Valuing the Risk of Workplace Sexual Harassment

35 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2018

See all articles by Joni Hersch

Joni Hersch

Vanderbilt University - Law School; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management; Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics

Date Written: September 9, 2018

Abstract

Using data on sexual harassment charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, I calculate the risk of sexual harassment by gender, industry, and age and establish that white females, but not nonwhite females, receive a compensating wage differential for exposure to a higher risk of sexual harassment. I use this risk premium to calculate the value of statistical harassment (VSH) in a manner analogous to the calculation of the value of statistical life (VSL). The VSH is around $7.6 million, about three-quarters of the size of the most-commonly cited levels of the VSL, and far above the maximum damages award for sexual harassment available under federal law. Boosting the maximum damages award to equal the VSH would create the appropriate economic incentives for organizations to deter sexual harassment.

Keywords: Sexual Harassment, Job Risks, Compensating Differentials, Gender Discrimination, Value of Statistical Life, Deterrence, #MeToo

JEL Classification: J3, J7, K4

Suggested Citation

Hersch, Joni, Valuing the Risk of Workplace Sexual Harassment (September 9, 2018). Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Forthcoming; Vanderbilt Law Research Paper No. 18-44. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3262960

Joni Hersch (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615-343-7717 (Phone)
615-322-6631 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/go/phdlawecon

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management

401 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States

Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics

Box 1819 Station B
Nashville, TN 37235
United States

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