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Overt Employment Discrimination by Multinational Firms: Cultural and Economic Influences in a Developing Country



An issue that has been explored only to a limited extent is the role that multinational firms might play in promoting or inhibiting employment discrimination based on gender in developing countries. This study focuses on this issue within the context of Thailand, a country that, until quite recently, had one of the world's fastest growing economies, driven to a large extent through investment by foreign multinational firms. The approach we take is to analyze the determinants of the inclusion of explicit gender restrictions in job announcements by both multinationals and Thai-owned firms. Some job announcements restrict jobs to male or to female applicants, and some are silent on the issue of gender. Others specifically invite both male and female applicants. There are no laws in Thailand restricting gender-based discrimination nor requiring “equal opportunity” language on the part of private employers.

The analysis examines the relationship of the cultural characteristics of the firm's home country, along with economic growth in the host country, with the likelihood of various gender-based restrictions being placed in job announcements. We employ widely used measures of national culture developed by Hofstede.Empirical results demonstrate relationships between discrimination and certain of Hofstede's cultural dimensions. Economic growth was not found to have an impact on discrimination. Control variables in the study include dummy variables to control for occupation and the industry of the employee firm.

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