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Referral Hiring of Miners: Case from the Coal Industry in Early Twentieth-Century Japan


  • Morimoto, Mayo

    () (Graduate School of Economics, The University of Tokyo)


Many firms do hire workers by referral hiring and, thus, recognize its worth as one of the hiring method used personal networks. This study investigates under what circumstances and for what type of workers a firm can more efficiently use referral hiring than otherwise in the Japanese coal mining industry in the 1900s, which was the fast-growing industry in the emerging economy. We first predict, based on our model, that referral hiring is more efficient when job applicants' skills are too complicated or sophisticated for employers to decide on a right candidate. Then, building an original data set from employment contract documents from a colliery operated in the 1900s, we show that traditional manual skilled workers were likely to be hired through referrals, while modernized skilled workers and unskilled workers were not likely to be hired through referrals.

Suggested Citation

  • Morimoto, Mayo, 2013. "Referral Hiring of Miners: Case from the Coal Industry in Early Twentieth-Century Japan," ISS Discussion Paper Series (series F) f164, Institute of Social Science, The University of Tokyo, revised 02 Feb 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:itk:issdps:f164

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lori Beaman & Jeremy Magruder, 2012. "Who Gets the Job Referral? Evidence from a Social Networks Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3574-3593, December.
    2. Valery Yakubovich & Daniela Lup, 2006. "Stages of the Recruitment Process and the Referrer’s Performance Effect," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 17(6), pages 710-723, December.
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    More about this item


    referral hiring; adverse selection; informal job networks.;

    JEL classification:

    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • J46 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Informal Labor Market
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure

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