Gender Discrimination in Job Ads: Theory and Evidence
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.
The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research. The authors thank UC Santa Barbara's Institute for Social, Behavioral and Economic Research (ISBER) for financial support. Kuhn thanks UC Berkeley's Center for Labor Economics and the IZA for their generous hospitality during the research on this project. Catherine Weinberger, and seminar participants at Xiamen University, Tsinghua University, Renmin University China, ZEW (Centre for European Economic Research), University of Aarhus, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Trans-Pacific Labor Seminar, the all-UC labor economics conference, UC Denver, University of Heidelberg, IZA, Tilburg University, University of Amsterdam, Maastricht University and UCSB supplied helpful comments. Additional materials are available at: http://www.econ.ucsb.edu/~pjkuhn/Data/GenderDiscrim/GenderDiscrimIndex.htm
“Gender Discrimination in Job Ads: Evidence from China” Quarterly Journal of Economics 128(1) (February 2013) (with Kaling Shen).