Thursday, November 08, 2007

Women Buying Cars

The post below provoked a thread with lots of comments about the way car dealers relate to female buyers. You might be interested to learn that a study was once done on this by using the audit method. This method pairs male and female actors (or people who are trained to act) who are given the same lines to say and the same information to express. These actors are then sent out separately in various random orders (and not necessarily on same days) to, say, car dealerships, to see whether they get the same treatment, on average.

The point of the audit study is to control for all other reasons which might explain why women tend to get worse deals on cars than simply their sex and how the dealers react to it. The study showed a considerable difference in the dealers' willingness to go down in price. Women did not get as low offers as men who acted the same did.

This study dates from the 1990s but I doubt anything has changed in this respect.