The fourth Washington Area IT Symposium (WAITS) will be “hosted” by the University of Maryland the afternoon of May 14th, 2021 at 2:15pm. But it’s a pandemic, so we do it online, but we are holding out hope that we might meet in person this time.. This episode of WAITS will be entitled: Maryland vs Virginia, to honor our speakers.

The goal of WAITS is to bring together like-minded IS scholars in the greater DC Metro area and facilitate inter-school dialogue and collaboration. While there are many business schools in the DMV, and many tremendous IS departments each with their own talented researchers, communication between the groups is limited. This stifles synergies, creative and innovative work, and the opportunity for each of us to learn from each other. It is the objective of WAITS to eliminate this problem by coming together every few months.

The Details

  • Who: IS scholars sharing good work
  • What: Well, the first bullet kind of got at it but I am stuck in the format
  • Where: ZOOM! (Link to be sent). Email me if you are not on the list
  • When: May 14th! 2:15pm!
  • Why: Because research never stops, not even for a pandemic. Maybe research is the panacea for the pandemic. Think about it, before that joke gets panned
  • For(mat): I realize that I am pushing the joke to the breaking point. In deference to the ultra zoom fatigue that is setting in, we will be doing two 25 minute sessions. Nothing but the highlights. Findings, Formulations, and Fixed Effects!


We are lucky to have two fantastic researchers giving talks.

Lanfei Shi
University of Virginia

Anand Gopal
University of Maryland

Talk 1: Does Location Still Matter on Digital Platforms? Evidence from a Natural Experiment

One advantage of online shopping is that geolocation boundaries become blurred and gradually irrelevant, which has encouraged the rise of global marketplaces. On the other hand, while numerous information signals such as online reviews have significantly reduced transaction costs and helped facilitate consumers’ decision-making, emerging evidence has shown that consumers have location-based bias or preferences when it comes to choosing sellers – e.g., US consumers would prefer products that are made in the US. To uncover the paradox, this study seeks to understand whether and how the disclosure of seller location to buyers affects seller behavior and performance. We leverage a policy change of address disclosure on an E-commerce platform to identify such effects. Preliminary results and business implications will be discussed.

Talk 2: Gender Effects in Online Evaluations: a Large Scale Natural Experiment

What is the effect of gender priming on bias in online interactions, and why should we care? To address the relationship between gender priming and evaluations we employ data from a large-scale digital discussion platform for academics. When platform users post a discussion message they are randomly assigned a pseudonym in the form of a given (or first name), such as “Daniel” or “Haylee”, and each post subsequently garners positive and negative votes from readers. In an analysis of over 618 thousand postings, we find that posts from “females” receive 2.3 percent lower evaluation scores, and that “females” disproportionately receive negative votes for emotive content with a negative tone. While this effect is modest, the pattern is nonetheless surprising given the weak treatment. These findings contribute to our knowledge of gender bias, status signals, and role incongruity in evaluation processes.