Violence against Women at Work

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We link every police report in Finland to administrative data to identify violence 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 effects 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 the proportion of women at the firm, both because fewer new women are hired and current female employees leave. Management plays a key role in mediating the effects on the wider workforce. Only male-managed firms lose women. Female-managed firms exhibit a key difference relative to male-managed firms: male perpetrators are less likely to remain employed after attacking their female colleagues.


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