Discrimination in Customer Service - Intervention

Last registered on May 04, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Discrimination in Customer Service - Intervention
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0005730
Initial registration date
May 01, 2020
Last updated
May 04, 2020, 2:05 PM EDT

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2017-04-04
End date
2017-04-26
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We test whether explicitly signaling one's customer status reduces racial discrimination in customer service. We email hotels in the US and inquire about restaurant recommendations from one of four fictitious email accounts, varying race (White, Asian) and customer status signal (present, absent).
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Feldberg, Alexandra and Tami Kim. 2020. "Discrimination in Customer Service - Intervention." AEA RCT Registry. May 04. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5730-1.0
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
We sent emails to hotels in the US, asking for restaurant recommendations. Emails were identical except for two components: the 1) city of the recipient hotel and 2) email-sender’s name. The email “From” line and signature varied to reflect the race (white, Asian); in the email inquiry itself, we varied customer status signal (present, absent).
Intervention Start Date
2017-04-04
Intervention End Date
2017-04-26

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. Response received
2. Number of restaurants
3. Email length
4. Passes the buck (refers the sender to another information source without answering the question)
5. Etiquette (including a name or honorific in the response and/or signed off the email with a complimentary close)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The study is a 2(race: white, Asian) X 2(customer signal: present, absent) design.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
via a random number generator.
Randomization Unit
Individual-level (i.e., hotel).
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
1,885 hotels
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,885 hotels
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
white, no customer signal: 472
white, customer signal: 471
asian, no customer signal: 471
asian, customer signal: 471
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Harvard Business School
IRB Approval Date
2016-05-05
IRB Approval Number
IRB16-0525

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials