Friday, February 1, 2013

Gender discrimination on the labor market in China

China is a country of contradictions. While its communist ideals dictate that all people are equal, genders are quite obviously treated differently. The country's leadership is more male-based than most (23 of 25 in the politburo) and parents routinely practice gender selection for their children, which leads to the ticking bomb of a large male population surplus (more here). Is such discrimination also practiced on the labor market in China?

Xiangyi Zhou, Jie Zhang and Xuetao Song went through the trouble of sending about 20,000 fake employment applications on various major Internet bulletin boards and analyzed the responses they got. The results are damning. There is signification discrimination, but in surprising ways. State-owned enterprises tend to prefer males. Foreign and private firms go the other way and tend to prefer females. The public sector is rigid and follows rules, so it seems deeply ingrained to privilege men despite all the rhetoric. The private sector is more flexible and, I suppose, takes opportunities where they are, and hiring discriminated women seems to be the way to go. On more lesson on how free markets can be powerful adjusters.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

China may have to import women to satisfy a large male population or develop further large aggressives armies.