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Ladies First? A Field Study of Discrimination in Coffee Shops

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  • Caitlin Knowles Myers with assistance of Marcus bellows, Hiba Fakhoury, Douglas Hale, Alexander Hall, and Kaitlin Ofman*

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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.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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File URL: http://www.middlebury.edu/services/econ/repec/mdl/ancoec/0711.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Middlebury College, Department of Economics in its series Middlebury College Working Paper Series with number 0711.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mdl:mdlpap:0711

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Related research

Keywords: economics of gender and minorities; consumer and market discrimination;

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  1. Antecol, Heather & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A., 2006. "Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in Local Consumer Markets: Exploiting the Army’s Procedures for Matching Personnel to Duty Locations," IZA Discussion Papers 2389, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1996. "Dealer Price Discrimination in New Car Purchases: Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 622-54, June.
  3. 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, vol. 15(4), pages 391-401, October.
  4. John List, 2004. "The nature and extent of discrimination in the marketplace: Evidence from the field," Natural Field Experiments 00299, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. Matt Parrett, 2006. "An Analysis of the Determinants of Tipping Behavior: A Laboratory Experiment and Evidence from Restaurant Tipping," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 489–514, October.
  6. Orn Bodvarsson & William Luksetich & Sherry McDermott, 2003. "Why do diners tip: rule-of-thumb or valuation of service?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(15), pages 1659-1665.
  7. 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.
  8. Jan Ondrich & Stephen Ross & John Yinger, 2001. "Now You See it, Now You Don't: Why Do Real Estate Agents Withhold Available Houses from Black Customers?," Working papers 2001-01, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2002.
  9. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994. "Beauty and the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1174-94, December.
  10. Turner, Margery Austin & Mikelsons, Maris, 1992. "Patterns of racial steering in four metropolitan areas," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 199-234, September.
  11. John Yinger, 1998. "Evidence on Discrimination in Consumer Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 23-40, Spring.
  12. Conlin, Michael & Lynn, Michael & O'Donoghue, Ted, 2003. "The norm of restaurant tipping," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 297-321, November.
  13. 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.
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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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