Employees’ job security is influenced not only by formal laws and regulations, but also by the traditional culture of the region. From the perspective of informal institution, this paper examines the influence of Confucianism and its recessive value criterion on enterprise employment strategy and employees’ rights and interests guarantee. Using Chinese historical classics and the 10th survey data of private enterprises in 2012, this paper finds that Confucian culture contains such thoughts as “gentlemen take justice for benefit”“be generous to the people and be able to help the people”, which have a significant impact on the employment strategy of modern enterprises. The value norms of “benevolence, righteousness, courtesy and faith” advocated by Confucian culture are conducive to improving the quality of employee rights and interests protection. Specifically, the contractual spirit constructed by the Confucian concept of good faith will improve the performance of enterprises in signing labor contracts and purchasing employee insurance; The Confucius thoughts such as “knowing things”“being erudite and diligent” and “learning without weariness” can also obviously promote the investment of staff training and improve the quality of employment guarantee; The connotation of “benevolence” of Confucianism will urge enterprises to establish trade unions to protect the rights and interests of employees. The empirical results show that the greater the Confucian culture intensity in the region where the enterprise is located, the higher the signing rate of individual labor contracts of employees, and the higher the rate of purchasing medical insurance, endowment insurance, unemployment insurance, work-related injury insurance and maternity insurance for employees. At the same time, the investment of enterprise training measured by the proportion of trained employee number in total employee number is significantly higher, and enterprises in areas with higher Confucian cultural intensity are more likely to set up labor union organizations.
As the degree of judicial protection varies in different regions of China, we also use the judicial civilization index provided by the Collaborative Innovation Center of Judicial Civilization to further test the regulatory effect of judicial protection. The empirical results show that the positive effect of Confucian culture in improving employees’ job security is more prominent in “weak judicial protection” areas. This means that the two different forces of Confucian culture and judicial protection have certain alternative functions in strengthening the protection of employees’ rights and interests. The lower the judicial civilization index is, the more obvious the promotion effect of Confucian culture on employees’ job security is.
In the robustness test, we use the number of imperial examination scholars in Ming and Qing Dynasties to replace the original academies in Qing Dynasty to measure the strength of Confucian culture, and the empirical results still support the research hypothesis.