Taste-Based Gender Discrimination by Contestants on the Price is Right

39 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2011 Last revised: 24 Mar 2015

Date Written: July 18, 2013

Abstract

We report evidence of gender discrimination by contestants in the One Bid game on The Price Is Right television show. One Bid contestants bid sequentially in an attempt to get closest to the price of a prize on display without exceeding it. The last bidder in the game has a dominant cutoff strategy of bidding $1 more than another contestant, but this strategy leaves the target contestant with almost no chance to win. Contestant groups and bidding orders within groups are plausibly exogenous with respect to gender and there are high stakes for playing impartially, yet our analysis of over 5,000 One Bid rounds shows that for last bidders of both genders, same-gender opponents are less likely to be cut offs . For rounds in which the last bid is not the lowest, cutoff s remain significantly more likely when the next lowest bidder is of the opposite-gender. Because the last bidder's revealed belief is that the next lowest bid is the best to cut off , our results demonstrate gender favoritism while holding constant beliefs about the effectiveness of cutting o ff a given opponent. Our empirical strategy thus allows us to parse out tastes from other sources of discrimination such as statistical discrimination or irrational stereotyping, while also identifying which genders are discriminating. We estimate that final bidders transfer $147 in expected prize winnings to same-gender opponents by cutting them less often than opposite-gender opponents, and as much as $522 in the second to last round of the show.

Keywords: gender discrimination, taste-based discrimination, field studies

JEL Classification: D7, J3, J7

Suggested Citation

Atanasov, Pavel D. and Dana, Jason D., Taste-Based Gender Discrimination by Contestants on the Price is Right (July 18, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1914911 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1914911

Pavel D. Atanasov (Contact Author)

Pytho LLC ( email )

866 President Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215
United States
7173335045 (Phone)
11215 (Fax)

Jason D. Dana

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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