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Michael Luca | Black Ownership Matters: Does Revealing Race Increase Demand for Minority-Owned Businesses?

Michael Luca | Black Ownership Matters: Does Revealing Race Increase Demand for Minority-Owned Businesses?
March 6, 2023
Hybrid event
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Michael Luca of Harvard Business School joined us on Monday, March 6, 2023, for his talk, “Black Ownership Matters: Does Revealing Race Increase Demand for Minority-Owned Businesses?”

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Is there consumer demand to support Black-owned businesses? To explore, we investigate the impact of a new feature on a large online platform that made the race of a set of Black business owners salient to customers. We find that this feature substantially increased demand for Black-owned businesses—in the form of more calls to the restaurant, more delivery orders, and—using cell phone data from a different platform—more in-person visits to the restaurant. Relative to previous customers, new customers to Black-owned businesses were more likely to be White customers—suggesting demand among White restaurant goers to support Black-owned businesses. Accordingly, the gains for Black-owned businesses were larger in predominately white, Democratic-leaning areas, with less racial bias, as measured by implicit association tests.

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About Michael Luca

Michael Luca

Michael Luca is the Lee J. Styslinger III Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and a faculty research fellow at the NBER. Professor Luca’s research, teaching, and advisory work focuses on the design of online platforms, and on the ways in which data can inform managerial and policy decisions. His research has been published in academic journals including the Journal of Economic Perspectives, Management Science, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, American Economic Review: Papers and Proceeding, the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, and the American Economic Journal: Microeconomics. He has also written about behavioral economics and online platforms for media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Wired, and Slate. His research has been written about in a variety of media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New Yorker, Atlantic, Economist, Washington Post, Financial Times, Guardian, Huffington Post, Harvard Business Review, Time, USA Today, Boston Globe, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Fortune, Mashable, GQ, Wired, and Vox.

At Harvard, Professor Luca developed and teaches an MBA course called Data Driven Leadership. He has taught and developed materials for executive education and MBA courses on business analytics, behavioral economics, and leadership.  

Professor Luca’s current and past advisory roles include Board Member of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE), Academic Advisory Board Member of the Behavioural Insights Team, Advisory Board Member for the OECD Digital for SMEs Global Initiative, and Advisory Board Member for the CNBC Technology Executive Council.  

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