Gender Discrimination in Job Ads: Evidence from China
Peter Kuhn, Kailing Shen
Quarterly Journal of Economics
#002164 20131014 (published)
We study explicit gender discrimination in a population of ads on a Chinese internet job board. Gender-targeted job ads are commonplace, favor women as often as men, and are much less common in jobs requiring higher levels of skill. Employers’ relative preferences for female versus male workers, on the other hand, are more strongly related to the preferred age, height and beauty of the worker than to job skill levels. Almost two thirds of the variation in advertised gender preferences occurs within firms, and one third occurs within firm*occupation cells. Overall, these patterns are not well explained by a firm-level animus model, by a glass-ceiling model, nor by models in which broad occupational categories are consistently gendered across firms. Instead, the patterns suggest a model in which firms have idiosyncratic preferences for particular job-gender matches, which are overridden in skilled positions by factors such as thinner labor markets or a greater incentive to search broadly for the most qualified candidate.

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