Experimental Design Details
To investigate the effect of different maternity leave policies, we create profiles with three age categories: (socially recognized) pre-fertility age, fertility age, and post-fertility age to capture the potential concerns/discrimination of employers towards fertility-aged women. Specifically, we design job seekers in three age categories: 24, 29, and 34, which are pre-fertility, fertility, and post-fertility ages, respectively, based on the information collected from the baseline survey. We target three types of job vacancy advertisements, which are accounting (generally believed female-dominated occupations), programming (generally believed male-dominated occupations), and HR (generally believed gender-neutral occupations), to explore occupational gender segregation. Therefore, we create 18 candidates (two genders, three age categories, and three types of jobs) and 9 versions of resumes (commensurate experience with ages for each type of occupations).
We apply for jobs posted online in four municipalities (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen). Beijing and Shanghai have a shorter duration of the paid maternity leave (128 days), and Guangzhou and Shenzhen have a longer duration (178 days). Within each occupation, we randomly divide firms into two groups (treatment and control groups). We collect firm attributes provided on the online job platform (e.g., company size, type, potential wage, etc.) to make sure that employers in treatment and control groups have balanced characteristics in all dimensions. Within each group of firms, we randomly submit resumes of different genders and age categories to apply for the posted jobs.