IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/mts/wpaper/201007.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Effects of Competition and Information on Racial Discrimination: Evidence from a Field Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • John M. Nunley
  • Mark F. Owens
  • R. Stephen Howard

Abstract

We conduct a field experiment to determine whether racial discrimination can be identified in product-market auctions and, if so, under what conditions it is more likely to emerge. We compare the prices paid for perfectly substitutable products sold on eBay between sellers with distinctively white and distinctively black names. Price differences arise in favor of sellers whose names match the expected racial characteristics of buyers. However, the price differences only emerge in markets characterized by low levels of competition, and eBay's feedback system, which reduces asymmetric information between buyer and seller, is successful at mitigating these differences. The results suggest, rather strongly, that competitive forces and market mechanisms designed to reduce informational asymmetries both can aid in promoting non-discriminatory outcomes in markets.

Suggested Citation

  • John M. Nunley & Mark F. Owens & R. Stephen Howard, 2010. "The Effects of Competition and Information on Racial Discrimination: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Working Papers 201007, Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:mts:wpaper:201007
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://capone.mtsu.edu/berc/working/eBay_working_paper_4_23_2010.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kate Antonovics & Brian G. Knight, 2009. "A New Look at Racial Profiling: Evidence from the Boston Police Department," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 163-177, February.
    2. Levitt, Steven D, 2004. "Testing Theories of Discrimination: Evidence from Weakest Link," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(2), pages 431-452, October.
    3. Patrick Bajari & Ali Hortaçsu, 2004. "Economic Insights from Internet Auctions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(2), pages 457-486, June.
    4. P. A. Riach & J. Rich, 2002. "Field Experiments of Discrimination in the Market Place," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 480-518, November.
    5. Joseph Price & Justin Wolfers, 2010. "Racial Discrimination Among NBA Referees," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1859-1887.
    6. Carlsson, Magnus & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2007. "Evidence of ethnic discrimination in the Swedish labor market using experimental data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 716-729, August.
    7. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "The Causes and Consequences of Distinctively Black Names," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 119(3), pages 767-805.
    8. Ali Hortaçsu & F. Asís Martínez-Jerez & Jason Douglas, 2009. "The Geography of Trade in Online Transactions: Evidence from eBay and MercadoLibre," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 53-74, February.
    9. Ahmed, Ali M. & Hammarstedt, Mats, 2008. "Discrimination in the rental housing market: A field experiment on the Internet," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 362-372, September.
    10. Marianne Bertrand & Dolly Chugh & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2005. "Implicit Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 94-98, May.
    11. Hossain Tanjim & Morgan John, 2006. "...Plus Shipping and Handling: Revenue (Non) Equivalence in Field Experiments on eBay," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-30, January.
    12. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
    13. John A. List, 2004. "The Nature and Extent of Discrimination in the Marketplace: Evidence from the Field," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 119(1), pages 49-89.
    14. Altonji, Joseph G. & Blank, Rebecca M., 1999. "Race and gender in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 48, pages 3143-3259, Elsevier.
    15. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 991-1013, September.
    16. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
    17. Chaim Fershtman & Uri Gneezy, 2001. "Discrimination in a Segmented Society: An Experimental Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 351-377.
    18. N/A, 2010. "Referees," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 47(2), pages 261-262, March.
    19. Paul Resnick & Richard Zeckhauser & John Swanson & Kate Lockwood, 2006. "The value of reputation on eBay: A controlled experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 9(2), pages 79-101, June.
    20. David Lucking‐Reiley & Doug Bryan & Naghi Prasad & Daniel Reeves, 2007. "Pennies From Ebay: The Determinants Of Price In Online Auctions," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 223-233, June.
    21. Kate Antonovics & Peter Arcidiacono & Randall Walsh, 2005. "Games and Discrimination: Lessons From The Weakest Link," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(4), pages 918-947.
    22. Bajari, Patrick & Hortacsu, Ali, 2003. "The Winner's Curse, Reserve Prices, and Endogenous Entry: Empirical Insights from eBay Auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 329-355, Summer.
    23. Sheryl Ball & Catherine Eckel & Philip J. Grossman & William Zame, 2001. "Status in Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 116(1), pages 161-188.
    24. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Jonathan Guryan, 2008. "Prejudice and Wages: An Empirical Assessment of Becker's The Economics of Discrimination," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(5), pages 773-809, October.
    25. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-661, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Jennifer L. Doleac & Luke C.D. Stein, 2013. "The Visible Hand: Race and Online Market Outcomes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(11), pages 469-492, November.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Nunley, John M. & Owens, Mark F. & Howard, R. Stephen, 2011. "The effects of information and competition on racial discrimination: Evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 670-679.
    2. Morten Størling Hedegaard & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2018. "The Price of Prejudice," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 40-63, January.
    3. Carlsson, Magnus & Fumarco, Luca & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2013. "Artifactual Evidence of Discrimination in Correspondence Studies? A Replication of the Neumark Method," IZA Discussion Papers 7619, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. von Essen, Emma & Karlsson, Jonas Karlsson, 2013. "A matter of transient anonymity: Discrimination by gender and foreignness in online auctions," Research Papers in Economics 2013:6, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    5. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo, 2016. "Field Experiments on Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 22014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Ian Ayres & Mahzarin Banaji & Christine Jolls, 2015. "Race effects on eBay," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 46(4), pages 891-917, October.
    7. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo, 2016. "Field Experiments on Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 22014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Vojtech Bartos & Michal Bauer & Julie Chytilova & Filip Matejka, 2013. "Attention Discrimination: Theory and Field Experiments," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp499, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    9. Igan, Deniz & Pinheiro, Marcelo & Smith, John, 2012. "Racial biases and market outcomes: "White men can't jump," but would you bet on it?," MPRA Paper 36069, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Mujcic, Redzo & Frijters, Paul, 2013. "Still Not Allowed on the Bus: It Matters If You're Black or White!," IZA Discussion Papers 7300, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Galarza, Francisco B. & Yamada, Gustavo, 2014. "Labor Market Discrimination in Lima, Peru: Evidence from a Field Experiment," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 83-94.
    12. Castillo, Marco & Petrie, Ragan, 2010. "Discrimination in the lab: Does information trump appearance?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 50-59, January.
    13. Michael Ewens & Bryan Tomlin & Liang Choon Wang, 2014. "Statistical Discrimination or Prejudice? A Large Sample Field Experiment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(1), pages 119-134, March.
    14. Chowdhury, Shyamal & Ooi, Evarn & Slonim, Robert, 2020. "Racial Discrimination and White First Name Adoption: Evidence from a Correspondence Study in the Australian Labour Market," IZA Discussion Papers 13208, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. David Masclet & Emmanuel Peterle & Sophie Larribeau, 2012. "The Role of Information in Deterring Discrimination: A New Experimental Evidence of Statistical Discrimination," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201238, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
    16. John M. Nunley & Adam Pugh & Nicholas Romero & Richard Alan Seals, Jr., 2014. "An Examination of Racial Discrimination in the Labor Market for Recent College Graduates: Estimates from the Field," Auburn Economics Working Paper Series auwp2014-06, Department of Economics, Auburn University.
    17. Kudashvili, Nikoloz & Lergetporer, Philipp, 2022. "Minorities’ strategic response to discrimination: Experimental evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 208(C).
    18. Anthony Edo & Nicolas Jacquemet & Constantine Yannelis, 2019. "Language skills and homophilous hiring discrimination: Evidence from gender and racially differentiated applications," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 349-376, March.
    19. Bryson, Alex & Chevalier, Arnaud, 2015. "Is there a taste for racial discrimination amongst employers?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 51-63.
    20. Button, Patrick & Walker, Brigham, 2020. "Employment discrimination against Indigenous Peoples in the United States: Evidence from a field experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Racial Discrimination; Statistical Discrimination; Asymmetric Information; Competition; eBay;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mts:wpaper:201007. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Benjamin Jansen (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/efmtsus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.