Customer Discrimination in the Workplace: Evidence from Online Sales
39 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2023
Date Written: February 16, 2023
Many workers are evaluated on their ability to engage with customers. We measure the impact of gender-based customer discrimination on the productivity of online sales agents working across Sub-Saharan Africa. Using a novel framework that randomly varies the gender of names presented to customers without changing worker behavior, we find the assignment of a female-sounding name leads to 50 percent fewer purchases. Customers also lag in responding, are less expressive, and avoid discussing purchases. We show similar results for customers from different parts of the world and across workers. Discrimination directly affecting worker productivity has important labor market implications.
Keywords: Labor, Discrimination, Gender
JEL Classification: J16, O12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation