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Best columns: A decaf latte with a side of sexism

Now I know why I see few of my female coworkers at my local coffee joint, said Tim Harford in Slate.com.

A decaf latte with a side of sexism

Tim Harford Slate.com

Now I know why I see few of my female coworkers at my local coffee joint, said Tim Harford in Slate.com. “My female colleagues don’t go to coffee shops because they’re shabbily treated when they get there.” Economist Caitlin Knowles Myers recently measured how long it took men and women to be served at eight coffee shops in the Boston area. She found that men, on average, got their coffee 20 seconds earlier than women did. The pattern held true even when both men and women ordered “frou-frou drinks.” The delay disappeared only when the serving staff was all-female. “It is not clear whether women were held up by male staff because the men viewed them with contempt or because the male staff members were flirting furiously.” The contempt explanation seems more plausible, since the women’s extra wait actually increased during rush periods, when male servers were too busy to flirt. But women may not have to put up with this nonsense much longer. Economic theory holds that in a free market, competition eventually drives out discrimination. “Perhaps is it just a matter of time before some entrepreneur decides to set up a big chain of coffee shops with ‘no men allowed’ on the door.”

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