Decision Science Digest: February 27, 2024

BALTIMORE, MD, February 27, 2024 –

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 Silver Lining in Virtual Learning During COVID-19, The Importance of Online Student Engagement (INFORMS journal INFORMS Transactions on Education)
  • The Impact of User-Generated Content on Video Streaming Platforms  New Artists Win, At the Expense of Established Artists (INFORMS journal Marketing Science)
  • New Research Shows Investors Respond Meaningfully to CEO Activism (INFORMS journal Management Science)
  • Fighting Inequities in School Resources  Why Research Shows Nonprofits Working with U.S. Public Schools Could Unknowingly Be Part of the Problem (INFORMS journal Management Science)

Not all Bad! The Value of Online Student Engagement Learned from Virtual Schooling During the COVID-19 Pandemic 

The COVID-19 pandemic forever changed how students learn. Most of the world moved to online-only learning during the pandemic. Now, new research in the INFORMS journal INFORMS Transactions on Education shows that online social presence as an element of student engagement is incredibly valuable and an important learning tool. Online social presence can be seen in the form of online collaboration, online contact with staff, online engagement and online active learning activities. The researchers that led the study, “How Has COVID-19 Pandemic Affected Students’ Social Presence?” found that all these activities have a significant positive relationship with online social presence. In particular, online social interaction and collaboration show a more powerful relationship with student online social presence. The researchers insist digital technologies should be adopted in a way that encourages students to actively interact with their peers. Link to full article.

User-Generated Content on Video Streaming Platforms Helps Lesser Known Artists, at the Expense of Top Artists

New research in the INFORMS journal Marketing Science finds that the availability of free music on user-generated content (UGC) platforms, like YouTube, helps less-popular songs increase their reach on other platforms like Spotify, whereas recent hit releases and content from the most popular top artists lose out. The study, “The Interplay of User-Generated Content, Content Industry Revenues, and Platform Regulation: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from YouTube,” shows interesting implications for the potential regulation of platforms. If regulation makes it easier to share UGC videos, small artists will benefit. If regulations restrict sharing, this may likely hurt smaller artists, making demand and streams on markets unequally distributed. All in all, this finding means that although the average effect on demand may only be moderate, it masks that some artists gain and others lose. Link to full article.

Understanding the Impact of Activism by CEOs: When It Benefits the Company and Why

CEO (and corporate) activism is becoming more common, but some instances have been met with widespread boycotts. New research in the INFORMS journal Management Science seeks to understand the causes and consequences of CEO and corporate activism. In the study, “CEO Activism and Firm Value,” the researchers find that investors react positively to CEO activism on topics related to diversity, but they do not react positively when CEOs engage in politically oriented activism. CEO activism results in positive stock market reactions, which appear to be driven by investors with a greater liberal leaning who rebalance their portfolios toward the firms with activist CEOs. These results suggest that investors’ sociopolitical preferences are an important channel through which CEO activism affects equity demand and stock prices. Link to full article.

New Research Finds Nonprofit Organizations Working with U.S. Public Schools may be Maintaining, Even Exacerbating, Educational Inequities

Policymakers and leaders encourage principals and teachers at poorer schools to partner with nonprofit organizations to enrich the school’s educational opportunities so they are closer to what is available for students at wealthier schools. The problem is, however, new research from the INFORMS journal Management Science shows wealthier schools work with nonprofit organizations, too. In fact, socioeconomic advantages at wealthier schools, particularly better connected and wealthier parents, make these schools very effective at working with many nonprofit organizations. This is also because nonprofit organizations have funding/provision models that unwittingly make it harder for poorer schools to get and maintain their resources. The study, “Little’s Law and Educational Inequality: A Comparative Case Study of Teacher Workaround Productivity,” finds that although a single nonprofit organization provides more benefit to poorer schools than wealthier ones, wealthier schools can maintain more nonprofit relationships. Because of this, wealthier schools receive more benefits overall. Essentially, and unknowingly, this is how nonprofit organizations can come to maintain – even exacerbate – inequities, even as they “do good.” 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: February 27, 2024

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Ashley Smith
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Catonsville, MD
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