#MeToo: Sexual Harassment and Company Value

Mads Borelli-Kjaer, Laurids Moehl Schack, Ulf Nielsson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

We identify the impact of reported sexual harassment on firm value through the use of a unique hand-collected sample consisting of around 200 incidents that all include novel event- and firm-specific characteristics. The average effect of a sexual harassment scandal is significantly negative and robust, with around 1.5% abnormal decrease in market value over the event day and the following trading day. In the cross section, the effect is considerably amplified by the involvement of a CEO in the scandal, high news coverage and number of accusers, while firms' self-disclosure of misconduct mitigates the effect. The average magnitude of impact is unchanged before and after the #MeToo movement, but the frequency of scandals in the media translates to a four-fold increase in the risk of becoming embroiled in a scandal. Proxies of public sentiment rather than direct penalties and loss of productivity are found to correlate with the magnitude of impact.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101875
JournalJournal of Corporate Finance
Volume67
Number of pages36
ISSN0929-1199
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Published online: 6. Januar 2021.

Keywords

  • Corporate scandals
  • Sexual harassment
  • Company value
  • MeToo

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