Wednesday, February 27, 2019

When an NHL team has an opportunity to win a playoff series, there appears to be an advantage for visiting teams—not home teams—in winning an overtime game

A home advantage? Examining 100 years of team success in National Hockey League playoff overtime games. Desmond McEwan. Psychology of Sport and Exercise,

• Examination of team success in professional hockey (NHL) playoff overtime games.
• There was an away team advantage when they had a chance to win a playoff series.
• No home team advantage was found when they had a chance to win a series.
• Home and away teams were equally likely to win final games that went to overtime.

Objectives: To examine a potential home (dis)advantage in various types of playoff overtime games in the National Hockey League (NHL).

Design: Archival.

Method: Success rates for home and away teams in win-imminent overtime games (i.e., wherein a team has an opportunity to win the playoff series) were compared to their respective success in non-imminent overtime games (i.e., the outcome of the game does not determine the outcome of the series).

Results: When away teams had an opportunity to win a series, they were significantly more likely to win an overtime game compared to home teams. No such advantage was evident for home teams when they had an opportunity to win a series.

Conclusions: When an NHL team has an opportunity to win a playoff series, there appears to be an advantage for visiting teams—not home teams—in winning an overtime game.

Keywords: ChampionshipChokeClutchHome advantagePressureSelf-attention

Do Equal Employment Opportunity Statements Backfire?: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment on Job-Entry Decisions

Do Equal Employment Opportunity Statements Backfire?: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment on Job-Entry Decisions. Andreas Leibbrandt and John A. List. Cato Institute, February 27, 2019.

Sweeping changes in the 1960s potentially altered employment and lifetime opportunities in the United States in ways that were unprecedented and that transformed every aspect of the employer-employee relationship. In the past half century, for example, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) statements were added as a requirement in the Code of Federal Regulations, and nearly every U.S. employer has grappled with how to provide equal opportunities. Even with such policies and affirmative action programs in place, racial inequalities remain ubiquitous in labor markets. Relative to whites, blacks in the United States are twice as likely to be unemployed and earn 20 percent less or lower. A critic of EEO regulations might interpret such data patterns as stark evidence of a policy gone awry, whereas a supporter of EEO regulations might view such data under an optimistic lens, noting that such comparisons would be even more highly skewed absent the sweeping EEO policies enacted in the 20th century.

Rather than turning back the clock and examining how EEO regulations in totality have influenced labor-market patterns over the past several decades, we present initial insights into how an important element of EEO regulations affects labor markets today. In this sense, we aim to provide initial empirical evidence on how EEO statements currently affect racial minorities and their labor-market choices. Such an exercise is important for several reasons. First, several states and the U.S. federal government require EEO statements in job advertisements. Second, aside from these cases, employers have to decide whether they want to include an EEO statement in their job advertisement. Third, many public and private employers in the United States and elsewhere still use EEO statements in job advertisements. Fourth, there are broad recommendations and regulations surrounding their inclusion. Finally, because racial minorities remain disadvantaged in many labor markets, it is of utmost importance to evaluate common practices and policies that aim to reduce labor-market inequalities. To our best knowledge, causal estimates of actual EEO statements do not exist despite their pervasiveness and arguments that they could discourage minorities.

We use a large-scale natural field experiment aimed at exploring the causal impact of EEO statements in job advertisements to provide a first step into understanding the effects of EEO policy. To investigate how EEO statements affect the job-applicant pool, we advertise real jobs and investigate more than 2,300 job-entry decisions across various labor-market settings. Our working hypothesis is that EEO statements encourage minorities to apply for a job. Our experiment renders it possible to investigate interesting heterogeneities because we post the job advertisements in 10 large U.S. cities with substantially different racial compositions.

We find that EEO statements do affect job-entry decisions. However, the statement that all job applicants receive equal consideration irrespective of race leads to unexpected outcomes. In particular, we find that EEO statements discourage racial minorities from applying for jobs in important ways. Educated nonwhites are less likely to apply if the job description includes an EEO statement, and the discouragement effect is particularly pronounced in cities with white-majority populations. The impact of EEO statements on job applications from minorities is economically significant because their application likelihood drops by up to 30 percent.

To explore the underlying mechanism at work, we conduct complementary surveys with job seekers drawn from the same subject pool. We find that the inclusion of EEO statements significantly affects anticipated discrimination, stereotype threat, and tokenism. That is, we observe that the inclusion of the EEO statement in the studied job advertisements decreases the likelihood with which job seekers anticipate discrimination during hiring and career advancement and that it lowers stereotype threat. At the same time, however, we observe that the inclusion of the EEO statement significantly increases the perception of tokenism. This effect is particularly pronounced in cities with white-majority populations, where more than two thirds of job seekers believe that the inclusion of the EEO statement signals that there will be token hires.

Our survey findings augment the field experimental results and provide insights into the mechanism underlying the observed discouragement effect of EEO statements. They suggest that racial minorities prefer not to apply for jobs where there is a high likelihood that they are token hires. These tokenism concerns are so strong that they outweigh other desirable effects of EEO statements, such as lower anticipated discrimination and stereotype threat.

Combined with the insights from Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan and from Sonia Kang, Katherine DeCelles, AndrĂ¡s Tilcsik, and Sora Jun, who report that employers who use EEO statements are not less likely to discriminate against racial minorities, our findings paint a rather bleak picture of current EEO policies aimed to have a positive impact on minority labor-market representation. This does not imply that EEO statements have never had their intended effects, that EEO policies requiring the mandatory inclusion of EEO statements across the board cannot have their intended effects, or that differently formulated statements cannot have their intended effects. Rather, the results suggest that there is little support for the inclusion of standard EEO statements in job ads in today’s labor market and even evidence that important deleterious effects arise from such statements.

NOTE: This research brief is based on Andreas Leibbrandt and John A.List, “Do Equal Employment Opportunity Statements Backfire?Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment on Job-Entry Decisions,”NBER Working Paper No. 25035, September 2018,

Valuing Facebook: 'Superendowment effect' may be signalling that social media are Wasting Time Goods – goods on which people spend time, but for which they are not willing to pay much (if anything)

Valuing Facebook. Cass R Sunstein. Behavioural Public Policy, Feb 27 2019.

Abstract: In recent years, there has been a great deal of discussion of the welfare effects of digital goods, including social media. A national survey, designed to monetize the benefits of a variety of social media platforms (including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram), found a massive disparity between willingness to pay (WTP) and willingness to accept (WTA). The sheer magnitude of this disparity reflects a ‘superendowment effect’. Social media may be Wasting Time Goods – goods on which people spend time, but for which they are not, on reflection, willing to pay much (if anything). It is also possible that in the context of the WTP question, people are giving protest answers, signaling their intense opposition to being asked to pay for something that they had formerly enjoyed for free. Their answers may be expressive, rather than reflective of actual welfare effects. At the same time, the WTA measure may also be expressive, a different form of protest, telling us little about the actual effects of social media on people's lives and experiences. It may greatly overstate those effects. In this context, there may well be a sharp disparity between conventional economic measures and actual effects on experienced well-being.

Olfaction During Pregnancy and Postpartum Period: Did not differ compared to controls, although identified some odors less well than did the controls

Olfaction During Pregnancy and Postpartum Period. Marco Aurelio Fornazieri et al. Chemosensory Perception, Feb 27 2019.

Introduction: Studies of the effect of pregnancy on olfactory function are contradictory—some report reduced function, others hypersensitivity, and still others no change at all. Our objectives were to quantify olfactory function in women during gestational and puerperal periods, to compare the olfactory test scores to those of non-pregnant women, and to explore the potential influence of rhinitis on olfactory function during these periods.

Methods: We evaluated olfactory function in 206 women with and without rhinitis—47 in the first trimester of pregnancy, 33 in the second, 44 in the third, 32 in the postpartum period, and 50 who were non-pregnant. Olfactory assessment was performed using the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT) and ratings of the pleasantness and intensity of four common odors.

Results: Although total UPSIT scores did not differ among the study groups, pregnant and postpartum women identified some odors less well than did the controls. Pregnant women, especially in the first trimester, tended to consider some smells less pleasant. Rhinitis was adversely associated with the olfactory test scores of the pregnant and postpartum women.

Conclusions: The overall olfactory function of postpartum and pregnant women did not differ compared to controls; however, detection of some individual UPSIT items was adversely impacted (e.g., menthol, gingerbread, gasoline). Rhinitis was associated with reduced olfaction during pregnancy and puerperium.

Implications: These findings support the view that pregnancy-related alterations in smell are idiosyncratic, present only for some odorants, and may be impacted by the presence of rhinitis that commonly occurs during pregnancy.

Keywords: Olfaction disorders Smell Pregnancy Postpartum period Olfactory perception Rhinitis