Gender discrimination in online marketplaces

Last registered on May 09, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Gender discrimination in online marketplaces
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0009049
Initial registration date
May 09, 2022

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
May 09, 2022, 8:28 PM EDT

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

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Iowa State University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Sewanee: the University of the South
PI Affiliation
Lahore University of Management Sciences

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2022-01-01
End date
2022-12-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
We conduct an audit of an online marketplace in a typical patriarchal context of Pakistan and do an experimental evaluation to measure gender bias. Based on a repeated weekly census of listings on the marketplace, we select sellers who regularly sell on the marketplace and contact these sellers through buyer profiles that unambiguously signal gender without revealing caste, ethnicity, or other economic markers. Each seller is contacted twice, once by each gender, following carefully crafted and pre-determined bargaining scripts. We record and analyze economic variables such as offered prices, delivery discounts, and product characteristics for each gender. In addition, we record any unsolicited attempts from sellers at communicating with each gender, such as messages, phone calls, friend requests, etc. We also analyze differences in the tone and feel of the sellers’ language through speech analysis and natural language processing. Our paper presents unique evidence on not just gender discrimination in prices and product characteristics but also on other facets of online interactions that may be a hurdle in the inclusion of women in the online marketplaces of patriarchal societies such as Pakistan.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Ahmad, Husnain, Sher Afghan Asad and Hadia Majid. 2022. "Gender discrimination in online marketplaces." AEA RCT Registry. May 09. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9049
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
This is a correspondence study where the intervention is a gendered (male or female) buyer profile with which correspondence is made.
Intervention Start Date
2022-05-10
Intervention End Date
2022-07-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Prices (including delivery charges), product quality, unsolicited communication attempts, tone of messages
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Product quality will be determined by examining the received products and recording the observable differences in product characteristics for each gender.
Unsolicited communication attempts include messages, phone calls, friend requests, etc.
The tone of messages will be evaluated using language processing programs and/or subjecting the texts to categorization by humans.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Delivery time, length of the bargaining process, and heterogeneity by sellers' characteristics.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We conduct an audit of an online marketplace in Pakistan and do an experimental evaluation to measure gender bias. Based on a repeated weekly census of posts on the marketplace, we select sellers who regularly sell on the marketplace and contact these sellers through buyer profiles that unambiguously signal gender without revealing caste, ethnicity, or other economic markers. Each seller is contacted twice, once by each gender, following carefully crafted and pre-determined bargaining scripts.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Done by a computer
Randomization Unit
A randomly selected seller is assigned to a male profile and a female profile in random order.
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
200 sellers, each contacted twice giving 400 transactions
Sample size: planned number of observations
400 transactions
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
200 sellers assigned to male profiles
200 sellers assigned to female profiles
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
We design our experiment to detect a difference in prices between males and females of 0.25 standard deviations.
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
2022-03-25
IRB Approval Number
LUMS-IRB/033112021/SAA-FWA-00019408