Johanna Rickne: Sexual Harassment and Gender Inequality in the Labor Market


00:00 | Welcome
00:21 | Intro - Ayushi Narayan
02:15 | Johanna Rickne
45:56 | Q&A




Johanna RickneJohanna Rickne
Professor of Economics
Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University

(Joint with Olle Folke, Uppsala University)

We argue that sexual harassment is a discriminatory work condition that constitutes a tax on workplace gender minorities. This tax creates a disincentive for both men and women to become and remain such minorities. We make these points in three empirical sections.

The first section documents asymmetric harassment risks by gender across workplace sex-ratios in nationally representative survey data from Sweden. Women self-report more harassment than men in gender-mixed or male-dominated workplaces, and men self-report more harassment than women in female-dominated workplaces.

In the next section, we design a survey experiment for fictional job choices to quantify people’s preferences against harassment risks. We signal a high risk by a vignette of sexual harassment where the victim has the same sex as the survey respondent. Pooling all respondents, men and women have equally sized preferences against workplaces with harassment. But splitting the sample by risk-levels, the high-risk gender has a larger negative preference than the low-risk gender.

The final empirical section returns to the administrative data to study wages and turnover. We find that women face the highest harassment risks in high-paying workplaces and men in low-paying workplaces. For women, but not for men, we also find that harassment is conducive to turnover. We conclude that workplace sexual harassment reinforces sex-segregation and the gender pay gap in the labor market.  

About the speaker

Johanna RickneJohanna Rickne is Professor of Economics at the Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University, and part-time Professor of Economics at Nottingham University. She is also a CEPR Fellow, Wallenberg Academy Fellow, and an affiliated researcher at the Stockholm China Economic Research Center.

Professor Rickne studies labor economics, political economics, and gender economics. She has a special interest in Asia in general, and China in particular.  

She is widely published in both economics and political science, including the American Economic Review, American Economic Journal: Applied, Quarterly Journal of Economics, American Political Science Review, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Theoretical Politics, and Quarterly Journal of Political Science.

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