Victims of bullying earn less than peers

Published: 12 November 2013 at 13:58

Study by Anglia Ruskin economist discovers impact on wages and employment rates

Victims of bullying are likely to earn lower than average wages, according to research to be published in the International Journal of Manpower.

The study, led by Dr Nick Drydakis of Anglia Ruskin University, found that childhood bullying can lead to significant economic implications later in life. 

On average, victims of bullying earned 2.1% less than the average wage, were 3.3% less likely to be in employment, and were 4.1% less likely to be participating in the labour market (either in employment or actively looking for work).

The sample consisted of 7,500 respondents, aged between 18 and 65, who took part in the Greek Behavioural Study, with 8.4% of the respondents admitting to have been bullied on a frequent or constant basis.

The study discovered a negative correlation between bullying and human capital, with those who experienced bullying as a child 18.5% less likely to have a higher education degree or advanced IT and language skills.

It also found that gays, lesbians, immigrants and men are more negatively affected by bullying in terms of labour force participation, employment rate and wages.  For instance, gay and lesbian people who experienced bullying as a child face 12.4% lower wages, immigrants who experienced bullying as a child face 4.1% lower wages and men who experienced bullying as a child face 6.1% lower wages.

Dr Drydakis, a Senior Lecturer in Economics at Anglia Ruskin, said:

“Individuals without a history of being bullied have a higher probability of participating in the labour force, being employed, and receiving higher wages.
“On the other hand, individuals who experienced a serious intensity of bullying face the most statistically significant negative effects in terms of lower participation in the labour force, lower employment rates, and lower hourly wages.
“Most economic literature on the determination of wages has concentrated on traditional human capital variables, such as education and skills.  However, as the effects of bullying may affect individuals’ employment future, bullying should be of greater interest to economists.”