Decision Science Digest: December 21, 2023

BALTIMORE, MD, December 21, 2023 –

EDITOR’S NOTE: Decision Science Digest is a periodic communique highlighting recent peer-reviewed research published by INFORMS, the largest association for the decision and data sciences, across its 17 journals. This issue highlights four press releases based on the findings of new peer-reviewed articles.

  • New Research Finds Telework During Disasters Reduced Workplace Gender Inequality (INFORMS journal Information Systems Research)
  • Finding a Solution for Nurse Turnover Rates at Aging Facilities, How its Leading to Better Quality and Cost of Elder Care (INFORMS journal Manufacturing & Service Operations Management)
  • The Cost of Midyear School Assessments, Do Bonuses Help Incentivize Everyone Involved? (INFORMS journal Management Science)
  • A Bike and Robot Working Together—Researchers Say it Could Be the Key to More Efficient E-commerce Deliveries (INFORMS journal Transportation Science)

Reducing Gender Inequality with Telework: New Research Says Disasters Benefit Women at Work

Disasters usually induce sudden changes to the work and home environment; we saw this during the COVID-19 pandemic. What the pandemic also showed was that these changes tend to exceedingly impact female workers because they often shoulder more childcare and/or household responsibilities leading to increased gender inequality during disasters. New research in the INFORMS journal Information Systems Research looks at how telework can impact this. The researchers find that female worker telework adjustment rate is more responsive to external constraints and is 7% higher than that of male workers. Telework adjustment also helps reduce gender inequality in labor market outcomes in two ways: First, higher telework adjustment rate among female workers helps reduce gender inequality by 25.48%, and second, the stronger marginal effect of telework adjustment on female workers reduces gender inequality by 31.94%. These results can be applied to other disasters or disruptions as well. Link to full article.

Bringing an End to Nursing Facility Employee Turnover Rates: New Research Finds a Solution That Improves Quality and Cost of Care

High employee turnover rates in long-term nursing facilities exacerbate an already existing shortage of caregivers, a trend that will only worsen as the U.S. population ages. New research in the INFORMS journal Manufacturing & Service Operations Management finds that managers may be able to leverage part-time certified nursing assistant (CNA) scheduling to reduce turnover, improving both the quality and cost of care. The researchers looked at data from one of the nation’s largest nursing home organizations. They found that as hours worked increase, turnover first decreases and then increases, demonstrating a nonlinear relationship between hours worked and turnover. They also found that high co-worker variability increases turnover while also moderating the effects of hours worked on turnover. High CNA turnover has negative impacts on patient health. This problem can be mitigated if managers can reduce CNA turnover by increasing hours worked, consistently scheduling co-workers together and doing both simultaneously. Link to full article.

The Impact and Cost of Midyear School Assessments, Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?

U.S. K-12 school districts that traditionally utilized ongoing “formative” assessments of student progress increasingly rely on additional midyear assessments to predict student performance on standardized tests. Some districts are even experimenting with merit-based teacher bonuses tied to standardized test scores. New research in the INFORMS journal Management Science looks at the relationship between interim assessments and teacher bonuses. The researchers found that despite the popularity of interim assessments, their usefulness is far from guaranteed. They say the accuracy promised by these assessments is a double-edged sword: Positive midyear results can make it easier to incentivize second-period teacher effort, but negative results can have a demotivating effect. They found that even when an interim assessment does result in a higher probability of the school ending the year in the proficient state, the resulting higher expected costs of merit-based bonuses for the district may exceed the available budget. Meaning, even a free interim assessment might be too expensive for the school district. Link to full article.

Streamlining E-commerce Deliveries by Utilizing a Cargo Bike and Self-Driving Robot, Together!

Online e-commerce giants are always trying to come up with innovative ways to improve last-mile deliveries. New research in the INFORMS journal Transportation Science looks at using a cargo bike aided by a self-driving robot to deliver packages to customers in urban areas. The results show that this method could be effective! The algorithm solved 60 delivery scenarios in 10 minutes of computing time. The researchers say the key is in having the bike and robot work in tandem, rather than assigning all deliveries to the bike alone.  Link to full article.




As the largest professional association for the data and decision sciences, INFORMS members leverage mathematics and scientific methodologies to help organizations and governments at all levels make better, data-driven decisions. With more than 12,000 professional and student members from around the world, INFORMS members work to transform data into information, and information into insights that save lives, save money and solve problems.



Ashley Smith


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Decision Science Digest: December 21, 2023

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Ashley Smith
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Catonsville, MD
[email protected]

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