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Employers' Preferences for Gender, Age, Height and Beauty: Direct Evidence

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  • Peter Kuhn
  • Kailing Shen

Abstract

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 market conditions in the direction predicted by our model, while firms' advertised preferences for age, gender, height and beauty do not.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Kuhn & Kailing Shen, 2009. "Employers' Preferences for Gender, Age, Height and Beauty: Direct Evidence," NBER Working Papers 15564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15564
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kuhn, Peter J. & Shen, Kailing, 2010. "Gender Discrimination in Job Ads: Theory and Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 5195, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Oyer, Paul & Schaefer, Scott, 2011. "Personnel Economics: Hiring and Incentives," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    3. Maitreyi Bordia Das, 2016. "All in my Head? The Play of Exclusion and Discrimination in the Labor Market," Journal of International Commerce, Economics and Policy (JICEP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 7(02), pages 1-20, June.
    4. HLASNY, Vladimir, 2014. "Four pillars of job applicant screening in China," Working Papers 2014029, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Applied Economics.
    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. Das,Maitreyi B, 2015. "All in my head ? the play of exclusion and discrimination in the labor market," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7468, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination

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