Gender discrimination in China: Experimental evidence from the job market for college graduates

February 25, 2021 - Author: Jian Zhang, <>, Tao Li, Haigang Wang

Zhang, J., Jin, S., Li, T., & Wang, H. (2021). Gender discrimination in China: Experimental evidence from the job market for college graduates. Journal of Comparative Economics.


This paper examines employment-related gender discrimination during the initial stages of a hiring process. It specifically focuses on recent college graduates in China. By examining firms’ responses to fictitious resumes with randomly generated information on gender and other key attributes of applicants (e.g., school reputation, student's academic achievement, and leadership experiences), this study is able to separate the effect of gender on a student's potential for getting an on-site interview from the confounding effects of other factors. The findings reveal that, with all other factors remaining constant, female applicants, on average, are less likely to be invited by hiring firms to on-site interviews as compared with their male counterparts. Furthermore, gender discrimination in computer and mathematics, architecture and engineering, and sales occupations appears to be driving the results of this study. The qualitative evidence based on interviews with firm recruiters suggests that the findings of this study are generally consistent with the role congruity theory of prejudice in psychology literature. While the finding that the quality of a job candidate (academic achievement and leadership experience) does not reduce gender discrimination offers some evidence to support a taste-based discrimination view, we do not have enough evidence to support a statistical discrimination view.


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