twenty-five percentDecrease in female representation within applicant pools for startups advertising a flat organizational structure in job postings

This finding comes from a field experiment involving 8,000 job candidates conducted by Wharton management professor Saerom (Ronnie) Lee and others — and runs contrary to the common belief that women prefer a flat organization because that structure would be more egalitarian than traditional hierarchies and provide a healthier work-life balance.



What’s Going to Happen to All Those Empty Office Buildings?

The broad shift to working from home during the pandemic may haunt the commercial real estate market for years to come, making it harder to fill vacant office buildings that were once brimming with tenants. Wharton real estate professor Joseph Gyourko said it’s too early to predict exactly how the demand for office space will decline, because commercial leases generally last five to seven years. But it’s clear that when those leases finally expire, the market won’t be the same.

“I strongly suspect what will result is a flight to quality,” he said during a Wharton Business Daily interview on SiriusXM channel 132. “Over the next few years, as tenants start to rethink space needs and their leases roll over, they’ll go into better buildings, and the [worse] buildings will be in trouble.”

Office vacancy rates increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, reaching a high of 17.2 percent in the second quarter of 2021, according to Statista. While many companies are calling workers back into the office this year, full occupancy is unlikely. “There will be huge variation, but I think people and families want the flexibility of at least a day [at home], and I think bosses are going to have to give it whether they like it or not,” Gyourko said.

Companies offering flexible work will need different office-space configurations, so the best buildings will win. Older buildings with poor ventilation systems and a lack of amenities will struggle to recruit and retain tenants.

The larger effects of these changes will vary by location, Gyourko said. Big cities like Philadelphia, San Francisco, and New York should be able to withstand the shock because they can absorb the flight to better buildings. Cities that have strong job growth may also become more affordable as rents fall. It’s possible that building owners will convert office space into apartments and condos, providing more housing in places without enough and perhaps drawing families and others who change the demographics of the city.

It is smaller and mid-sized cities that are already in decline that are of more concern, according to Gyourko. Their decline will be accelerated by the loss of revenue from unoccupied office buildings. “Think about the Rust Belt,” he said. “It may not be viable to convert anything from office to residential. This could lead to a real downward spiral in weaker office markets that don’t have much natural growth to them.”


one to three percentImpact investors who report underperformance within their company portfolios in annual investor surveys conducted by the Global Impact Investing Network

Maoz (Michael) Brown, head of research at the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, joined WSII vice dean Katherine Klein on the initiative’s Dollars and Change podcast to discuss research he conducted with Lauren Kaufmann C14 GRW22 highlighting the challenges of rigorously measuring impact.



“When different social media platforms moderate content, the most significant determinant is their bottom line.”

That’s according to Yi Liu GRW22 and Wharton marketing professors Pinar Yildirim and Z. John Zhang in a Knowledge at Wharton essay. Their new research shows that social media platforms that rely on advertising revenue are more likely to moderate content than subscription-based platforms. However, when subscription-based platforms do moderate content, they are more aggressive than their advertising-driven peers.


one hundred twelve percentThe debt-to-GDP ratio beyond which economic growth would be insufficient to generate the tax revenues required by the U.S. government to pay back its debt

Crossing this debt-to-GDP ratio would warrant tax increases to stabilize the debt. The model for determining this threshold — which can be used by any government — was introduced in a paper by Wharton finance professor Tim Landvoigt, Patrick Shultz GRW23, Johns Hopkins University’s Vadim Elenev, and Columbia University’s Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh.



“It’s not just individuals, but also laggard fund managers, who behave in a very high-risk fashion, because they’re trying to gamble for resurrection.”

A new study co-authored by Wharton finance professor Nikolai Roussanov goes against the notion that it’s only meme-stock investors and the like who drive up prices on risky stocks. Looking specifically at mutual funds, the research shows that underperforming funds tend to pursue high-risk bets and, in turn, help push stock prices disproportionately higher than what returns may justify.


(Illustrations: Frank Ramspott/DigitalVision Vectors via Getty Images)

Published as “Data” in the Spring/Summer 2022 issue of  Wharton Magazine.