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Does the internet level the playing field? Gender and on-line car quotes


This study investigated whether the Internet reduced gender bias in U.S. car price quotes. Previous research has shown that when buying identical cars, women were often quoted significantly higher prices than their male counterparts in traditional on-site transactions. A sample of 114 California car dealership websites was used to examine if gender bias persisted in the online sales channels. Price quotes were requested online by one male and one female persona whose demographic profiles differed only by gender. While no statistically significant difference in the price offered to the male and female was found, the female persona received more price quotes, and a lower average price than the male. These results suggest that when females are in the car buying market, utilizing the Internet can result in more equitable pricing. This not only informs e-commerce pricing and theory development, but consumers and industry representatives interested in internet sales.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jill L. Robinson.

Additional information

Responsible editor: Stefan Klein



Car Salesperson Interview Questions

Car Dealership:

Phone Number:

Date called:


How many people are in your internet sales department?

How much of the total sales of the dealership are done through the internet department?

How many requests for price quotes do you get a day? A week?

How do you receive submitted emails? Personally? Through a filter system?

How do you decide who in the department takes which requests?

How do you calculate the price quote? Is it a computer system? Do you figure it out yourself based on the cars on the lot?

How many people you give price quotes to come into the dealership?

What growth have you seen in internet sales in the past three years?

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Robinson, J.L., LeComte-Hinely, J.R. Does the internet level the playing field? Gender and on-line car quotes. Electron Markets 22, 185–194 (2012).

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  • E-commerce
  • Gender discrimination
  • Online marketing
  • Internet sales

JEL classification

  • D22
  • D63
  • L62