Caroline Coly: It's a man's world: culture of abuse, #MeToo and worker flows

Seminars - Applied Microeconomics
12:30 - 13:45
Alberto Alesina Seminar Room 5.e4.sr04, floor 5, Via Roentgen 1
Filippo De Marco



Sexual harassment and sexist behaviors are pervasive issues in the workplace. Around 12% of women in France have been subjected to toxic behaviors at work in the last year, including sexist comments, sexual or physical harassment, or violence. Such toxic behaviors do not only deter women from entering the labor market, but can also lead them to leave toxic workplaces at their own expense. This article examines the relationship between toxic behaviors and worker flows using the #MeToo movement as an exogenous shock to France's workplace norms regarding toxic behaviors. Survey data on reported toxic behaviors in firms is combined with exhaustive administrative data to create a measure of toxic behavior risk for all French establishments. Then, a triple-difference strategy is applied comparing female and male worker flows in high-risk versus low-risk firms before and after #MeToo. We find that the #MeToo movement increased women's relative exit rates in higher-risk workplaces, while men's worker flows remained unaffected. In particular, women are more likely to quit their job and move to firms that pay 2% less on average. This demonstrates the existence of a double penalty for women working in high-risk environments, as they are not only more frequently the victims of toxic behaviors, but are also forced to quit their jobs in order to avoid them.


Paper joint with Cyprien Batut, Chaire Travail - PSE, and Sarah Schneider-Strawczynski, University of Exeter.


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