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Gender Bias & Online Sales

February 22, 2016

Buyers shell out a lot less in online auctions when the seller is female.



Is online shopping biased? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

When bidding in online auctions, the gender of the seller is irrelevant, right? Wrong, according to a new study in Science Advances. Researchers in Israel analyzed every transaction for over 400 of the most popular products sold on eBay over a 4-year period. They found that female sellers received fewer bids and commanded only 80 cents for every dollar that a male seller made on identical items, even though women had better online reputations. Sociologist Tamar Kricheli-Katz of Tel-Aviv University thinks the findings reflect larger economic disparities between the genders in society.

TAMAR KRICHELI-KATZ (Tel-Aviv University):

But there was a lot of variation across products, so for example, when women were selling toys and dolls, the gaps were smaller or even did not exist.


The team also found that women buyers pay more than men for identical products. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.