More Meat for Boys: Evidence and Perceptions of Discrimination in Restaurants
Abstract: We present a natural field experiment designed to examine price discrimination in retail markets. This is done by examining portion sizes served in British Carvery Restaurants. Carvery restaurants serve traditional roast dinners, and are characterised by the manner in which customers are served: a single chef serves every customer individually and, under observation, cuts them a portion of meat from a roasted joint. We employed 147 testers to pose as diners, each of which paid the same price for the meal. We find systematic variations in served meat quantities that correlate with the testers’ gender, with men receiving significantly more meat than women. The gender disparity in portion sizes is robust to controlling for a range of appearance and physical characteristics, and cannot be explained by women taking more vegetables or wasting more food than men. Evidence from a complementary framed-field experiments highlights how both women and men are negatively affected by this gender disparity.
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Keywords: discrimination, Field Experiments, gender