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Tippie Research Methods Seminar Series: Buddhika Nettasinghe

Jan 25, 2024

12:00 PM

Pappajohn Business Building, S401

21 East Market Street, Iowa City, IA 52245

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Buddhika Nettasinghe is an Assistant Professor of Business Analytics at the Tippie College of Business. 

Title: "Network scientific view of the emergence of structural disparities in science."

Abstract: Glass ceiling effect, defined as “the unseen, yet unbreakable barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements,” is a well-studied phenomenon. However, its emergence in directed networks (e.g. author–citation graphs, Twitter) is yet to be coherently explained in an intuitive, theoretically tractable manner using a single dynamical model. To this end, we present a novel model named Directed Mixed Preferential Attachment model to explain the emergence of the glass ceiling effects in directed networks with two groups (minority and majority). By applying the proposed model to bibliographic data, we show that women receive less recognition for their work relative to men, and that this effect cannot be explained purely by their minority status. We show that gender disparity arises from biased individual preferences to cite authors from the same group (homophily), highly cited or active authors (preferential attachment), as well as group size and how frequently new authors join. We present a model for the growth of directed citation networks that captures these preferences and analyze it to show that its predictions align with real-world observations. Our theoretical and empirical analyses also suggest potential strategies to mitigate structural biases in science. We find that merely increasing the number of women does little to narrow the disparity. Instead, reducing the homophily of each group, frequently adding new authors to a research field while providing them an accessible platform among existing, established authors, together with balanced group sizes can have the largest impact on reducing gender disparity. Our work highlights additional complexities of mitigating structural disparities stemming from asymmetric relations (e.g., citations) compared to symmetric relations (e.g., collaborations).

The Research Methods Seminar Series is presented by the Tippie Research Office in collaboration with the departments of Business Analytics, Economics, and Finance.

Each seminar will present a computational or quantitative research method, possibly along with an application of the method, guidelines for use, and/or ethical considerations. After the presentations there will be an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback on the session, share your own research experiences, and meet others with similar interests.

This series is a low-pressure, safe place for Tippie faculty and PhD students to learn from each other, share ideas, and seek feedback. We strive to provide a successful introduction to methods, while offering new insights for more experienced researchers.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact in advance at

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