New heights for economics researcher


2 minute read

Associate Professor of Economics Kailing Shen, from The Australian National University (ANU), has a co-authored paper published in the American Economic Review (AER). The AER is widely regarded as the leading scholarly journal in the field of economics. Published since 1911 by the American Economic Association, its editorial policies are the most transparent in the field and the papers that it accepts tend to be the most impactful and transformative in economics.

Kailing works in the ANU College of Business and Economics Research School of Economics (RSE). Her co-author, Professor Peter J. Kuhn, is from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Together, the pair researched personnel economics and the online matching of workers and jobs. In a series of previous papers on online matching, Kailing and Peter studied the explicit gender-targeting of job advertisements – a practice of requesting applicants of a particular gender – which was once common in the United States, and which remains common in many of the world's largest labour markets.

In their AER paper, What Happens When Employers Can No Longer Discriminate in Job Ads, Kailing and Peter explored what happened when China abruptly prohibited the gender-targeting policy in early 2019.

They found that when employers’ explicit gender requests were unexpectedly removed from a Chinese job board overnight, pools of successful applicants became more integrated. A large increase in gender-mismatched applications occurred, and those applications were treated surprisingly well by employers. The job titles that were integrated, however, were not the most gendered ones, and were disproportionately lower-wage jobs.

The Director of RSE, Professor Rabee Tourky, recognises Kailing’s accomplishment.

“This is a fantastic achievement for Kailing. Being one of the top journals in economics, it is very difficult to have papers accepted for publication by the AER. On behalf of the ANU Research School of Economics, I congratulate Kailing on this incredible outcome,” shares Rabee.

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