The Impact of Consumer-Side Discrimination on Firm Productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa

Last registered on May 20, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

The Impact of Consumer-Side Discrimination on Firm Productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa
Initial registration date
November 02, 2020

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
November 02, 2020, 8:47 AM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
May 20, 2022, 12:44 PM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.


Primary Investigator

UC Berkeley

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
American University
PI Affiliation
Brown University
PI Affiliation
University of Oregon

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Our proposed work returns to the open question of the existence and extent of consumer- based discrimination, asking what role consumers play in gender-based discrimination in labor markets and workplaces in the developing world. Using experimentally-induced variation in consumers’ perceptions of online chat agents’ genders, we will estimate the effect of consumer-side discrimination on both individual and aggregate worker productivity. Specifically, we partner with an online sales company and randomly assign gender-specific names to agents, careful to remove any indications of the assigned names from the agents themselves.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Kelley, Erin et al. 2022. "The Impact of Consumer-Side Discrimination on Firm Productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa." AEA RCT Registry. May 20.
Experimental Details


To understand the role that consumer-side perceptions of gender play in determining the productivity of workers, we implement a field experiment with a single treatment arm. In this experiment, each day we randomly select a male or female name to present to consumers for each chat agent at an online sales company.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Number of Chat; Chat Length (Words, Time); Customer Ever Responded; Agent First Message Length; Customer First Message; Agent First Message Sentiment; Customer First Message Sentiment; Probability of making a sale.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Our main test measures the causal effect of consumer-side discrimination on worker productivity by regressing a daily measure of productivity for an individual chat agent, on an indicator for being assigned to a female name.
Experimental Design Details
Our hypothesis is that assignment to a female name will affect the agent's productivity compared to a male name.
Randomization Method
Randomization was done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
We randomize at the agent-by-day level.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
We work with a sales platform with 6 chat agents. We randomly assign each agent a female or male name on a daily basis.
Sample size: planned number of observations
We randomize 6 agents daily to male and female names across 10 months, resulting in 1800 units.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
We have approximately 900 units in treatment (female assigned name) and 900 units in control (male assigned name)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Oregon
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information


Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials