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Customer Discrimination


  • Jonathan S. Leonard

    (University of California, Berkeley)

  • David I. Levine

    (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Laura Giuliano

    (University of Miami)


We test for customer discrimination with data from more than 800 retail stores employing over 70,000 individuals matched to census data on the demographics of each store's community. While our tests detect some increase in sales when the workforce more closely resembles potential customers, the effects we find are modest in magnitude. Customer discrimination is neither strong nor pervasive. We find little payoff to matching employee demographics to those of potential customers except when the customers do not speak English. © 2010 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan S. Leonard & David I. Levine & Laura Giuliano, 2010. "Customer Discrimination," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 670-678, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:92:y:2010:i:3:p:670-678

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Theodore M. Crone & Leonard I. Nakamura & Richard Voith, 2001. "Measuring American rents: a revisionist history," Working Papers 01-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    2. Perron, Pierre & Rodriguez, Gabriel, 2003. "GLS detrending, efficient unit root tests and structural change," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 1-27, July.
    3. Ariel Pakes, 2003. "A Reconsideration of Hedonic Price Indexes with an Application to PC's," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1578-1596, December.
    4. David Genesove, 2003. "The Nominal Rigidity of Apartment Rents," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 844-853, November.
    5. Joshua H. Gallin, 2004. "The long-run relationship between house prices and rents," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-50, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    Cited by:

    1. Pierre-Philippe Combes & Bruno Decreuse & Morgane Laouénan & Alain Trannoy, 2016. "Customer Discrimination and Employment Outcomes: Theory and Evidence from the French Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(1), pages 107-160.
    2. Laouénan, Morgane, 2014. "'Can't Get Enough': Prejudice, Contact Jobs and the Racial Wage Gap in the US," IZA Discussion Papers 8006, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Tsuru, Tsuyoshi & Owan, Hideo & Uehara, Katsuhito, 2010. "Price Discrimination and Social Network : Evidence from North American Auto Dealership Transaction Data," Discussion Paper Series a529, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    4. Ryan C. McDevitt & James W. Roberts, 2014. "Market structure and gender disparity in health care: preferences, competition, and quality of care," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 45(1), pages 116-139, March.
    5. Morgane Laouénan, 2013. "Un cas particulier de discrimination sur le marché du travail : l'accès aux emplois en contact avec le public," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 464(1), pages 35-58.
    6. Hoogendoorn, Sander M. & van Praag, Mirjam C., 2012. "Ethnic Diversity and Team Performance: A Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 6731, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Laouénan, Morgane, 2017. "‘Hate at First Sight’: Evidence of consumer discrimination against African-Americans in the US," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 94-109.
    8. Boyd-Swan, Casey & Herbst, Chris M., 2017. "Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in the Labor Market for Child Care Teachers," IZA Discussion Papers 11140, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Matthew Parrett, 2011. "Customer Discrimination in Restaurants: Dining Frequency Matters," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 87-112, June.

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