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Male sellers on eBay paid more than women, study finds

Melanie Fodera, a senior at Albion College in Michigan, has been selling on eBay for about seven years. (Laura McDermott/The New York Times)

The gender pay gap persists in the weirdest of places: a new study published in Science Advances suggests that female sellers on eBay are paid less than their male counterparts. Looking at some 630,000 transactions, researchers found that when selling new items, women earned an average of 80 cents where men earned a full dollar when seller reputations were equal. The difference was a lot less pronounced for used items where comparison is more difficult, which saw women earning 97 cents on the dollar. In a separate experiment, the researchers offered to sell a $100 Amazon gift card and found that a card sold by “Brad” would be valued at $87.42, while the same card sold by “Alison” only brought in $83.34. While users on eBay are not required to disclose their gender, the researchers found that people were able to guess the gender of eBay sellers in more than half of the cases. “We actually think that most of it is unconscious,” said Tamar Kricheli-Katz, a professor of law and sociology at Tel Aviv University and one of the study’s authors. “The fact is that most of us have biases. We hold them unconsciously, and it makes it difficult to change.” A positive note for women in this study is that they generally had better seller reputations, even with less seller experience, and that for some items, such as toys or pet products, they would receive higher prices than men.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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