Planning to sell stuff on eBay? If you are a man, then go ahead and do it. Studies say men get paid more than women for the same kinds of product on the online market site.

Gender inequality is an issue that has long been prevalent in the United States and in other parts of the world. However, specific differences between product markets in relation to gender has not yet been investigated much.

A duo of Israeli researchers named Tamar Kricheli-Katz and Tali Regev delved into the behavior of both men and women sellers and buyers and its impact on market outcomes.

Online market platforms are the perfect places to do such research, however, being able to get accurate data for this study is not that easy. Fortunately, eBay opened its doors to the authors in 2014.

Focus On Gender

The researchers specifically wanted to find out if the perceived value of a product for sale may be determined by the gender of its seller.

First, they determined if buyers are aware of the seller's gender. Although buyers cannot reveal their genders on eBay as part of the website's policy, sellers can. This is why the researchers were able to have accurate information about the sellers' genders.

With this, the authors asked 400 buyers to guess the genders of 100 random eBay sellers. The buyers only had the username and the nature of the sellers' products as their guide to make the right guess.

Results show that buyers were able to guess 56 percent of the genders correctly, 35 percent were deemed unguessable and 9 percent were identified wrongly.

Focus On Product

Given that most people were able to successfully identify the gender of the seller, the researchers focused next on the products they sell.

The authors focused on the top 420 most popular products on the website from 2009-2012, 1.1 million transactions in total. One example that the authors used is the iPod. If iPods are sold by men at higher prices than women, then an unconscious gender bias is indeed present on the buyers' part.

It Pays To Be A Man On EBay

After analysis, the researchers found that women sellers received fewer bids and cheaper prices than men sellers for the same products. For new product transactions, a woman received approximately 80 cents for every dollar a man received. For used products, women received 97 cents.

These results still held true even after the researchers controlled the texts found on the sellers' listings.

While bias may be apparent, the researchers say that the type of product being sold may have an impact.

Reasons Behind

For the used products, the authors say potential buyers trust women sellers more than men when it comes to describing the quality of the product accurately.

For the large earnings gap with the new products, it may be because of the difference between the genders' description of their products. Men may use more positive terms in describing the products than women.

To check this, the researchers performed a computer analysis on the titles of the advertisements.

"The sentiment analysis showed that women and men sellers do, indeed, resort to different sentiments," says Kricheli-Katz. He adds, however, that the gap is relatively small.

The question now is, how do sellers close the gap? The authors suggest making the gender information of sellers less visible on eBay. However, the study cannot guarantee that that type of strategy will be effective.

The study was published in the journal Science Advances on Friday, Feb 19.

ⓒ 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.