NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Gender-Targeted Job Ads in the Recruitment Process: Evidence from China

Peter Kuhn, Kailing Shen, Shuo Zhang

NBER Working Paper No. 25365
Issued in December 2018, Revised in August 2019
NBER Program(s):Development Economics, Labor Studies

We document how explicit employer requests for applicants of a particular gender enter the recruitment process on a Chinese job board. Overall, we find that 19 out of 20 callbacks to jobs requesting a particular gender are of the requested gender. Mostly, this is because application pools to those jobs are highly segregated, but men and women who apply to jobs requesting the ‘other’ gender also experience lower callback rates than other applicants. Regressions that control for job title-by-firm fixed effects suggest that explicit requests for men in a job ad reduce the female share of applicants by 15 percentage points, while explicit requests for women raise it by 25 percentage points. Regressions that control for worker and job title fixed effects suggest that applying to a gender-mismatched job reduces men’s callback probability by 24 percent and women’s by 43 percent. Together, these findings suggest that explicit gender requests direct where workers send their applications and predict how an application will be treated by the employer, if it is made.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25365

 
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