Go Electric or Burn Coal: A Field Experiment” (Hanming Fang, Li King King, Peiyao Shen)
We study how households choose between coal versus electric heating.
We conduct a large scale randomized field experiment to study whether providing recipients – 42,454 Chinese households in a rural area – with information on the costs of a real decision they make can help to improve the quality of their choices. The decisions are of high financial impact, as the objects of deliberation – air conditioners – have upfront prices exceeding the average monthly salary of a household. Besides providing nominal cost information, we conduct two additional treatments, where we either present the same information by making the real opportunity costs salient, or by administering the information via a quiz. The former aims at facilitating the comparison of effective costs, while the latter aims at enhancing attention and cognitive involvement. We find that providing cost information substantially affects the choices made, and reduces the decision mistakes, in particular in the two additional treatments.
Labor market discrimination
Childbearing Age and Gender Discrimination on Labor Market: A Large-scale Field Experiment (Li King King, Li Lunzheng, Si Wei, Xu Zhibo)
We conduct a large-scale field experiment in China to investigate the effect of being of childbearing age on gender discrimination in the labor market. We send 35,713 fictitious resumes to real job postings on a major Chinese online recruitment platform for jobs in four leading cities, Beĳing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, which vary in the length of maternity leave. We send applications for positions advertised in the male-dominated field of information technology (IT), the female-dominated field of accounting (ACC), and the mixed-gender field of human resources (HR). We systematically vary the age and gender of the job applicants and record callbacks for interviews. To accurately mimic the job application process in the Chinese labor market, we do not disclose the applicants’ family status. We find that women of childbearing age are subject to discrimination in the field of IT, a problem that also exists in HR and ACC, particularly in Beĳing and Shanghai. There is no obvious discrimination against women of childbearing age in Guangzhou or Shenzhen, where maternity leave is longer. In the aggregate, the evidence indicates that women of childbearing age face statistical discrimination that prevents them from obtaining equal employment opportunities.