Sticker fever, discrimination, and informal street vendors Thesis

short description

  • Master's thesis

Thesis author

  • Zamora Riaño, Paula Ximena


  • Previous research has focused on discrimination that occurs in formal markets. However, discrimination in informal markets remains understudied. We conducted a field experiment to examine whether street vendors in Bogotá, Colombia exert price discrimination based on buyers' characteristics (gender and nationality), or product's characteristics (number of quoted items from a collection). We exploited the seasonal demand for a homogeneous good: album stickers of football players participating in the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018. We used a within-subjects design involving six experimenters acting as potential buyers. Each of them approached 59 street vendors located in five different geographic zones in Bogotá and asked for the prices of a list of the stickers needed to complete the collection. We find that prices quoted to Argentinians are higher than prices quoted to Colombians, even controlling for vendors' characteristics and geographic zones. By contrast, we do not find evidence supporting direct gender-based discrimination, neither that vendors charge a higher price per sticker when the list of missing stickers is shorter. We complement the study with a qualitative analysis based on interviews that reveal vendors' pricing strategies for rare stickers.

publication date

  • November 6, 2018 2:49 PM


  • Discrimination
  • Informality
  • Street vendors

Document Id

  • ecd09fc6-11da-4111-af8d-412a0f887439