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Bullying at school and labour market outcomes

Nick Drydakis (Lord Ashcroft International Business School, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK; Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn, Germany, and Scientific Centre for the Study of Discrimination, Athens, Greece)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 28 October 2014




The purpose of this paper is to examine the long-term correlates of bullying in school with aspects of functioning in adult employment outcomes.


Bullying is considered and evaluated as a proxy for unmeasured productivity, and a framework is provided that outlines why bullying might affect employment outcomes through differences in skills and traits. Using Bivariate and Heckit models the paper employs a variety of specifications and finds several interesting patterns.


By utilising the 2008 Greek Behavioural Study data set the regression outcomes suggest that labour force participation, employment rate and hourly wages are negatively affected by bullying. In addition, men, homosexuals, immigrants, unmarried people, those having higher negative mental health symptoms, and those having lower human capital are more negatively affected by bullying in terms of labour force participation, employment probability and hourly wages. Moreover, Oaxaca-Blinder decompositions suggest that labour force participation gaps, employment gaps and hourly wage gaps between minority and majority groups, especially for gay men and the disabled, can be explained by bullying incidents.

Practical implications

It seems likely that having been a victim of bullying also has economic implications later in life due to withdrawal from the labour market and lower wages.


The retrospective bullying index used in the current study measured the combined and ordered effect of the duration and intensity of bullying, which generates 17 outcomes that ultimately capture a large range of alternative options. In addition, the author suggested that bullying might be understood as a productivity trait that provides a direct input into the production process, which might drive abilities or traits and influence adult employment outcomes. Contemporary economic analysis suggests that cognitive and non-cognitive skills are important factors that affect labour productivity through reasoning ability and productivity.



JEL Classifications — E24, J21, J24


Drydakis, N. (2014), "Bullying at school and labour market outcomes", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 35 No. 8, pp. 1185-1211.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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