Sexual Harassment and Gender Inequality in the Labor Market

65 Pages Posted: 20 May 2020 Last revised: 28 May 2020

See all articles by Olle Folke

Olle Folke

Uppsala University - Department of Government

Johanna Karin Rickne

Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI)

Date Written: May 2020

Abstract

This paper offers a comprehensive empirical analysis of sexual harassment in the Swedish labor market. First, we use nationally representative survey data linked with employer-employee data to describe rates of self-reported sexual harassment across occupations and workplaces. The risk of 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 hypothetical job-choice experiment with vignettes for sexual harassment to measure the disutility of sexual harassment risks. Both men and women have an equally high willingness to pay for avoiding workplaces where sexual harassment has occurred. But the willingness to pay is conditional on the sex of the fictional harassment victim. People reject workplaces where the victim is the same sex as themselves, but not where the victim is of the opposite sex. We return to the administrative data to study employer compensation for the disutility of sexual harassment risks. Within workplaces, a high risk is associated with lower, not higher wages. People who self-report sexual harassment 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 harassment should be conceptualized as gender discrimination in workplace amenities, and that this discrimination reinforces sex segregation and pay-inequalities in the labor market.

Keywords: Gender Inequality, occupational gender segregation, Sexual harassment, workplace amenities

JEL Classification: J16, J24, J81

Suggested Citation

Folke, Olle and Rickne, Johanna Karin, Sexual Harassment and Gender Inequality in the Labor Market (May 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP14737, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3603968

Olle Folke (Contact Author)

Uppsala University - Department of Government ( email )

Scheelev├Ągen 15 D
SE-223 70
Lund
Sweden

Johanna Karin Rickne

Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI) ( email )

Kyrkgatan 43B
SE-106 91 Stockholm
Sweden

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