NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Gender Discrimination in Job Ads: Theory and Evidence

Peter J. Kuhn, Kailing Shen

NBER Working Paper No. 17453
Issued in September 2011
NBER Program(s):   LS

We study firms' advertised gender preferences in a population of ads on a Chinese internet job board, and interpret these patterns using a simple employer search model. The model allows us to distinguish firms' underlying gender preferences from firms' propensities to restrict their search to their preferred gender. The model also predicts that higher job skill requirements should reduce the tendency to gender-target a job ad; this is strongly confirmed in our data, and suggests that rising skill demands may be a potent deterrent to explicit discrimination of the type we document here. We also find that firms' underlying gender preferences are highly job-specific, with many firms requesting men for some jobs and women for others, and with one third of the variation in gender preferences within firm*occupation cells.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17453

Published: “Gender Discrimination in Job Ads: Evidence from China” Quarterly Journal of Economics 128(1) (February 2013) (with Kaling Shen).

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