Does the Gig Economy Discriminate Against Women? Evidence from Physicians in China
55 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2022
This paper investigates gender gaps in the gig economy in a developing country. Using novel data from a major Chinese online healthcare platform, I find that female physicians charge 2.5% lower prices and provide 12.5% fewer consultations than males. The platform's design, specifically its ranking algorithm, plays an important role in gender gaps. The ranking algorithm amplifies the gaps by taking historical consultations (and thus pre-existing discrimination) into account and placing fewer females at the top of search results. I also find suggestive evidence that the gaps are due to statistical discrimination. Patients penalize female physicians more for not providing information about work experience and reward them more for providing a strong positive signal about quality, such as a senior professional title.
Keywords: Online skilled labor markets, Gender gap, Algorithm, Statistical Discrimination
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