The Delhi Metro is one of the leading examples of a recent urban mass transit infrastructure project in a developing country where women have traditionally suffered from constrained mobility.
In this paper, we analyze the effects of the Delhi Metro on the work participation rate of women and men, using a three-period (1991, 2001, and 2011) panel data of township-level zones within the city of Delhi. While the data has limitations in understanding the characteristics of individual residents in detail, we employ a difference-in-differences estimation controlling for a location fixed-effect, with a parallel trend test. The results suggest that the proximity to the Delhi Metro stations significantly increases the female work participation rate (WPR), whereas its effect on the male WPR is ambiguous with the potential to have an opposite sign. While there are number of potential mechanisms that can deliver this result, we develop a theoretical urban commuting model and argue that a larger reduction in the commuting cost for females (by offering a safer commuting mode of transportation, for example) can generate the quantified patterns of the effects on the WPR.
Overall, our results relate to the literature on the quantification of the contribution of urban transport infrastructure towards inclusive growth and poverty reduction.
Keywords: India, gender gap, equilibrium commuting model