2014 Fall - Law 216

Event Title

Eighty Cents for a Dollar: Women and Men in Product Markets, Evidence from eBay

Start Date

10-11-2014 12:15 PM

End Date

10-11-2014 1:55 PM

Description

Abstract:

Gender inequality in contemporary U.S. society is a well-known, widespread phenomenon. Little is known, however, about gender disparities in product markets. This study is the first to use actual market data to study the behavior of women and men as sellers and buyers and differences in market outcomes. We analyze a unique and large dataset containing all eBay auction transactions of bestselling products by private sellers between the years 2009 and 2012. Women sellers received a smaller number of bids and lower final prices than did equally qualified men sellers of the exact same product. These findings held even after controlling for the sentiments that appear in the text of the sellers' listings. As a policy, eBay does not reveal the gender of users. We present results from an experiment that shows that people accurately identify it. We supplement the analysis with an additional experiment showing that in a controlled setting people are willing to pay less for money-value gift cards when they are sold by women rather than men.

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Nov 10th, 12:15 PM Nov 10th, 1:55 PM

Eighty Cents for a Dollar: Women and Men in Product Markets, Evidence from eBay

Abstract:

Gender inequality in contemporary U.S. society is a well-known, widespread phenomenon. Little is known, however, about gender disparities in product markets. This study is the first to use actual market data to study the behavior of women and men as sellers and buyers and differences in market outcomes. We analyze a unique and large dataset containing all eBay auction transactions of bestselling products by private sellers between the years 2009 and 2012. Women sellers received a smaller number of bids and lower final prices than did equally qualified men sellers of the exact same product. These findings held even after controlling for the sentiments that appear in the text of the sellers' listings. As a policy, eBay does not reveal the gender of users. We present results from an experiment that shows that people accurately identify it. We supplement the analysis with an additional experiment showing that in a controlled setting people are willing to pay less for money-value gift cards when they are sold by women rather than men.