Do Employers Prefer Undocumented Workers? Evidence from China’s Hukou System

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IZA Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 16.05.2013, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

Peter J. Kuhn (University of California, Santa Barbara)


We study urban Chinese employers’ preferences between workers with and without a local residence permit (hukou) using information on which job applicants receive employer contacts on an Internet job board in the city of Xiamen. We find that employers prefer migrant workers to locals who are identically matched to the job’s requirements. Employers’ preferences for non-local workers are especially strong at low skill levels. The most likely explanation for this preference appears to be higher effort levels and/or exployers’ expectations of higher unobserved ability levels among migrants.

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