Decision Science Digest: October 10, 2023

BALTIMORE, MD, October 10, 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.

  • Countering Government Persuasion Attempts on Facebook: The Efforts to Educate Consumers (INFORMS journal Information Systems Research)
  • Pre-Storm Stock Out: Weather Events Force Consumers to Purchase What’s Available, But do the Decisions Stick Long-term? (INFORMS journal Marketing Science)
  • Secret Grades: Students Not Told Their Class Grades Take Harder Classes (INFORMS journal Management Science)
  • Carpool Decisions and Waze: New Results Proves the Impact of HOV Lanes (INFORMS journal Manufacturing & Service Operations Management)

Labeling Questionable Content: Facebook’s Attempts to Control Government Propaganda – Is it working?

Social media sites like Facebook are sometimes tied to manipulative content and propaganda. In recent years, these sites are taking steps to try and educate users about what they’re consuming and where it’s coming from, but is it effective? New research in the INFORMS journal Information Systems Research says it can be. To combat the effect of quiet foreign government persuasion attempts, Facebook debuted a “state-controlled media” label in June 2020 to alert users that a post originates from a page associated with selected governments, including Russia and China. The article, “Countering State-Controlled Media Propaganda Through Labeling: Evidence from Facebook,” finds that labels are effective in reducing engagement on social media only if users notice the labels and if the label is associated with a country that is negatively perceived. More users notice the label if trained. From the research, the implications are that these labels can successfully reduce engagement with posts by Russian and Chinese state-controlled pages but may even increase engagement for other countries perceived positively, such as Canada. Link to full article.

Limited Supplies and a Hurricane on the Way: The Impact on Consumer Buying Decisions

Certain products fly off store shelves ahead of major weather events forcing consumers to sometimes purchase different brands than what they would normally. New research in the INFORMS journal Marketing Science determines if these changes in brand purchases stick post-storm. The paper, “Identifying State Dependence in Brand Choice: Evidence from Hurricanes,” analyzes data from the purchase of bottled water prior to hurricane events. This research shows that purchase behavior reverts to its pre-hurricane trajectory immediately after the storm. Link to full article.

Not Disclosing Grades: How it Impacts Graduate Student Behavior and Employment

New research in the INFORMS journal Management Science looks at the impact of not telling students their grades. The article, “Making the Grade (But Not Disclosing It): How Withholding Grades Affects Student Behavior and Employment,” analyzes the impact of grade nondisclosure (GND) policies implemented within Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs at highly-ranked business schools. The researchers found that GND weakens the positive relation between GPA and employer desirability. They found that students’ tenure with their first employers after graduation decreases under GND. During the analysis, the researchers did find that GND reduces students’ academic effort for a given course by nearly 5%. However, that’s not necessarily bad – these policies allow students to substitute effort toward other activities to signal GPA- focused abilities. Basically, students participate in more extracurricular activities and enroll in more difficult courses under GND. Link to full article.

Beating the Traffic! New Research Collaboration with Waze Yields Big Carpool Results

Traffic congestion is a serious global issue. A potential solution, which requires zero investment in infrastructure, is to convince solo car users to carpool. New research in the INFORMS journal Manufacturing & Service Operations Management finds an obvious and strong relationship between the affinity to carpool and the potential time saving through an HOV lane. The paper, “Incentivizing Commuters to Carpool: A Large Field Experiment with Waze,” looks at more than half a million Waze Carpool service users across four U.S. states within a four-month period. The experiment sent the users in-app notifications with different framings: mentioning the HOV lane, highlighting the time saving, emphasizing the monetary welcome bonus (for users who do not have access to an HOV lane) and a generic carpool invitation. What happened? Well, mentioning the HOV lane increased the click-through rate (i.e., proportion of users who clicked on the button inviting them to try the carpool service) and the onboarding rate (i.e., proportion of users who signed up and created an account with the carpool service) by 133%-185% and 64%-141%, respectively, relative to a generic invitation. 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 is the largest association for the decision and data sciences. INFORMS members support organizations and governments at all levels as they 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: October 10, 2023

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Ashley Smith
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Catonsville, MD
[email protected]

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