Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research

No 4/2020: Sexual Harassment and Gender Inequality in the Labor Market

Olle Folke () and Johanna Rickne ()
Additional contact information
Olle Folke: Uppsala University
Johanna Rickne: Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University, Postal: SOFI, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

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.

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

JEL-codes: J16; J24; J81

63 pages, May 12, 2020

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