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Sexual Harassment and Gender Inequality in the Labor Market

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Abstract

This paper offers a comprehensive empirical analysis of sexual harassment in the Swedish labormarket. First, we use nationally representative survey data linked with employer-employee datato describe rates of self-reported sexual harassment across occupations and workplaces. The riskof sexual harassment is clearly imbalanced across the sex segregated labor market. In gender-mixed and male-dominated occupations and workplaces, women have a higher risk than men,and men have a higher risk than women in female-dominated contexts. We use a hypotheticaljob-choice experiment with vignettes for sexual harassment to measure the disutility of sexualharassment risks. Both men and women have an equally high willingness to pay for avoidingworkplaces where sexual harassment has occurred. But the willingness to pay is conditional onthe sex of the fictional harassment victim. People reject workplaces where the victim is the samesex as themselves, but not where the victim is of the opposite sex. We return to the administrativedata to study employer compensation for the disutility of sexual harassment risks. Withinworkplaces, a high risk is associated with lower, not higher wages. People who self-report sexualharassment also have higher job dissatisfaction, more quit intentions, and more actual quits.Both these patterns indicate a lack of full compensation. We conclude that sexual harassmentshould be conceptualized as gender discrimination in workplace amenities, and that thisdiscrimination reinforces sex segregation and pay-inequalities in the labor market.

Suggested Citation

  • Folke, Olle & Rickne, Johanna, 2020. "Sexual Harassment and Gender Inequality in the Labor Market," Working Paper Series 4/2020, Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sofiwp:2020_004
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    Cited by:

    1. Delfino, Alexia, 2021. "Breaking Gender Barriers: Experimental Evidence on Men in Pink-Collar Jobs," IZA Discussion Papers 14083, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Azmat, Ghazala & Boring, Anne, 2020. "Gender Diversity in Firms," IZA Policy Papers 168, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Dahl, Gordon B. & Knepper, Matthew, 2021. "Why Is Workplace Sexual Harassment Underreported? The Value of outside Options amid the Threat of Retaliation," IZA Discussion Papers 14740, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender Inequality; occupational gender segregation; Sexual harassment; workplace amenities;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J81 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Working Conditions

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