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Do Employers Prefer Migrant Workers? Evidence from a Chinese Job Board

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  • Peter Kuhn
  • Kailing Shen

Abstract

We study urban, private sector Chinese employers’ preferences between workers with and without a local permanent residence permit (hukou) using callback information from an Internet job board. We find that these employers prefer migrant workers to locals who are identically matched to the job’s requirements; these preferences are strongest in jobs requiring lower levels of education and offering low pay. While migrant-native payroll tax differentials might account for some of this gap, we argue that the patterns are hard to explain without some role for a migrant productivity advantage in less skilled jobs. Possible sources of this advantage include positive selection of nonlocals into migration, negative selection of local workers into formal search for unskilled private sector jobs, efficiency wage effects related to unskilled migrants’ limited access to the urban social safety net, and intertemporal labor and effort substitution by temporary migrants that makes them more desirable workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Kuhn & Kailing Shen, 2015. "Do Employers Prefer Migrant Workers? Evidence from a Chinese Job Board," NBER Working Papers 21675, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21675
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    Cited by:

    1. 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).
    2. Boffy-Ramirez, Ernest & Moon, Soojae, 2017. "The Role of China's Household Registration System in the Urban-Rural Income Differential," IZA Discussion Papers 11022, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Pedro S. Martins, 2017. "Clicking towards Mozambique's New Jobs: A research note," Working Papers 85, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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