Status in markets

Sheryl Ball, Catherine Eckel, Philip J. Grossman, William Zame

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

197 Citations (Scopus)


This project tests for the effect of social status in a laboratory experimental market. We consider a special "box design" market in which a vertical overlap in supply and demand ensure that there are multiple equilibrium prices. We manipulate the relative social status of our subjects by awarding high status to a subset of the group based on one of two procedures. In the first, a subject's score on a trivia quiz determines his or her status; in another, subjects are assigned randomly to a higher-status or lower-status group. In both treatments we find that average prices are higher in markets where higher-status sellers face lower-status buyers, and lower when buyers have higher status than sellers. Across all sessions, the higher-status side of the market captures a greater share of the surplus, earning significantly more than their lower-status counterparts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-188
Number of pages28
JournalThe Quarterly Journal of Economics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001

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