Are the Disabled Discriminated Against in Product Markets? Evidence from Sportscards to Sportscars
Social scientists have presented evidence that suggests discrimination is ubiquitousâ€”across several heterogeneous labor markets, as well as product markets as diverse as home insurance and new car sales, women, nonwhites, and the elderly have been found to be the target of discriminatory behavior. Yet one important issue that has been largely ignored is whether the disabled are discriminated against in the marketplace. This study experimentally examines whether the disabled are discriminated against in two distinct product markets: the sportscard market and the sportscar market. In the sportscard market we direct agents to enter the marketplace and attempt to sell a sportscard; we measure differential treatment by comparing initial and final offers received across the disabled and abled agents. In the latter market we direct agents to visit bodyshops to obtain an estimate to fix their car. Again, measured discrimination relates to the price dimension. Combining these data with complementary field experiments provides interesting insights into both the nature and extent of discrimination observed in these markets.
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