On CraigsList, Black Sellers Are Discriminated Against by Other Users

A study on CraigsList found that Black sellers are the least trusted on the ad site.

Posted: 06/11/2014 10:45 AM EDT
Black seller

Believe it or not, race still plays a major role in everyday interaction, and a recent study shows that it even extends to the E-commerce world, especially on CraigsList.

Economists Jennifer Doleac and Luke Stein conducted a one year study and found that sellers who were assumed to be Black are discriminated against by other users.

The test involved using fake advertisements to sell an iPod. Each advertisement had a photo with an iPod held by a black, white or tattooed hand. No other changes were made. The iPods were all identical, held in front of the same backgrounds, and the hand positioning was all similar.

The study revealed that iPod advertisements perceived to be posted by a Black seller were the least likely to receive a response or an offer.

For those that did interact with a Black seller, according to Doleac and Stein, "they are 17 percent less likely to include their name in e-mails, 44 percent less likely to accept delivery by mail, and 56 percent more likely to express concern about making a long-distance payment."

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