Skip to comments.Blind Spots in the ‘Blind Audition’ Study
Posted on 10/21/2019 11:00:28 AM PDT by karpov
It is one of the most famous social-science papers of all time. Carried out in the 1990s, the blind audition study attempted to document sexist bias in orchestra hiring. Lionized by Malcolm Gladwell, extolled by Harvard thought leaders, and even cited in a dissent by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the study showed that when orchestras auditioned musicians blindly, behind a screen, womens success rates soared. Or did they?
Nobody questions the basic facts that led to the studys publication. During the 1970s and 80s, Americas orchestras became more open and democratic. To ensure impartiality, several introduced blind auditions. Two economists, Claudia Goldin of Harvard and Cecilia Rouse of Princeton, noticed that womens success rates in auditions increased along with the adoption of screens. Was it a coincidence or the result of the screens? That is the question the two economists tried to answer in Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of Blind Auditions on Female Musicians, published in 2000 in the American Economic Review.
They collected four decades of data from eight leading American orchestras. But the data were inconclusive: The paper includes multiple warnings about small sample sizes, contradictory results and failures to pass standard tests of statistical significance. But few readers seem to have noticed. What caught everyones attention was a big claim in the final paragraph: We find that the screen increasesby 50 percentthe probability that a woman will be advanced from certain preliminary rounds and increases by severalfold the likelihood that a woman will be selected in the final round.
According to Google, the study has received more than 1,500 citations in academic articles and thousands of media mentions. It has been featured in TED Talks, celebrated at the Davos conference, and showcased in so many diversity workshops that one attendee begged never to hear about it again.
(Excerpt) Read more at wsj.com ...
The practice of justices citing to “studies” is bogus, too.
I believe that one city (Detroit?) was eliminating blind auditions because not enough “musicians of color” were chosen.
“Subscribe to read the full story.”
Don’t do this to us again.
The claim was what people wanted to hear regardless of the qualifiers.
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