Up and Out

Kevin Lewis

June 25, 2020

The Long-Run Effects of School Racial Diversity on Political Identity
Stephen Billings, Eric Chyn & Kareem Haggag
NBER Working Paper, June 2020


How do early-life experiences shape political identity? In this paper, we study how a shock to the social lives of youth affected their party affiliation in adulthood. Specifically, we examine the end of race-based busing in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools (CMS), an event that led to large changes in school racial composition. Using linked administrative data, we compare party affiliation for students who had lived on opposite sides of newly drawn school boundaries. We find that a 10-percentage point increase in the share of minorities in a student's assigned school decreased their likelihood of registering as a Republican by 8.8 percent. Consistent with the contact hypothesis, this impact is entirely driven by white students (a 12 percent decrease). This effect size is roughly 16 percent of the correlation between parents and their children's party affiliations. Finally, consistent with this change reflecting underlying partisan identity, we find no significant effect on voter registration likelihood. Together these results suggest that schools in childhood play an important role in shaping partisanship.

Gendered White Lies: Women Are Given Inflated Performance Feedback Compared With Men
Lily Jampol & Vivian Zayas
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming


Are underperforming women given less truthful, but kinder performance feedback ("white lies") compared with equally underperforming men? We test this hypothesis by using a "benchmark" of truthful (objective) evaluation of performance and then either manipulating (Study 1) or measuring (Study 2) the extent to which the feedback given to women is upwardly distorted. In Study 1, participants were asked to guess the gender of an underperforming employee who had been given more or less truthful feedback. Participants overwhelmingly assumed that employees who had been told "white lies" were more likely to be women. In Study 2, in a naturalistic feedback paradigm, participants gave both quantitative and qualitative feedback to a male and a female writer directly. Participants upwardly distorted their original, gender-blind, quantitative evaluations of women's work and gave more positive comments to women. The findings suggest that women may not receive the same quality of feedback as men.

Prior Problem Behaviors Do Not Account for the Racial Suspension Gap
Francis Huang
Educational Researcher, forthcoming


At the end of 2018, Obama-era disciplinary guidance aimed at reducing the use of suspensions in schools (especially for minorities and students with disabilities) was revoked by the U.S. Department of Education. A key piece of research supporting the decision was based on the analyses of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (ECLS-K), which showed that the racial suspension gap was not really about race but resulted from the differential behavior exhibited by Black and White students. We reanalyzed the public-use ECLS-K and provide syntax for our analyses to show that the findings were primarily due to sample selection bias. Several alternative model specifications were tested and continued to show the persistence of the race-based suspension gaps regardless of model or measure used.

Men Do Not Rule the World of Tanks: Negating the Gender-Performance Gap in a Spatial-Action Game by Controlling for Time Played
Rabindra Ratan, Cuihua Shen & Dmitri Williams
American Behavioral Scientist, June 2020, Pages 1031-1043


The present research addresses the stereotype that women and girls lack the ability to succeed compared to men and boys in video games. Previous lab-based research has found that playing spatial-action video games potentially reduces the gender gap in spatial-thinking skills, while previous field studies of less spatially oriented online games have found that the perceived gender-performance gap actually results from the amount of previous gameplay time, which is confounded with gender. Extending both lines of research, the present field study examines player performance in a spatial-action game, the vehicle-based shooter World of Tanks. Results from 3,280 players suggest that women appear to accrue fewer experience points per match than men, signaling lower performance ability, but that when the amount of previous gameplay time is statistically controlled, this gender difference is negated. These results lend support to the claim that playing video games - even spatial-action games - diminishes the gender-performance gap, which is potentially useful for promoting gender equity in STEM fields.

Controlling for openness in the male-dominated collaborative networks of the global film industry
Deb Verhoeven et al.
PLoS ONE, June 2020


Studies of gender inequality in film industries have noted the persistence of male domination in creative roles (usually defined as director, producer, writer) and the slow pace of reform. Typical policy remedies are premised on aggregate counts of women as a proportion of overall industry participation. Network science offers an alternative way of identifying and proposing change mechanisms, as it puts emphasis on relationships instead of individuals. Preliminary work on applying network analysis to understand inequality in the film industry has been undertaken. However, in this study we offer a comprehensive approach that enables us to not only understand what inequality in the film industry looks like through the lens of network science but also how we can attempt to address this issue. We offer a data-driven simulation framework that investigates various what-if scenarios when it comes to network evolution. We then assess each of these scenarios with respect to its potential to address gender inequality in the film industry. As suggested by previous studies, inequality is exacerbated when industry networks are most closed. We review evidence from three different national film industries on network relationships in creative teams and identify a high proportion of men who only work with other men. In response to this observation, we test several mechanisms through which industry structures may generate higher levels of openness. Our results reveal that the most critical factor for improving network openness is not simply the statistical improvement of the number of women in a network, nor the removal of men who do not work with women. The most likely behavioural changes to a network will involve the production of connections between women and powerful men.

Penalized for Personality: A Case Study of Asian-Origin Disadvantage at the Point of Hire
Koji Chavez
Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, forthcoming


Do employers penalize Asian-origin workers for personality-related reasons during real hiring decisions? Current theoretical approaches - the Model Minority Myth perspective and the Heterogeneity approach - provide conflicting predictions as to the nature of an Asian-origin personality penalty, if one exists. Furthermore, evidence of an Asian-origin personality penalty is typically derived from laboratory experiments based on evaluation of fictitious material rather than from real hiring decisions based on face-to-face interviews and hiring deliberations. To fill the empirical gap and resolve theoretical tension, I provide evidence of an Asian-origin personality penalty from a case study of hiring at a Silicon Valley high-technology firm. Drawing from quantitative and qualitative data, I demonstrate how the firm's decision makers penalize Asian-origin job candidates during hiring decisions for their judged personality traits in a way that does not fully coincide with either theoretical approach, and I propose a theoretical model to describe the personality "content" of the Asian-origin personality penalty as it occurs in real hiring decisions.

What Explains Racial/Ethnic Inequality in Job Quality in the Service Sector?
Adam Storer, Daniel Schneider & Kristen Harknett
American Sociological Review, forthcoming


Precarious work in the United States is defined by economic and temporal dimensions. A large literature documents the extent of low wages and limited fringe benefits, but research has only recently examined the prevalence and consequences of unstable and unpredictable work schedules. Yet practices such as on-call shifts, last minute cancellations, and insufficient work hours are common in the retail and food-service sectors. Little research has examined racial/ethnic inequality in this temporal dimension of job quality, yet precarious scheduling practices may be a significant, if mostly hidden, site for racial/ethnic inequality, because scheduling practices differ significantly between firms and because front-line managers have substantial discretion in scheduling. We draw on innovative matched employer-employee data from The Shift Project to estimate racial/ethnic gaps in these temporal dimensions of job quality and to examine the contribution of firm-level sorting and intra-organizational dynamics to these gaps. We find significant racial/ethnic gaps in exposure to precarious scheduling that disadvantage non-white workers. We provide novel evidence that both firm segregation and racial discordance between workers and managers play significant roles in explaining racial/ethnic gaps in job quality. Notably, we find that racial/ethnic gaps are larger for women than for men.

Is School Racial/Ethnic Composition Associated With Content Coverage in Algebra?
Karisma Morton & Catherine Riegle-Crumb
Educational Researcher, forthcoming


This brief utilizes data from the U.S. Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study of 2011 (TIMSS) to investigate the extent to which teacher reports of content coverage in eighth grade algebra classes vary according to school racial/ethnic composition. The analytic sample is comprised of eighth grade algebra classrooms in 111 schools across the country, with 9 schools that are predominantly Black, 20 schools that are predominantly Latinx, and 82 schools that are not predominantly minority. Results of regression analyses reveal that, net of school, teacher, and student characteristics, the time that teachers report spending on algebra and more advanced content in eighth grade algebra classes is significantly lower in schools that are predominantly Black compared to those that are not predominantly minority. Implications for future research are discussed.

Let's choose one of each: Using the partition dependence effect to increase diversity in organizations
Zhiyu Feng et al.
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, May 2020, Pages 11-26


When employers make hiring decisions, they often pass over highly qualified candidates belonging to minority groups. This research identified a choice-architecture intervention to nudge people to select more diverse candidates. Partitioning job candidates by gender (Study 1), nationality (Study 2), or university (Study 3) led people to choose more diverse candidates on the partitioned dimension, without lowering the average competence of the selected candidates (Studies 5A and 5B). Even experienced human resource professionals exhibited this effect (Study 3). Merely informing people that the candidates belong to different categories did not increase diversity (Study 4). The effect of partitioning was stronger among people who had weaker stereotypes about the relevant category (Study 6). When choosing a single candidate, people were more likely to choose candidates who were not partitioned together than candidates who were partitioned together (Study 7). Overall, we identify a nudge that can increase diversity in hiring.

Pipeline Dreams: Occupational Plans and Gender Differences in STEM Major Persistence and Completion
Kim Weeden, Dafna Gelbgiser & Stephen Morgan
Sociology of Education, forthcoming


In the United States, women are more likely than men to enter and complete college, but they remain underrepresented among baccalaureates in science-related majors. We show that in a cohort of college entrants who graduated from high school in 2004, men were more than twice as likely as women to complete baccalaureate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, including premed fields, and more likely to persist in STEM/biomed after entering these majors by sophomore year. Conversely, women were more than twice as likely as men to earn baccalaureates in a health field, although persistence in health was low for both genders. We show that gender gaps in high school academic achievement, self-assessed math ability, and family-work orientation are only weakly associated with gender gaps in STEM completion and persistence. Gender differences in occupational plans, by contrast, are strongly associated with gender gaps in STEM outcomes, even in models that assume plans are endogenous to academic achievement, self-assessed math ability, and family-work orientation. These results can inform efforts to mitigate gender gaps in STEM attainment.

Employment Discrimination against Indigenous Peoples in the United States: Evidence from a Field Experiment
Patrick Button & Brigham Walker
Labour Economics, forthcoming


We conducted an audit study - a resume correspondence experiment - to measure discrimination in hiring faced by Indigenous Peoples in the United States (Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians). We sent employers 13,516 realistic resumes of Indigenous or white applications for common jobs in 11 cities. We signalled Indigenous status in one of four different ways. Interview offer rates do not differ by race, which holds after an extensive battery of robustness checks. We discuss multiple concerns such as the saliency of signals, selection of cities and occupations, and labour market tightness that could affect the results of our audit study and those of others. We also conduct decompositions of wages, unemployment rates, unemployment durations, and employment durations to explore if discrimination might exist in contexts outside our experiment. We conclude by highlighting the essential tests and considerations that are important for future audit studies, regardless of if they find discrimination or not.

Gender Test Score Gaps Under Equal Behavioral Engagement
Jaymes Pyne
Educational Researcher, forthcoming


Girls tend to do better than boys academically, in part because they are more engaged in school. What if they weren't? Using nationally representative data, I examine how equal starting points and trajectories of behavioral engagement in elementary school could change gender test score gaps. I find that equal engagement patterns could entirely reverse girls' average leads over boys in fifth-grade reading test score achievement and could more than triple the average math test score gender gap currently favoring boys. These findings call into question narratives about favoritism towards girls in schools, instead highlighting educational advantages boys may enjoy despite being typically far less engaged in school than girls.

Colorblind and Multicultural Diversity Strategies Create Identity Management Pressure
Teri Kirby, Marco Silva Rego & Cheryl Kaiser European
Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming


Colorblind and multicultural diversity strategies may create identity management pressure , leading minorities to assert or distance from their racial identity. In two experiments (N = 307, 279), Asian participants in the US completed racial identification measures, contemplated employment at a company expressing a multicultural, colorblind, or control strategy, and completed measures assessing ingroup similarity and comfort in the company. In the colorblind condition, those strongly identified with their racial ingroup downplayed similarity to the ingroup and expressed less comfort relative to multicultural and control conditions. Those weakly identified reported more similarity (but inconsistently) and more comfort in the colorblind relative to multicultural and control conditions. Thus, diversity strategies convey different meanings to strongly and weakly identified Asians, with the former responding to colorblindness with identity distancing and the latter with identity assertion. Multiculturalism does not alter the typical pattern expected, with strongly identified asserting their identity more than weakly identified.


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