Sexual Violence against Women and Labor Market Outcomes

Jeffrey DeSimone, University of Texas at Arlington
Joseph J. Sabia, San Diego State University

The consequences of sexual violence toward women have been studied by a wide array of disciplines, including sociology and demography, but the topic has only very recently been addressed by economists. This paper is the first in the economics literature to explore the economic consequences of sexual violence toward women. Using data from four waves of Add Health, we find that young adult females who have been victimized by physically forced sexual violence are 4% less likely to participate in the labor force than their non-victim counterparts. Among workers, victimization is associated with 10% lower hourly earnings. Estimates are robust to the inclusion of community, school, and family fixed effects and individual-level observable controls for peer group, risky sexual behavior, substance use, risk and time preference, and decision-making style. Effects are larger among women assaulted in childhood or adolescence and can be partially attributable to stress-induced reductions in psychological well-being.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 146: Gender-Based Violence