eBay is a platform for buying and selling goods, not services. eBay doesn’t explicitly list the seller’s gender. eBay sells both used and new products. eBay has seller ratings that should give buyers objective ways to choose sellers.
And yet somehow, products sold by women earn 80 cents on the dollar compared to identical products sold by men. What is going on?
A recent analysis of over 600,000 transactions on eBay from 2009 to 2012 finds that, controlling for everything else, buyers bid less and pay less for products sold by women, even though the gender of the seller isn’t listed. Female buyers do it too. The bias was largest for jewelry, watches, and gift cards.
Somehow, gender is so fundamental to how humans relate, that we can actually sniff out the gender of a seller based on how they list a product online. It’s in the subtle ways things are worded. It’s in the tiny differences in the photographs —in fact, women do statistically use fewer photos and have a higher starting price in their listings than men.
And sadly, our country and our culture is subconsciously biased to think that female buyers can be paid less than male buyers.
Image source: eBay.com