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“As rare as a panda”: How facial attractiveness, gender, and occupation affect interview callbacks at Chinese firms

Author

Listed:
  • Margaret Maurer-Fazio
  • Lei Lei

Abstract

Purpose - – The purpose of this paper is to explore how both gender and facial attractiveness affect job candidates’ chances of obtaining interviews in China’s dynamic internet job board labor market. It examines how discrimination based on these attributes varies over occupation, location, and firms’ ownership type and size. Design/methodology/approach - – The authors carry out a resume audit (correspondence) study. Resumes of fictitious applicants are first carefully crafted to make candidates appear equally productive in terms of their work histories and educational backgrounds. The authors control gender and facial attractiveness. The authors establish the facial attractiveness of candidate photos via an online survey. In total, 24,192 applications are submitted to 12,096 job postings across four occupations in six Chinese cities. Callbacks are carefully tracked and recorded. Discrimination is estimated by calculating the differences in the rates of callbacks for interviews received by individuals whose applications vary only in terms of facial attractiveness and gender. The authors reuse the same resumes repeatedly through this project such that names and photos of each of the candidates: attractive man, attractive woman, unattractive man, and unattractive woman is attached to each resume hundreds of times for each occupation in each city. Findings - – The authors find sizable differences in the interview callback rates of attractive and unattractive job candidates. Job candidates with unattractive faces need to put in 33 percent more applications than their attractive counterparts to obtain the same number of interview callbacks. Women are preferred to men in three of the four occupations. Women, on average need put in only 91 percent as many applications as men to obtain the same number of interview callbacks. Research limitations/implications - – The analysis of this paper focusses on only four different occupations. Its scope is also limited to exploring only the first part of the hiring process – obtaining a job interview. Furthermore, its fictitious applicants are all young people, approximately 25 years old. It would be useful to explore how gender and facial attractiveness affect candidates’ chances of landing a job after getting an interview. Originality/value - – This paper contributes to and expands the literature on hiring through China’s internet job boards. It also contributes to the literature on the role of facial attractiveness in hiring.

Suggested Citation

  • Margaret Maurer-Fazio & Lei Lei, 2015. "“As rare as a panda”: How facial attractiveness, gender, and occupation affect interview callbacks at Chinese firms," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 36(1), pages 68-85, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijmpps:v:36:y:2015:i:1:p:68-85
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Booth, Alison & Leigh, Andrew, 2010. "Do employers discriminate by gender? A field experiment in female-dominated occupations," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 236-238, May.
    2. Stijn Baert & Bart Cockx & Niels Gheyle & Cora Vandamme, 2015. "Is There Less Discrimination in Occupations Where Recruitment Is Difficult?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 68(3), pages 467-500, May.
    3. Luc Behaghel & Bruno Crépon & Thomas Le Barbanchon, 2015. "Unintended Effects of Anonymous Résumés," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 1-27, July.
    4. Peter Kuhn & Kailing Shen, 2013. "Gender Discrimination in Job Ads: Evidence from China," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(1), pages 287-336.
    5. Margaret Maurer-Fazio, 2012. "Ethnic discrimination in China's internet job board labor market," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 1(1), pages 1-24, December.
    6. Siddique, Zahra, 2011. "Evidence on Caste Based Discrimination," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(S1), pages 146-159.
    7. repec:feb:natura:0058 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jcecon:v:46:y:2018:i:4:p:1294-1309 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:spr:soinre:v:132:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-015-1143-y is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Nikolaos Askitas & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2015. "The internet as a data source for advancement in social sciences," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 36(1), pages 2-12, April.
    4. Asali, Muhammad & Pignatti, Norberto & Skhirtladze, Sophiko, 2017. "Employment Discrimination in a Former Soviet Union Republic: Evidence from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 11056, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Wang-Sheng Lee & Zhong Zhao, 2017. "Height, Weight and Well-Being for Rural, Urban and Migrant Workers in China," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 132(1), pages 117-136, May.
    6. repec:spr:izalpo:v:6:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1186_s40173-017-0084-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Maurer-Fazio, Margaret & Wang, Sili, 2018. "Does Marital Status Affect How Firms Interpret Job Applicants' Un/Employment Histories?," IZA Discussion Papers 11363, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender; Discrimination; Hiring; Beauty; Chinese firms; Facial attractiveness; Field experiments; Internet job boards; Resume correspondence audit study;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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