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Working Paper

Violence Against Women at Work

Abstract: The #MeToo movement has demonstrated that assaults between colleagues are an internationally relevant phenomenon. In this paper, we link every police report in Finland to administrative data to identify assaults between colleagues, and the economic consequences for victims, perpetrators, and firms. This new approach to observe when one colleague attacks another overcomes previous data constraints limiting evidence on this phenomenon to self-reported surveys that do not identify perpetrators. We document large, persistent labor market impacts of between-colleague violence on victims and perpetrators. Male perpetrators experience substantially weaker consequences after attacking female colleagues. Perpetrators’ relative economic power in male-female violence partly explains this asymmetry. Turning to broader implications for firm recruitment and retention, we find that male-female violence causes a decline in women at the firm, both because fewer new women are hired and current female employees leave. There is no change in hiring from within existing employees’ networks, ruling out supply-side explanations for the reduction in new female hires via "whisper networks". Management practices play a key role in mediating the impacts on the wider workforce. Only male-managed firms lose women. Female managers do one important thing differently: fire perpetrators.

Keywords: Management practices; Sexual harassment; Workplace conflict; Gender inequality;

JEL Classification: J81; J16; M54;


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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Part of Series: Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers

Publication Date: 2022-11-28

Number: 064