Kailing Shen

Research School of Economics
ANU College of Business & Economics
HW Arndt Building (25a)
The Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

April 2016Age and Gender Profiling in the Chinese and Mexican Labor Markets: Evidence from Four Job Boards
with Miguel Delgado Helleseter, Peter Kuhn: w22187
When permitted by law, employers sometimes state the preferred age and sex of their employees in job ads. We study this practice using data from one Mexican and three Chinese job boards, showing that it is widely used to request both genders and is especially prevalent in jobs with low skill requirements. For example, on the job board serving less-skilled production and service workers in China, 72 percent of ads specified a preferred gender, and 77 percent listed both a minimum and maximum age. We also document a new stylized fact we call the age twist in gender profiling: firms' explicit gender requests shift dramatically away from women and towards men when firms are seeking older (as opposed to younger) workers. While some of this twist can be attributed to employers’ age-dependent r...
October 2015Do Employers Prefer Migrant Workers? Evidence from a Chinese Job Board
with Peter Kuhn: w21675
We study urban, private sector Chinese employers’ preferences between workers with and without a local permanent residence permit (hukou) using callback information from an Internet job board. We find that these employers prefer migrant workers to locals who are identically matched to the job’s requirements; these preferences are strongest in jobs requiring lower levels of education and offering low pay. While migrant-native payroll tax differentials might account for some of this gap, we argue that the patterns are hard to explain without some role for a migrant productivity advantage in less skilled jobs. Possible sources of this advantage include positive selection of nonlocals into migration, negative selection of local workers into formal search for unskilled private sector jobs, effi...

Published: Peter Kuhn & Kailing Shen, 2015. "Do employers prefer migrant workers? Evidence from a Chinese job board," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, vol 4(1). citation courtesy of

September 2011Gender Discrimination in Job Ads: Theory and Evidence
with Peter J. Kuhn: w17453
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 wi...

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

December 2009Employers' Preferences for Gender, Age, Height and Beauty: Direct Evidence
with Peter Kuhn: w15564
We study firms' advertised preferences for gender, age, height and beauty in a sample of ads from a Chinese internet job board, and interpret these patterns using a simple employer search model. We find that these characteristics are widely and highly valued by Chinese employers, though employers' valuations are highly specific to detailed jobs and occupations. Consistent with our model, advertised preferences for gender, age, height and beauty all become less prevalent as job skill requirements rise. Cross-sectional patterns suggest some role for customer discrimination, product market competition, and corporate culture. Using the recent collapse of China's labor market as a natural experiment, we find that firms' advertised education and experience requirements respond to changing labor ...
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