Customer Discrimination in the Workplace: Evidence from Online Sales

Research Note
Published on 22 April 2022


Do customers discriminate between workers? This work returns to this long-standing question by asking what role customers play in gender-based discrimination in labour markets in low-income countries. Using experimentally-induced variation in customers’ perceptions of online workers' genders and holding fixed worker behaviour, we find customers purchase significantly fewer products from workers assigned a female-sounding name. The results appear to be driven by relatively lower interest in engaging with female workers. This study has several implications for labour market policy.


Erin Kelley

World Bank

Gregory Lane

University of California, Berkeley

Edward Rubin

University of Oregon

Matthew Pecenco

Brown University