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Fair Driving: Gender and Race Discrimination in Retail Car Negotiations

Ian Ayres
Harvard Law Review
Vol. 104, No. 4 (Feb., 1991), pp. 817-872
DOI: 10.2307/1341506
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1341506
Page Count: 56
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Fair Driving: Gender and Race Discrimination in Retail Car Negotiations
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Abstract

The struggle to eradicate discrimination on the basis of race and gender has a long history in American law. Based on the widely held belief that such discrimination will occur only in markets in which racial or gender animus distorts competition, regulatory efforts have been limited to areas in which interpersonal relations are significant and ongoing, such as housing and employment. In this Article, Professor Ayres offers empirical evidence that seriously challenges faith in the ability of competitive market forces to eliminate racial and gender discrimination in other markets. His Chicago-based research demonstrates that retail car dealerships systematically offered substantially better prices on identical cars to white men than they did to blacks and women. Professor Ayres details the nature and startling degree of the discrimination his testers encountered and evaluates various theoretical explanations for their disparate treatment. Based on his conclusions, Professor Ayres explores routes by which "fair driving" plaintiffs might bring suits against dealerships and mechanisms through which regulators might effectively rid the retail car market of such discrimination.

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