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Unpacking the Gender Profit Gap: Evidence from Micro-Businesses in India
Last registered on October 16, 2018

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Unpacking the Gender Profit Gap: Evidence from Micro-Businesses in India
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003180
Initial registration date
July 31, 2018
Last updated
October 16, 2018 11:20 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Stanford GSB
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Stanford University
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2018-08-06
End date
2019-01-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Large gender differences in earnings prevail worldwide in almost all occupations, and entrepreneurship is no exception. Women’s businesses are typically less productive, but also smaller and less capital-intensive than men’s. Despite the vast literature reporting the gender gap in profitability, its causes are not well understood. Our study examines the role of business characteristics and discrimination on gender disparities in profitability. We study small-scale produce businesses in India. We first conduct a survey to establish that women’s businesses are both less profitable and smaller than men’s in this context. Using a large-scale field experiment, we test whether giving men and women the same business closes the gap in profitability. We set up our own market stalls, to which we randomly assign male and female vendors. We thus exogenously vary gender, holding the business constant. The evidence from this experiment shows how much of the gender gap in this context is due to business characteristics alone. To examine the role of client discrimination more specifically, we conduct a second experiment with packaged goods instead of vegetables.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Delecourt, Solene and Odyssia Ng. 2018. "Unpacking the Gender Profit Gap: Evidence from Micro-Businesses in India." AEA RCT Registry. October 16. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3180-2.0.
Former Citation
Delecourt, Solene and Odyssia Ng. 2018. "Unpacking the Gender Profit Gap: Evidence from Micro-Businesses in India." AEA RCT Registry. October 16. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3180/history/35810.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2018-08-21
Intervention End Date
2019-01-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Variables at the vendor level: Daily profit, daily revenue,number of "missed" clients, number of purchasing clients
Variables at the vegetable level: quoted price, price paid.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Variables at the vendor level: number of male/female clients who approached and buy from the stall, inventory, markup per Rs.
Variables at the vegetable level: discount (bargaining).
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Our main experiment consists in setting up vegetable stalls in a retail market, recruit one male and one female vendor every day to sell vegetables that we provide, and randomly assign the vendors to the stalls. Every day, we purchase vegetables from the wholesale market and equally divide them among the two stalls. Our experimental design enables us to exogenously vary gender, holding the business characteristics - quantity, quality of produce, location - constant. It is a form of extreme capital drop intervention: we provide vendors with the exact same business. To incentivize vendors to sell, they keep the day’s profits and are only charged for the vegetables they are able to sell.

We run the same experiment with packaged goods that are sold by men and women. To measure discrimination, we decrease the price of the packaged goods sold by women for a randomly chosen part of the day.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
For recruitment: randomization done on the tablet through the software SurveyCTO.
Other randomizations are done in office by a computer (Stata). We select a random pair of one man and one woman to be assigned to our daily stalls.
Randomization Unit
We randomize at the individual level as we assign individuals to stalls.
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
250 individuals (125 men and 125 women) for the vegetable experiment.
At least 60 individuals (30 men and 30 women) for the packaged goods experiment, depending on funding, we hope to get at least 100.
Sample size: planned number of observations
250 individuals (125 men and 125 women) for the vegetable experiment. At least 60 individuals (30 men and 30 women) for the packaged goods experiment, depending on funding, we hope to get at least 100.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
125 men and 125 women for the vegetable experiment.
At least 60 individuals (30 men and 30 women) for the packaged goods experiment, depending on funding, we hope to get at least 100.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Stanford University
IRB Approval Date
2018-02-21
IRB Approval Number
41794
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers