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Ladies first? A field study of discrimination in coffee shops

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  • Caitlin Knowles Myers
  • Marcus Bellows
  • Hiba Fakhoury
  • Douglas Hale
  • Alexander Hall
  • Kaitlin Ofman

Abstract

Despite anecdotal and survey evidence suggesting the presence of discrimination against customers in stores, restaurants and other small-transaction consumer markets, few studies exist that identify or quantify the nature of any unequal treatment. We provide evidence from a field study of wait times in Boston-area coffee shops that suggests that female customers wait an average of 20 seconds longer for their orders than do male customers even when controlling for gender differences in orders. We find that this differential in wait times is inverse to the proportion of employees who are female and directly related to how busy the coffee shop is at the time of the order. This supports the conclusion that the observed differential is driven at least in part by employee animus and/or statistical discrimination rather than unobserved heterogeneity in the purchasing behaviour of female customers.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 42 (2010)
Issue (Month): 14 ()
Pages: 1761-1769

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Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:42:y:2010:i:14:p:1761-1769

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  1. Orn Bodvarsson & William Luksetich & Sherry McDermott, 2003. "Why do diners tip: rule-of-thumb or valuation of service?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(15), pages 1659-1665.
  2. John Yinger, 1998. "Evidence on Discrimination in Consumer Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 23-40, Spring.
  3. Myers, Caitlin Knowles, 2004. "Discrimination and neighborhood effects: understanding racial differentials in US housing prices," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 279-302, September.
  4. Jan Ondrich & Stephen Ross & John Yinger, 2000. "Now You See It, Now You Don't: Why Do Real Estate Agents Withhold Available Houses from Black Customers?," Center for Policy Research Working Papers, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University 24, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  5. Antecol, Heather & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A., 2008. "Racial and ethnic discrimination in local consumer markets: Exploiting the army's procedures for matching personnel to duty locations," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 496-509, September.
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  10. Ayres, Ian & Siegelman, Peter, 1995. "Race and Gender Discrimination in Bargaining for a New Car," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 304-21, June.
  11. Graddy, Kathryn, 1997. "Do Fast-Food Chains Price Discriminate on the Race and Income Characteristics of an Area?," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(4), pages 391-401, October.
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  1. Sexism at Starbucks
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2007-10-08 15:04:47

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