Employers’ Age and Gender Preferences: Direct Evidence from Four Job Boards

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IZA Seminar

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

Date: 13.05.2014, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

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


When permitted by law, employers sometimes state the preferred age and sex of their employees in job ads. We extend Kuhn and Shen’s (2013) study of these preferences to three new samples of job ads from China and Mexico, focusing on the interaction between firms’ age and gender preferences. In all four data sets, we find that men’s (revealed) relative desirability as workers rises dramatically between the ages of 18 and 45. Some of this shift can be attributed to employers’ age‐dependent demands for female beauty and male leadership, and to gender differences in firms’ marital status preferences. The results suggest that age‐dependent employer, co‐worker and customer tastes may play a hitherto‐ unexplored role in explaining gender differences in wage and employment growth over the career.

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