Even on eBay Women Make Less Money Than Men

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Home of yet another pay gap.
Home of yet another pay gap.Photo: Matt Cardy

Yet another scientific study has come out examining a pay gap, and the findings, published in Science Advances, will be depressingly familiar to anyone who is a woman. If you’re female and selling stuff on eBay, particularly new items, you’ll get less money for it than male vendors hawking the same thing.

Researchers Tamar Kricheli-Katz and Tali Regev examined data for the 420 most popular products up for sale in the online market from 2009 to 2012. They also ran an experiment asking buyers to submit bids for a $100 Amazon gift card sold by a man and a woman. Their results turned up an average twenty percent disparity between male and female sellers in the prices paid for identical items. (Though eBay doesn’t share vendors’ sex, Kricheli-Katz and Regev found you could accurately guess it by username and products for sale.) Ironically, they also found that female sellers had better reputations, and their descriptions of items were deemed more trustworthy.

Not only are women vendors usually offered less money on average, the difference on specific products revealed a gender bias. Barbies (and, weirdly, pet food) netted women more cash, while men selling Nintendo Wiis, golf balls, and folding knives got staggeringly greater bids (270 percent more for that Wii). Score one for traditional gender norms!  

To put the cherry on top of the sad-research sundae, the gap in bidding persisted regardless of the gender of the buyer. Both men and women offered lower bids to vendors they could identify as female. C’mon, ladies, you’ve got to stick together. There’s a special place in hell for women who under-bid other women on eBay.