For all the chatter about that recent video where the woman walks through New York City and is repeatedly harassed, I thought it worth mentioning there is a systematic study of this question going on at MIT economics (and elsewhere), conducted in part by job market candidate Sara Hernández, with numerous co-authors. The paper isn’t ready yet, but here is the abstract:
This study seeks to document the frequency of street harassment and preventive measures women take to avoid it. It explores the association between experiences of street harassment and perceptions of social cohesion among women currently presenting for health care at public health clinics. The study was conducted in Mexico City, the most populous city in North America, which has a high documented prevalence of gender-based violence against women, ranging from 20-30% in a woman’s lifetime. Despite the pervasiveness of gender-based violence in the city, little is known about experiences related to street harassment. Data were drawn from a baseline survey among women currently participating in a randomized controlled trial in Mexico City (N=952). Current findings underscore the needs for programs and policies to promote the safety and well being of women and addressing community and structural-level forms of gender discrimination and violence.
I believe this issue will continue to receive more attention in the future. The “flexibility” of the behavior of men — depending on social expectations for one thing — remains an underexplored topic in economics.