Fair Shots

Kevin Lewis

June 20, 2024

The Effect of National Origin and Skin Color on Playing Time in the WNBA
Nola Agha et al.
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

This article uses data from the 1997–2022 seasons to investigate the role of bias in the distribution of playing time in the WNBA. We evaluate national origin, a fixed and objective measure, and improve upon past uses of subjective, perception-based measures of race by using a more objective measure of skin tone. More specifically, via a fixed-effect estimation of 2,949 WNBA player-year combinations we find no evidence that the national origin of either players or coaches is related to the provision of playing time. Similarly, skin tone of players or coaches (n = 893), either alone or in combination with national origin, shows no robust significance. Evidence of national origin bias has previously been reported in professional men's basketball leagues in the U.S., Spain, and China. The WNBA may be demographically similar to the National Basketball Association, but it is culturally different and we find no evidence of employer discrimination.

Hiring Discrimination Under Pressures to Diversify: Gender, Race, and Diversity Commodification across Job Transitions in Software Engineering
Katherine Weisshaar, Koji Chavez & Tania Hutt
American Sociological Review, June 2024, Pages 584-613

White, male-dominated professions in the United States are marked with substantial gender and racial inequality in career advancement, yet they often face pressures to increase diversity. In these contexts, are theories of employer biases based on gender and racial stereotypes sufficient to explain patterns of hiring discrimination during common career transitions in the external labor market? If not, how and why do discrimination patterns deviate from predictions? Through a case study of software engineering, we first draw from a large-scale audit study and demonstrate unexpected patterns of hiring screening discrimination: while employers discriminate in favor of White men among early-career job applicants seeking lateral positions, for both early-career and senior workers applying to senior jobs, Black men and Black women face no discrimination compared to White men, and White women are preferred. Drawing on in-depth interviews, we explain these patterns of discrimination by demonstrating how decision-makers incorporate diversity value -- applicants’ perceived worth for their contribution to organizational diversity -- into hiring screening decisions, alongside biases. We introduce diversity commodification as the market-based valuative process by which diversity value varies across job level and intersectional groups. This article offers important implications for our understanding of gender, race, and employer decision-making in modern U.S. organizations.

Colorism Revisited: The Effects of Skin Color on Educational and Labor Market Outcomes in the United States
Mauricio Bucca
Sociological Science, June 2024

Studies of colorism -- the idea that racial hierarchies coexist with gradational inequalities based on skin color -- consistently find that darker skin correlates with lower socioeconomic outcomes. Despite the causal nature of this debate, evidence remains predominantly associational. This study revisits the colorism literature by proposing a causal model underlying these theories. It discusses conditions under which associations may reflect contemporary causal effects of skin color and evaluates strategies for identifying these effects. Using data from the AddHealth and NLSY97 surveys and applying two identification strategies, the study estimates the causal effects of skin color on college degree attainment, personal earnings, and family income among White, Black, and Hispanic populations in the United States. Results show that darker skin correlates with poorer educational and economic outcomes within racial groups. However, evidence of contemporary causal effects of skin color is partial, limited to college attainment of Whites and family income of Hispanics. For Blacks, results suggest a generalized penalty associated with being Black rather than gradation based on skin tone. Methodologically, the article advocates using sensitivity analyses to account for unobserved confounders in models for skin color effects and uses sibling fixed-effects as a secondary complementary strategy.

Who Authors Social Science? Demographics and the Production of Knowledge
Jeffrey Lockhart, Molly King & Christin Munsch
Social Currents, forthcoming

Author demographics are of key epistemic importance in science -- shaping the approaches to and contents of research -- especially in social scientific knowledge production, yet we know very little about who produces social scientific publications. We fielded an original demographic survey of nearly 20,000 sociology, economics, and communication authors in the Web of Science from 2016–2020. Our results include not only details about gender and race/ethnicity but also the first descriptive statistics on social science authors’ sexuality, disability, parental education, and employment characteristics. We find authorship in the social sciences looks very different from other measures of disciplinary membership like who holds PhDs or faculty positions. For example, half of the authors in each discipline’s journals say that they are not a member of the discipline in which they published. Moreover, social science authors are considerably less diverse than other measures of disciplinary membership. In sociology, women constitute a majority of PhDs, faculty, and American Sociological Association members; by contrast, men make up a majority of sociology’s authors. Additionally, we include a wide array of descriptive statistics across a range of demographic characteristics, which will be of interest to inequality scholars, science scholars, and social scientists engaged in diversifying their disciplines.

Disparate Teacher Effects, Comparative Advantage, and Match Quality
William Delgado
Boston University Working Paper, June 2023

Does student-teacher match quality exist? Prior work has documented large disparities in teachers' impacts across student types but has not distinguished between sorting and causal effects as the drivers of these disparities. I propose a disparate value-added model and derive a novel measure of teacher quality -- revealed comparative advantage -- that captures the degree to which teachers affect student outcome gaps. Quasi-experimental changes in teaching staff show that the comparative advantage measure accurately predicts teachers' disparate impacts: a teacher with a 1 standard deviation in revealed comparative advantage for black students increases black students' test scores by 1 standard deviation and has no effect on non-black students' test scores. Teacher removal and teacher-to-classroom re-allocation simulations show substantial efficiency and equity gains of considering teachers' comparative advantage.

Gender Promotion Gaps and Career Aspirations
Ghazala Azmat, Vicente Cuñat & Emeric Henry
Management Science, forthcoming

Using a representative survey of U.S. lawyers, we document a sizeable gender gap in early partnership aspirations, which explains half of the later gender promotion gap. We further document that the correlation between aspirations and effort provides a “mechanical link” between aspirations and promotion. Early workplace experiences, such as harassment and demeaning comments, are linked to promotion aspirations. Moreover, early aspirations provide insight into eventual promotion outcomes that goes beyond what can be drawn only from expectations. Our study highlights that measuring aspirations and adapting the corporate culture that shapes them are key components for firms to improve workplace environments.

Did Expanding Sports Opportunities for Women Reduce Crime? Evidence from a Natural Experiment
Drew McNichols, Joseph Sabia & Gokhan Kumpas
Journal of Human Resources, May 2024, Pages 810-851

Advocates of youth sports programs, including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, argue that athletic competition reduces crime among participants, thereby generating external social benefits. However, next to nothing is known about the impact of sports participation on crime. Using the introduction of Title IX as a natural experiment, we find that exposure to a ten percentage point higher female sports participation rate while in high school reduced adult female arrests for Part I offenses by approximately 0.5 arrests per 1,000 population. This result is consistent with sports participation-induced gains in educational attainment and labor market outcomes and suggests important external benefits of the 1972 educational amendments to Title IX.

Temporal Availability and Women Career Progression: Evidence from Cross-Time-Zone Acquisitions
Luisa Gagliardi, Myriam Mariani & Stefano Breschi
Organization Science, forthcoming

This study investigates whether an increase in the demand for nonconventional work schedules helps explain the gender gap in career advancement. We look at employees of U.S. firms acquired between 2010 and 2014 and distinguish between same and different time-zone acquisitions. The idea is that time-zone differences between the headquarters and the newly acquired firm increase the demand for and value of working outside the standard working schedule. This, combined with social norms about women’s role as caregivers, puts female employees at a disadvantage relative to men. Based on Zephyr-LinkedIn matched data, our results show that women are about 9.5% less likely than men to be promoted in cross-time-zone acquisitions than in same-time-zone acquisitions. The gap rises to 10.6% for managerial occupations, and it is higher for time-zone differences of two and three hours. We discuss the implications of our results for the management, evaluation, and retention of human capital in organizations and, more generally, for gender equality in the workplace.

Where are the Female Composers? Human Capital and Gender Inequality in Music History
Karol Borowiecki, Martin Hørlyk Kristensen & Marc Law
University of Southern Denmark Working Paper, May 2024

Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Frédéric Chopin are household names, but few will recognize Francesca Caccini, Elisabeth Lutyens or Amy M. Beach, who are among the top-10 female composers of all time. Why are female composers overshadowed by their male counterparts? Using novel data on over 17,000 composers who represent the entire history of western classical music, we conduct the first quantitative exploration of the gender gap among composers. We use the length of a composer's biographical entry in Grove Music Online to measure composer prominence, and shed light on the determinants of the gender gap with a focus on the development of composers' human capital through families, teachers, and institutionalized music education. The evidence suggests that parental musical background matters for composers' prominence, that the effects of teachers vary by the gender of the composer but the effects of parents do not, and while musician mothers and female teachers are important, they do not narrow the gender gap in composer prominence. We also find that the institutionalization of music education in conservatories increases the relative prominence of female composers.

Stretched Thin: How a Misalignment Between Allocation and Valuation Underlies the Paradox of Diversity Achievement in Higher Education
Tanya Tian & Edward Smith
Administrative Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Racial inequality is remarkably resilient in organizational and labor market contexts despite efforts to resolve it, which raises significant questions about the mechanisms underlying its persistence. We argue that organizational efforts that increase the inclusion of underrepresented racial groups in the short term may conceal an emergent mechanism that paradoxically results in exclusion over time. The emergent mechanism stems from an acute misalignment between the scope of allocation in the matching process and the scope of valuation in the evaluation process, which ultimately increases voluntary and involuntary turnover among underrepresented racial groups. We examine this paradox through a revelatory case in higher education. Drawing on comprehensive administrative and research performance data from a large (R1) U.S. public university, we find that Black assistant professors are significantly more likely than their White colleagues to be allocated to non-standard positions, i.e., formally appointed in two academic departments with shared compensation. Our results demonstrate that such non-standard appointments are associated with a significant decline in research productivity, which remains central during the evaluation process. The end result is that jointly appointed assistant professors—among whom Blacks are disproportionately represented—experience lower likelihoods of retention.


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