrease in gasoline consumption in the short run[20]. However, a study in 2011 tested correlation between gasoline taxes and tax-exclusive gasoline prices and several factors that effect consumption, and found that in four of their six specifications gasoline consumption is more negatively correlated with the tax rate than with the tax-exclusive price[21]. Their results suggested that higher taxes on gasoline might affect consumer demand more than previously estimated – elasticity of demand will be different based on the consumer’s perception of whether the change in gasoline price is permanent or not[22]. Because taxes seem more permanent, they predict that the elasticity of demand would actually be higher than predicted, and that a higher tax would change consumer demand.
As previously mentioned, because some of the excise taxes are being used on other transit projects, it is not far-fetched to use gasoline taxes to achieve other goals than as a user fee for highways and public roads; it’s just a matter of how much we are willing to charge. As discussed in Ian Parry’s article, we have to ask ourselves how serious we are about correcting these externalities created by gasoline and reducing consumption. Luckily, there are many feasible options for the United States to explore and use in combination with each other. For example, Richard Posner claims that a Pigouvian tax would still bring in revenue because complete substitution is rarely achieved. If policymakers wished to induce this type of tax instead of our current excise tax, the original purpose of the excise tax would not be completely lost.
The biggest roadblock to this regulation is the politics themselves. Because terms in Congress are so short it is better to pass legislation that would produce quick results; this would not be the case if taxes on gasoline were raised. As previously discussed the demand for gasoline is extremely inelastic in the short run so you will not see an immediate impact – you will only see minor results in the long run, which is most likely past the political life of the politicians currently in office. This issue is extremely politically sensitive, especially in a down economy. In a political climate where an annual budget cannot be passed as 85% of the GOP has pledged to never raise taxes, it is hard to expect Congress to agree to change and raise this tax. However, if this legislation were changed in a way that would protect the middle class and poor families from negative income effects, such as the aforementioned tax-plus-rebate program, there would be many positive effects in the United Stated economy and the goal of reducing gasoline consumption would be achieved.


References
American Petroleum Institute. “Motor Fuel Taxes: State Gasoline Tax Reports”. Last modified April 2012. http://www.api.org/Oil-and-Natural-Gas-Overview/Industry-Economics/Fuel-Taxes.aspx.

Browning, Edgar K. and Mark A
. Zupan.  Microeconomic Theory & Applications, 10th Edition. (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.), 2009.
Chaloupka, Frank J. “How Effective are Taxes in Reducing Tobacco Consumption?” August 1998. http://tigger.uic.edu/~fjc/Presentations/Papers/taxes_consump_
rev.pdf.
Department of Transportation. “Cash for Clunkers Wraps up with Nearly 700,000 car sales and increased fuel efficiency, U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood declares program ‘wildly successful’”. DOT Press Release, August 26, 2009. http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2009/dot13309.htm.
Executive Office of the President Council of Academic Advisors. “Economic Analysis of the Car Rebate System (Cash for Clunkers).” September 10, 2009. http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/CEA_Cash_for_Clunkers_Report_FINAL.pdf.
Francis, Brian. “IRS Report: Gasoline Excise Taxes, 1933-2000”.  Winter 2001.
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/00gastax.pdf.
Havranek, Tomas, Zuzana Irsova, and Karel Janda. “Demand for Gasoline Is More Price- Inelastic than Commonly Thought”. Working paper from September 2, 2011. http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/120416/2/CUDARE%201118%20Janda.pdf.
Hughes, Jonathon E., Christopher R. Knittel, and Daniel Sperling. “Evidence of a Shift in the Short-Run Price Elasticity of Gasoline Demand”. February 14, 2007. http://www.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/knittel/papers/gas_demand_083006.pdf.
Li, Shanjun, Joshua Linn, and Erich Muehlegger. “Gasoline Taxes and Consumer Behavior”. March 2011. http://economics.stanford.edu/files/muehlegger3_15.pdf.
Metcalf, Gilbert. “Market-based Policy Options to Control U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” JEP Spring 2009.
Parry, Ian W.H. “How Much Should Highway Fuels Be Taxed?” Resources for the Future Discussion Paper 09-52, December, 2009.
Pindyck, Robert and Daniel Rubinfeld. Microeconomics, 7th edition (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.), 2009.
Posner, Richard. “Should Gasoline Taxes Be Raised or Lowered? Posner’s Comment”. July 2008. http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/2008/07/should-gasoline-taxes-be-raised-or-lowered-posners-comment.html.
Sivak, Michael and Brandon Schoettle. “The Effect of the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ Program on the Overall Fuel Economy of Purchased New Vehicles.” September 2009. http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/64025/1/102323.pdf.
Small, Kenneth A. and Kurt Van Dender. “Fuel Efficiency and Motor Vehicle Travel: The Declining Rebound Effect”. Working Draft, June 3, 2005. http://www.economics
.uci.edu/files/economics/docs/workingpapers/2005-06/Small-03.pdf.
U.S. Department of Energy. “Alternative Fuel Excise Credit”. June 2011. http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/laws/law/US/319.
Zingales, Luigi. “It’s Not About Revenue”. The Economist, June 2010. http://www.economist.com/economics/by-invitation/guest-contributions/
its_not_about_revenues


[1] Brian Francis. “IRS Report: Gasoline Excise Taxes, 1933-2000” (2001) http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/00gastax.pdf.
[2] Francis. “IRS Report: Gasoline Excise Taxes, 1933-2000”
[3] Francis. “IRS Report: Gasoline Excise Taxes, 1933-2000”
[4] Ian W.H. Parry. “How Much Should Highway Fuels Be Taxed?” Resources for the Future Discussion Paper 09-52, (2009).
[5] Edgar K. Browning and Mark A. Zupan, Microeconomic Theory & Applications, 10th Edition (Hoboken: John Wiley&Sons 2009) 90
[6] Browning and Zupan, Microeconomic Theory & Applications, 10th Edition, 91.
[7] Browning and Zupan, Microeconomic Theory & Applications, 10th Edition, 91.
[8] Jonathon E. Hughes, Christopher R. Knittel, and Daniel Sperling. “Evidence of a Shift in the Short-Run Price Elasticity of Gasoline Demand”. February 14, 2007. http://www.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/knittel/papers/gas_demand_083006.pdf.
[9] Tomas Havranek, Zuzana Irsova, and Karel Janda. “Demand for Gasoline Is More Price- Inelastic than Commonly Thought”. Working paper from September 2, 2011. http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/120416/2/CUDARE%201118%20Janda.pdf.
[10] Browning and Zupan, Microeconomic Theory & Applications, 10th Edition, 93.
[11] Gilbert Metcalf, “Market-based Policy Options to Control U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” JEP Spring 2009.
[12] Executive Office of the President Council of Academic Advisors. “Economic Analysis of the Car Rebate System (Cash for Clunkers).” September 10, 2009. http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/CEA_Cash_for_Clunkers_Report_FINAL.pdf.
[13] “Cash for Clunkers Wraps up with Nearly 700,000 car sales and increased fuel efficiency, U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood declares program ‘wildly successful’”. DOT Press Release, August 26, 2009. http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2009/dot13309.htm.
[14] Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle. “The Effect of the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ Program on the Overall Fuel Economy of Purchased New Vehicles.” September 2009. http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/64025/1/102323.pdf.
[15] Shanjun Li, Joshua Linn, and Erich Muehlegger. “Gasoline Taxes and Consumer Behavior”. March 2011. http://economics.stanford.edu/files/muehlegger3_15.pdf.
[16] U.S. Department of Energy. “Alternative Fuel Excise Credit”. June 2011. http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/laws/law/US/319.
[17] Robert Pindyck and Daniel Rubinfeld. Microeconomics, 7th edition (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.), 2009, 56.
[18] Parry. “How Much Should Highway Fuels Be Taxed?”, 9.
[19] Frank J. Chaloupka. “How Effective are Taxes in Reducing Tobacco Consumption?” August 1998. http://tigger.uic.edu/~fjc/Presentations/Papers/taxes_consump_rev.pdf.
[20] Kenneth A. Small and Kurt Van Dender. “Fuel Efficiency and Motor Vehicle Travel: The Declining Rebound Effect”. Working Draft, June 3, 2005. http://www.economics.uci.edu/files/economics/docs/workingpapers/2005-06/Small-03.pdf.
[21] Li, Linn, and Muehlegger. “Gasoline Taxes and Consumer Behavior”.
[22] Li, Linn, and Muehlegger. “Gasoline Taxes and Consumer Behavior”.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Program Evaluation - Final Project


For my program evaluation course's final, we were asked to respond to a RFP for an actual impact evaluation. It was a partner paper, but here was the section that I completed.




UN WOMEN: UNITED NATIONS ENTITY FOR GENDER EQUALITY AND THE EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN
MAY 2012

Impact Evaluation Proposal of the
Safe Cities Free of Violence Against Women and Girls Project in New Delhi, India



I. Executive Summary

Purpose: The Safe Cities Free of Violence Against Women and Girls Project in New Delhi, India aims to be the first proven model on how to prevent and reduce sexual harassment and violence against women and girls in public spaces for eventual adaptation by local authorities and other decision-makers worldwide, in partnership with grassroots women’s organizations and community groups. This program is targeting slum areas and impoverished neighborhoods in five different cities worldwide: Cairo (Egypt), Kigali (Rwanda), Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea), Quito (Ecuador), and the focus of this impact evaluation, New Delhi (India). Ideally, these efforts will empower women and their communities to end this gender-based violence. The purpose of this document is to lay out a strategic framework that assesses the impact of this program in New Delhi.

Scope and Methods: A variety of methods will be used to evaluate the impact of this program. We propose a quasi-experimental evaluation in conjunction with a comprehensive pre- and post-intervention evaluation. Quantitative data will include existing and relevant government statistics and surveys, as used in the baseline study already published. Qualitative data will include open ended questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, and video footage of public spaces. Data was collected from the nine geographical districts of Delhi: Central, East, New, North, North-East, North-West, South, South-West, and West. Within these districts, two to three survey sites were selected which included markets, train stations, bus terminals, parks, and school campuses.

Recommendations: To ensure the success of this evaluation, we recommend encouraging feedback from key-stakeholders and policy makers regarding this evaluation and progress of the program thus far, review other Safe Cities programs and evaluations to consider implementing their best practices, and increase outreach to religious leaders and men’s organizations for their participation and support.
II. Introduction
This is a proposal to create and carry out an impact evaluation for the Safe Cities Free of Violence Against Women and Girls program in New Delhi, India. Using the model outlined in this report, Lauren Deutsch and Allison Primack from The George Washington University in Washington, DC, will carry out an evaluation to determine the extent to which this program has reduced gender-based violence, increased mobility of women and girls in public spaces, and increased awareness about the enjoyment of women and girl’s rights to access and use public spaces.

III. Background
In a June 2011 survey, Thomson Reuters ranked India the fourth most dangerous place for women in the world based on high rates of female infanticide, foeticide and sex trafficking[1]. While India has made impressive strides to protect their female citizens, violence against women remains prevalent in New Delhi.  In order to determine an appropriate methodology for this study, it is crucial that scoping studies are conducted to gain a deeper understanding of the nature of sexual violence and harassment in New Delhi. Special care has been taken to ensure that these activities are gender, age, and culturally appropriate.

Description of the Program
Safe Cities Free of Violence Against Women and Girls program aims to be the first proven model on how to prevent and reduce sexual harassment (also referred to as “eve-teasing”) and violence against women and girls in public spaces by partnering with local authorities, global decision-makers, and grassroots women’s organizations and community groups. This model can be scaled up in many contexts—furthering women’s empowerment equality, while enhancing the quality of urban life for all.

Key Strategies and Components
The Safe Cities for Women and Girls key strategies and components are outlined by the programs description, as follows:                       
       furthering enhanced laws, policies and protocols to address these forms of violence explicitly, end impunity for abusers, and strengthen governmental accountability;
       carrying out surveys and data collection, to capture the magnitude and nature of sexual harassment and violence in public spaces, gage the attitudes of men, women and young people; as well as to inform public policies and assess progress;
       undertaking “safety audits”, considered a best practice internationally, which involve women and other community members in identifying unsafe areas and needed interventions, mapping “hotspots” of risks of assault and harassment, and formulating solutions in dialogue and partnership with local authorities;
       improving municipal planning in various sectors, including urban design through the introduction of practical safety measures by local authorities, in collaboration with women and their communities — such as changes in street lighting, signage, location of bus stops, and access to emergency hotlines in bus and train stations;
       advancing prevention efforts, including through mass media campaigns and community mobilization on `zero tolerance’ for sexual harassment and lewd behavior towards women — with a special focus on engaging young people and men of all ages;
       training and improving the capacities of local authorities and other key actors to respond to violence against women and girls in public spaces, including the police, judges, social services and the media;
       applying gender-responsive budgeting, a methodology utilized to analyze resource flows and their responsiveness to women’s needs and rights, in order to identify the level of existing allocations to address violence against women issues, inform budgetary appropriations, and track relevant public sector investments;
       crafting and pursuing a first-of-a-kind rigorous impact evaluation, in order to demonstrate the model’s value and relevance for policy-makers and others in cities and countries around the world working towards making cities safer for women and girls.

This list will be used later in the Theory of Change logic model as the activities used to create the outputs and outcomes. The strategy set forth in this report will fulfill the last component on the list — a rigorous impact evaluation.

Relevant Past Research and Evaluation Findings
In order to effectively determine an impact evaluation design for the Safe Cities Program in New Delhi, it is useful to look to the baseline data - a joint-action research survey initiative carried out by the Indian Department of Women and Child Development, Government of New Delhi, JAGORI (which means “awaken women!” in Hindi), the UNIFEM (now UN Women) South Asia Regional Office, and UN Habitat. The survey was conducted using a sample of 5,010 women and men in 23 areas and 50 interview sites between January and March 2010. Data was also collected from “common witnesses,” people who live close to large public spaces that frequently observe sexual harassment crimes.
The study found that a high percentage of the respondents believe that sexual harassment in public places is the single most important factor that renders New Delhi an unsafe city. 85.4% women, 87% men, and 93% common witnesses responded that these problems are “rampant” in New Delhi. Verbal harassment is the most common form, followed by visual harassment and stalking. This harassment is most commonly experienced in market places, metro stations, areas around schools and colleges, and industrial areas.

Many factors lead to women feeling unsafe in public spaces. These include lack of gender-friendly functional infrastructure such as public transportation systems, public use of drugs and alcohol, lack of clean and safe public restrooms, and lack of effective and visible police presence. If they were ever subject to sexual harassment, 58% of women stated that they would not even consider going to the police, and only 0.8% of the women surveyed have ever reported incidents. Police are avoided because it is perceived that they will not do anything to solve the problem, they will trivialize the incident, or shift blame to the victim. Additionally, over half of respondents reported that if they saw an incident occurring that they would not get involved or contact the authorities to help.

Relevant Literature on the Program
                Past research: http://jagori.org/wp-content/uploads/2006/01/Strategic_Framework.pdf
                Baseline Data http://jagori.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Baseline-Survey_
                UN Women Information http://www.unwomensouthasia.org/un-women-in-south-asia-

IV. Evaluation Questions
This impact evaluation establishes three goals to determine the extent to which the program has:
1.     Reduced gender-based violence;
2.     Increased mobility of women and girls in public spaces, and;
3.     Increased awareness about the enjoyment of women and girl’s rights to access and use public space in New Delhi.

In order to determine if these goals are achieved, we should specifically answer the following questions. These questions were derived from the baseline data and its key components. They are aimed to measure program impact, program outcomes, program outputs, and the effectiveness of the program’s strategies and processes:
1.     As a result of Safe Cities initiatives, do women perceive to be safer in public spaces?
2.     As a result of Safe Cities initiatives, are women more inclined to report incidents to the police?
3.     Has the number of sexual harassment cases decreased in public spaces since the Safe Cities program began, or changed the type and occurrence of these incidents?
4.     Has the Safe Cities program led to laws or government led initiatives to promote gender equality and women safety in public spaces?
5.     Has the Safe Cities program produced policies or budgets to improve infrastructure (i.e. public transportation and public restrooms) to make it safer for women?
6.     Has the Safe Cities program changed men/boys perspective of appropriate behavior towards women in public spaces?
7.     As a result of Safe Cities initiatives, are citizens more likely to intervene if they witness sexual harassment occurring in a public space?
8.     Have the multimedia methods effectively shaped public perception of these issues?
9.     Were there any unanticipated outcomes from the Safe Cities program?
10.  How well did the Safe Cities program implement its core strategies?
11.  What were the main challenges of effective implementation, and how were they overcome?

V. Evaluation Design
This impact evaluation design will incorporate gender equality and human rights approaches, participatory techniques, a mixed-methods approach incorporating qualitative and quantitative methodologies, construction of counterfactuals to help assess impact attribution, and a longitudinal study involving baseline, mid-term, end line, and ex-post assessments.

In order to better understand what impact will be evaluated, it is critical to outline the Safe Cities Theory of Change (TOC). By analyzing the long term goals of the program and their supporting assumptions, we will be able to easily connect the preconditions and requirements necessary to achieve the goal of reducing sexual harassment in public spaces, identify which interventions will be most effective, and develop indicators to measure the success of these interventions.

Long Term Goals and the Assumptions Behind Them
The ultimate goal of this initiative is to prevent and reduce sexual harassment of women and girls in public spaces in New Delhi, India. As previously mentioned, this is to be achieved by three broad goals. First is to reduce gender-based violence, which assumes that this type of violence is prevalent, and that women and girls currently do not feel comfortable using available resources. Second is to increase mobility of women and girls in public spaces, which assumes that this fear of harassment is preventing women and girls from using these public spaces safely, and that there is a lack of infrastructure to help prevent these crimes. The final goal is to increase awareness about the enjoyment of women and girl’s rights to access and use public space in New Delhi, which assumes that there is a lack of community effort to raise awareness on this issue. This is the basis of the logic used in our TOC model.

Connecting Preconditions and Requirements Necessary to Achieve the Long-Term Goal
The following logic model is a diagram mapping the inputs, activities, outputs, and outcomes of this program. The activities/key components are adopted from the list of “key strategies and components,” as listed earlier in the report. This model can be seen on the following page.

There are some external factors that could affect this logic model, the most prevalent being the cultural differences between India (New Delhi in particular) and the United States. The response to these programs may be different based on their cultural norms, their patriarchal society and historically misogynistic beliefs. Sexual acts of violence such as rape are still very much taboo in Indian culture and the timeframe associated with this logic model may be too progressive.  

Indicators of Success
In order to determine if the program is successful, several indicators must be in place to analyze various outputs of the program. The indicators are outlined in the table below:

Output
Indicator
Population Measured
Performance Threshold
Women better protected by the law
More provisions about sexual harassment added to the law
Lawmakers, Law Enforcement Officers
At least two provisions added per year, or in the process of being added
Dangerous “hotspots” identified and targeted for infrastructure improvement
Safety audit results, plans for infrastructure improvements set into place and put into action
Women/Girls, Lawmakers, City/Urban Planners, Law Enforcement Officers
Make infrastructure improvements in at least two hotspots per district per year
Changed public perception of sexual harassment issues
Public opinion surveys
Local Media Outlets, Women/Girls, Men/Boys
At least 25% more aware of sexual harassment issues per year
Women feel safer in public spaces
Interviews with women, public opinion surveys
Women/Girls, Law Enforcement Officers
Safety ratings increase by 25%
More public money allocated to community resources for women
Budgets, provisions added to the law
Lawmakers, Community Directors
At least 10% more funds allocated to community resources
Police better equipped to properly deal with these cases
Surveys rating the additional training programs, surveys from women’s perceptions
Law Enforcement Officers, Lawmakers
85% of officers complete training in first year, 100% by second year

Evaluating Impact
The RFP presents three main options that are to be considered for the impact evaluation design to determine if the aforementioned goals were achieved:
1.     Experimental evaluation, using randomized trials with control and treatment groups;
2.     Quasi-experimental evaluation, involving cluster trials (to compare the interventions’ effects on beneficiaries with comparable communities in which the intervention was not implemented; and/or
3.     Comprehensive pre- and post-intervention evaluation, without a comparison or treatment or control group.

For this program, an experimental evaluation is not feasible. Due to the sensitive nature of topic, it is not ethical to allow some women to participate but then withhold victim services if they were in fact required. We propose to use a quasi-experimental evaluation, not only because it is indeed viable, but it is also only second best to a random control trial and allows us to compare communities in New Delhi with one another. A comprehensive pre- and post-intervention evaluation will be used in conjunction with this to support the quasi-experimental results by using quantitative data from the government.

VI. Data Collection
To conduct our impact evaluation, we will be collecting a wide range of data from various sources. These methods are outlined below.

Sources of Data Available
Unfortunately, due to its taboo nature in New Delhi, there is not much existing data on this issue yet. The most comprehensive report we currently have is the baseline data collected in 2010. However, it would be useful to obtain government data on reported incidents, and compare this information to the baseline data. It may be that the number of reported incidents may go up even though that the total number of sexual harassment cases decrease — this would be helpful to see in the study, because it would show that the program is effective in empowering women to report these cases to the police.
Measures Used to Address the Research Questions
Various kinds of data will be collected before, during, and after the program in order to portray an accurate depiction of the city at that time. Quantitative data will include existing, relevant government statistics and surveys, as used in the baseline study. Qualitative data will include open-ended questionnaires and interviews of women who are involved in the program’s activities, and of random people approached on the street. Focus groups will be hosted with program directors and other leaders to brainstorm ways to confront these issues from a legal standpoint. Additionally, video footage will be collected in public spaces as evidence for the researchers to observe and record changes over time.

Data collection methods
In order to conduct a rigorous impact evaluation, data will be collected at four points in time: before the program begins (baseline), halfway through the program (mid-term), at the end of the program (end line), and at the end of all activities that supported the program (ex-post). Since the baseline evaluation has already been conducted, we can only rely on the resulting survey data. For the midterm evaluation moving forward, all of the data mentioned above will be collected. We will rely on participants to describe incidents based on memory and provide reactions to baseline data during the midpoint evaluation.

Sampling procedures
For this impact evaluation, both non-probability and probability sampling methods will be used to create a complete picture of the situation in New Delhi. For the interviews and focus group discussions, it is essential to use purposive samples in order to include community leaders, and women having endured a variety of incidents. The surveys and questionnaires will be distributed at random to the population. This will be achieved through stratified random sampling, dividing the population based on their age, location, and other demographic factors in an attempt to compile a diverse data set. The police data collected will be sampling the entire population.

Limitations to Validity and Reliability
The nature of the data in this study poses some threats to validity and reliability. Fortunately, there are precautions that can be taken to minimize the impacts of these limitations on our impact evaluation:
       Selection is a major threat to this study. Because sexual harassment is not openly discussed in Indian culture, it is expected that not every woman will be openly willing to participate in the study. Whatever group volunteers to opt in to the study may not truly represent the feelings of the majority. To attempt to correct for this it should be made clear upfront that their participation or responses will not jeopardize their safety or well-being so as to successfully reach along the entire spectrum of respondents.
       History can be a threat to internal validity, because a particular event in the region pertaining to sexual harassment may cause a particular reaction or change that has nothing to do with the Safe Cities program, and thus throw off the results. For this reason, it is essential to be aware of all events pertaining to sexual harassment in the New Delhi region, recording these events in the study, especially those leading directly to changes in government intervention, the response over the duration of the study, and violent incidents shared in the media.
       Attrition, also referred to as mortality, can also affect the results of the study, especially pertaining to individuals we hope to track over time through interviews and surveys. If for any reasons the participant feels like they are scared or threatened by being involved, we could lose their input or support. To make sure this does not occur, it is essential to maintain anonymity, and go to extra measures to ensure that they feel safe sharing private and somewhat embarrassing information.
       Spillover effects are likely to occur with the onset of this program and affect sexual harassment and violence outcomes in areas outside of New Delhi that are used for comparison. This is most likely to happen if the Safe Cities program incites new government regulations regarding sexual harassment in public places. This is not necessarily a bad thing because the program is helping more women than expected, but it could also contaminate the comparison group, which makes it difficult to determine the actual impact of treatment. Indicating if and when local or national changes are made can combat this.
       Measurement is a large threat to both validity and reliability in this study. There are concerns about whether the data collected is actually representative of the population, and if it is consistent. To help combat this, it is extremely important that the same measures are used for baseline, midpoint, and endpoint evaluations in order to avoid the easy pitfall of instrumentation issues.

Design Matrix
The following design matrix summarizes the data collection techniques in a table format:
Evaluation Question
Information Source
Sampling
Data Collection Mode/
Respondents
Specific Questions
As a result of Safe Cities initiatives, do women perceive to be more safe in public spaces?
Women and girls
Stratified random sampling of women and girls
Survey, Open-ended questionnaire, Interviews
- On a scale of 1-5, how safe do you feel in Space X?
- What makes you feel safe in public spaces?

As a result of Safe Cities initiatives, are women more inclined to report incidents to the police?
Women and girls
Stratified random sampling of women and girls
Survey, Open-ended questionnaire, Interviews, Government Data
- Have you ever reported a sexual harassment case to the police?
- Would you feel comfortable reporting a sexual harassment case to the police?
Has the number of sexual harassment cases decreased in public spaces since the Safe Cities program began, or changed the type and occurrence of these incidents?
Lawmakers, Law Enforcement
Collection of all police/
government data
Government Data, Video footage
N/A, only data analysis
Has the Safe Cities program led to laws or government led initiatives to promote gender equality and women safety in public spaces?
Lawmakers
Collection of government data
Government Data
N/A, only data analysis
Has the Safe Cities program produced policies or budgets to improve infrastructure (i.e. public transportation and public restrooms) to make it safer for women?
Lawmakers, City/Urban planners
Collection of government data
Government Data
N/A, only data analysis
Has the Safe Cities program changed men/boys perspective of appropriate behavior towards women in public spaces?
Men and boys
Stratified random sampling of public
Survey, Open-ended questionnaire, Interviews
- What type of behavior is appropriate towards women?
- Do you think women and men are treated the same in public spaces?
As a result of Safe Cities initiatives, are citizens more likely to intervene if they witness sexual harassment occurring in a public space?
Women and Girls, Men and Boys
Stratified random sampling of public
Survey, Open-ended questionnaire, Interviews, Video Footage
- Would you intervene if you saw someone being sexually harassed?
Have the multimedia methods effectively shaped public perception of these issues?
Local Media Outlets, Women and Girls, Men and Boys
Stratified random sampling of public, Purposive sampling of local media
Survey, Open-ended questionnaire, Interviews
- What is sexual harassment?
- Have you seen the local media campaign? Do these issues apply to you?
Were there any unanticipated outcomes from the Safe Cities program?
Community directors, Women and girls
Purposive sampling of community directors, public
Open-ended questionnaire, Interviews
- What was the most successful aspect of this program?
- What did you gain from this program?
How well did the Safe Cities program implement its core strategies?
Community directors
Purposive Sampling of program and community directors
Survey, Open-ended questionnaire, Interviews
Ask questions about success of the core outcomes
What were the main challenges to effective implementation of this program, and how were they overcome?
Community directors
Purposive Sampling of program administrators, community directors
Open-ended questionnaire, Interviews
- What was the biggest challenge in implementing this program?