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Crawford School of Public Policy presents


Job application portfolios: evidence from Chinese university graduates


TTPI Seminar


12th March 2020
12.15 pm - 1.30 pm


Miller Theatre Level 1, Old Canberra House Building 73, Lennox Crossing, ANU


Associate Professor Kailing Shen, Research School of Economics, ANU



The study empirically compares the job application portfolios from graduates of universities with various degrees of selectivity. It does so using data from a Chinese online job board. The results show two striking features of the portfolios: 1) Individuals apply less intensely for jobs at both ends of the wage distribution, and more for jobs in the middle of the wage distribution; 2) The applications from the graduates of more selective universities (985, 211, tier 1 versus others) are less intense in general while much more sensitive to offered wages.

The study proposes a static partial equilibrium model to explain the empirical findings. Among others, the most ‘surprising’ implications of the model is that job seekers might adjust their application intensity up or down when the probability of receiving an offer increases. In particular, the optimal number of applications as a function of the success rate has an inverted-U shape.

Kailing Shen is an Associate Professor at the Research School of Economics of The Australian National University. She joined ANU in 2015. Before that, she was with Xiamen University in China. Kailing has also been a Research Fellow at IZA since 2007.

Kailing received her PhD from the University of British Columbia in 2006. Her doctoral thesis examines the impact of unemployment insurance on employment stability and reemployment wages using a multi-spell, multi-state duration model.

Her research focuses on empirical analysis of the labor market. So far, her research has covered a wide spectrum of issues, including unemployment insurance, job search and matching, discrimination, gender differentials, income inequality, education, migration, aging as well as within-household behavior. For the last ten years, she has mainly been working with online job board data.

A light lunch will be available from 12-12.15pm. Please register at the registration tab above.

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