The Visible Hand: Race and Online Market Outcomes
We examine the effect of race on market outcomes by selling iPods through local online classified advertisements throughout the United States in a year-long field experiment. Each ad features a photograph of the product being held by a dark- or light-skinned (“black” or “white”) hand. Black sellers do worse than white sellers on a variety of market outcome measures: they receive 13% fewer responses and 17% fewer offers. Conditional on receiving at least one offer, black sellers also receive 2–4% lower offers, despite the selfselected—and presumably less biased—pool of buyers. In addition, buyers corresponding with black sellers exhibit lower trust: they are 17% less likely to include their name in e-mails, 44% less likely to accept delivery by mail, and 56% more likely to express concern about making a long-distance payment. We find evidence that black sellers suffer particularly poor outcomes in thin markets; it appears that discrimination may not “survive” in the presence of significant competition among buyers. Furthermore, black sellers do worst in the most racially isolated markets and markets with high property crime rates, suggesting a role for statistical discrimination in explaining the disparity.
|Date of creation:||May 2010|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (650) 725-1874
Fax: (650) 723-8611
Web page: http://siepr.stanford.edu
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- 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.
- Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2003. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 9873, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2003. "Are emily and greg more employable than lakisha and jamal? A field experiment on labor market discrimination," Natural Field Experiments 00216, The Field Experiments Website.
- John A. List, 2004.
"The Nature and Extent of Discrimination in the Marketplace: Evidence from the Field,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 49-89, February.
- John List, 2004. "The nature and extent of discrimination in the marketplace: Evidence from the field," Natural Field Experiments 00299, The Field Experiments Website.
- Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 2, number 9780226041162.
- 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.
- Nardinelli, Clark & Simon, Curtis, 1990. "Customer Racial Discrimination in the Market for Memorabilia: The Case of Baseball," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 575-95, August.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:09-015. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Anne Shor)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.