Childbearing Age and Gender Discrimination on Labor Market: A Large-scale Field Experiment

Department of Decision Sciences and Managerial Economics

We conduct a large-scale field experiment in China to investigate the effect of childbearing age on gender discrimination in the labor market. We send fictitious resumes to real job postings on a major Chinese online recruitment platform for jobs in four major cities Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen that differ in the length of paid maternity leave, and in male-dominated jobs: information technology (IT), and female-dominated jobs: human resource (HR), and accounting (ACC). We systematically vary age and gender of the job applicants and record call-back for interviews. We find that there is gender discrimination in IT where females are less likely to receive call-back, whereas in HR and ACC, males are being discriminated against and less likely to receive call-back. Childbearing age females are being discriminated against in all three occupations. Cities (Guangzhou and Shenzhen) with longer maternity leave do not have stronger childbearing age discrimination.