Department of Marketing & Entrepreneurship

Time: Friday 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 Noon
Location: 365A Melcher Hall
Open to Public: No reservation or registration required.

Note: Topics and Abstracts will be added to this page throughout the semester

Date Speaker Topic Faculty Host
4/14/2017 Willa Friedman
UH Economics
    Money, Masculinity, and Men’s Health: Experimental Evidence on Demand for a Preventive Health Input
  • Click to read Abstract

    A fundamental puzzle about human behavior is the low level of household investment in preventive health inputs. We conducted a field experiment testing advertising strategies designed to increase demand for a life-saving preventive health technology. Offering compensation of US$10 conditional on completing a counseling session for the technology tripled uptake. Framing the basic advertisement using the statement, “Are you tough enough?”, doubled uptake. Suggestive evidence indicates these advertisements reduced procrastination. Our study appears to be the first showing that a small conditional cash transfer for a one-time health clinic visit can improve individual investment in preventive health inputs.

    The 34th UH Marketing Doctoral Symposium
4/7/2017 Keynote speaker: David Bell
    The 34th UH Marketing Doctoral Symposium
3/24/2017 James Hess
    Counterfeits, Knockoffs and Conspicuous Consumption: A Model of Counterfeits and Status Goods
  • Click to read Abstract

    What determines why some consumers buy counterfeit goods? Our economic model incorporates bandwagon and snob effects into the consumers’ purchases of both authentic and counterfeit status goods. The population is divided into two groups, Elites and Seekers, where Elites want to consume a product that helps distinguish themselves from the common Seekers. The Seekers want to buy status by appearing to consume the same product as the Elites. What if there is also a counterfeit status product available at a dramatically lower price that some Seekers might buy? Counterfeits may be recognized as fakes, humiliating the Seeker and resulting in a violation of the law of demand. Rational expectation equilibrium demand functions are developed for both groups and supported in a laboratory experiment.

3/10/2017 Raj Raghunathan
UT Austin
    The Fundamental Happiness Paradox: The Intention-Action Gap in Seeking Happiness
  • Click to read Abstract

    Happiness (or subjective well-being) is widely regarded as one of our most important goals. For instance, one study (Oishi and Diener 2006) of 10,000 respondents from 48 countries found that people rate happiness higher than success, wealth, and intelligence. As such, one would expect that people's decisions reflect the greater importance they accord to happiness. Yet, across the studies reported in this paper, we find that people routinely sacrifice happiness in favor or other goals, including the ones that they rate as being less important (e.g., money, success). We highlight the theoretical and substantive significance of these findings.

Seshadri Tirunillai
3/3/2017 Michael Braun
    Racial Disparity in Enforcement of Ambiguously Defined Crimes: A Bayesian Analysis of Texas Organized Retail Theft Arrests
Seshadri Tirunillai
2/24/2017 Aparna Sundar
    Semantic Association of Packaging: How Packaging Leads to Biased Health-Related Inferences
  • Click to read Abstract

    Package design differentiates a product from its competitors. This research investigates how packaging form can influence judgments of a food product's healthiness. Across our studies, we demonstrate that the form adopted can lead consumers to infer that a food product is more (vs. less) healthy. These findings demonstrate a novel health halo cue (i.e. a form-based, visual cue). The results of this research indicate that marketers should be cognizant of the far reaching consequences of adopting forms of packaging that have preexisting associations in consumers' minds.

Seshadri Tirunillai
2/10/2017 Rebecca Reczek
The Ohio State University
    That’s Not How I Remember It: Willfully Ignorant Memory for Ethical Product Attribute Information
  • Click to read Abstract

    This research is the first to document a systematic bias in memory for ethical attribute information. Specifically, we predict and document a type of motivated forgetting unique to ethical attributes: Consumers have relatively better memory for good versus poor performance on an ethical attribute due to conflict between the want and should selves. Consumers want to avoid emotionally difficult information (e.g., that a product is made with child labor) but feel they ought to remember it in order to do the right thing. Forgetting this information resolves the conflict. Across five studies we establish the willfully ignorant memory effect, address alternative explanations, provide process evidence, and ameliorate the effect by reducing the amount of pressure exerted by the should self to remember ethical attribute information, thereby reducing the conflict and reducing motivated forgetting. We also show that other important attributes (e.g., price) show a negativity bias of relatively better memory for more negative attribute values, demonstrating the uniqueness of the effect for ethical attributes.

Melanie Rudd
2/3/2017 Melanie Rudd
    Inspired to Create: Awe Enhances Openness to Learning and the Desire for Experiential Creation
  • Click to read Abstract

    One putative truism is that people are cognitive misers. We investigated an emotion—awe—that motivates people to break free from mental miserliness through a willingness to learn, thereby fueling their desire for experiential creation (i.e., activities in which people actively produce an outcome). Six experiments tested and found that people induced to experience awe (vs. happiness or neutrality) were more likely to choose an experiential creation gift (vs. one not involving experiential creation), were willing to pay more for experiential creation products (vs. comparable ready-made products), were more likely to create a bespoke snack (vs. take a premade one), were more likely to solve problems using experiential creation solutions (vs. solutions without experiential creation), preferred meals high (vs. low) in experiential creation, and were more likely to create a knickknack (vs. take a premade one). This greater desire for experiential creation was mediated by openness to learning and moderated by dispositional need for closure. These findings are relevant for firms encouraging creation-oriented products and behaviors, offering fresh insights on how to engage consumers.

1/27/2017 Joan Meyers-Levy
    Why and When How You Sit Matters: The Effect of Sitting Posture on Cognitive Exploration and Thoughts
  • Click to read Abstract

    Can how people sit influence their thinking? We propose that people's sitting posture alters the control they exert covertly when they explore memory to access or generate ideas. Sitting upright (relaxed) tightens (loosens) such control, prompting people to engage in narrow- (broad) spanning cognitive exploration. This thesis is grounded in embodied cognition theory. It holds that bodily experiences (e.g., sitting posture) are intricately connected in memory with situational knowledge that commonly accompanies these experiences, such that the two are reciprocally activated. Thus, because people are socialized and learn to sit upright (relaxed) in contexts that normatively require (allow) their attentional and cognitive faculties to concentrate selectively on (wander expansively from) focal matters, simply adopting an upright (relaxed) sitting posture triggers this situational knowledge, thereby prompting narrow- (broad-) spanning cognitive exploration. Four studies test this theorizing by demonstrating diverse consequences spawned by such cognitive exploration, namely the inclination to select safe versus risky decision options, identify concrete versus abstract ideations more quickly, and both appreciate and produce more creative output. Further, evidence affirms that the span of people’s cognitive exploration process, as indicated by the distance between ideas they access in memory, mediates the effect of sitting posture on such outcomes.

Melanie Rudd
11/18/2016 Mitch Lovett
    Private Labels and Retailer Profitability: Bilateral Bargaining in the Grocery Channel
  • Click to read Abstract

    We examine the role of store branded (private label) products in determining the bargaining outcomes between retailers and manufacturers in the brew-at-home coffee category. Exploiting a novel setting in which the dominant, single-serve technology was protected by a patent preventing private label entry, we develop a structural model of demand and supply-side bargaining and seek to quantify the impact of private labels on bargaining outcomes. We find that, while bargaining parameters are relatively symmetric across retailers and manufacturers, the addition of private labels alters bargaining outcomes by improving the disagreement payoffs of the retailers (relative to the manufacturers), thereby shifting bargaining outcomes in the retailer's favor.

Kitty Wang
11/11/2016 Rosellina Ferraro
    When the Face of Need Backfires: The Impact of Facial Emotional Expression on the Effectiveness of Cause-Related Marketing Advertisements
  • Click to read Abstract

    Cause-related marketing (CM) has been one of the fastest-growing category of corporate sponsorship spending in the United States, with average annual growth rates of greater than 12% (IEG 2009). In CM campaigns, companies link the purchase of their product to support charitable causes. As part of these campaigns, companies often display the image of a victim suffering from the condition or circumstances (e.g., a starving child, a patient suffering from cancer) in their promotional materials. The images used may vary in terms of the victim’s facial emotional expression, including sadness and happiness. This raises the question of whether specific emotional depictions may affect the impact of the promotional materials. Research on faced-based judgments has shown that facial expressions that convey emotion elicit vicarious emotion in observers an effect called emotional contagion. The emotional contagion effect has been demonstrated in the non-profit charitable advertisement context, such that when consumers viewed a charitable advertisement which features the image of a victim experiencing a specific emotion, consumers experienced the same emotion (Small and Verrochi 2009). That is, a happy-faced victim elicited happiness in viewers and a sad-faced victim elicited sadness in viewers. The elicited sadness increased empathy toward the victim and subsequently increased donations. The current research asks whether the same emotional contagion and subsequent changes in empathy will be triggered by the image of a victim experiencing a specific emotion in CM advertisements by for-profit organizations. We propose and show that the image of a victim depicting sadness will evoke a different psychological process in CM advertisements than it does for charity-based advertisements. We demonstrate that consumers perceive the image of a sad-faced victim (vs. happy-faced victim) in CM advertisements as designed to manipulate emotion to sell a product, which in turn reduces the effectiveness of CM advertisements. To further support the perceived manipulativeness mechanism, we test a moderating variable specifically, whether the cause or the product is centrally presented. We show that the negative effect of a sad-faced (vs. happy-faced) victim on the effectiveness of CM advertisements is attenuated in the product-focused advertisements, which are perceived as less manipulative.

Kitty Wang
11/4/2016 Raghu Bommaraju
    The Impact Of Mergers and Acquisitions on the Sales Force
  • Click to read Abstract

    Most research into mergers and acquisitions (M&As) focuses on shareholder outcomes. This article takes a novel approach by evaluating the effect of M&As on the firm’s internal stakeholders, namely, the sales force. In particular, mergers that harm the organization’s image might hinder salespeople’s organizational identification (OI), so the authors use longitudinal data from a natural experiment to test the causal effect of a merger on the OI of salespeople employed by the acquiring firm. The analysis reveals that their OI decreases after the merger, resulting in poorer selling performance. Salespeople’s tenure intensifies these effects social inclusion dampens them. Although managers’ active efforts to build OI generally improve salespeople’s OI, these activities have differential effects during an M&A. When managers communicate the organization’s strategic direction, it shields salespeople from some of the detrimental effects of the merger. In contrast, when managers emphasize the culture or distinctiveness of the organization, it exacerbates the damage to salespeople’s OI.

10/14/2016 Sanjay Jain
UT Dallas
    Pricing and Product Design for Vice Goods: A Strategic Analysis
  • Click to read Abstract

    The rising obesity epidemic is a worldwide concern for consumers, firms, and policy makers. One reason for the rise in obesity is consumers'''' over-consumption of vice goods such as cookies, crackers, and soft drinks. Some authors have suggested that firms have insufficient incentives to make products healthier and to reduce over-consumption. There are calls for regulations to ensure that firms make products healthier and provide nutritional information that help consumers make healthy food choices. Furthermore, public policy makers have begun to educate consumers to avoid over-consumption by using strategies such as pre-purchase planning. In this paper, we investigate how firms selling vice goods should respond to the growing concerns about obesity. We analyze how firms should adjust prices and product healthiness to cater to consumers with self-control problems and obesity concerns. We use the literature on hyperbolic discounting to model consumers with self-control problems. In this framework, we examine how the healthiness of vice goods affects prices, firm''''s profits, consumer surplus, and public health. In addition, we study how public policy efforts to encourage pre-purchase planning impact firm''''s profits and consumers. Our results show that unlike standard goods, for vice goods a decrease in quality (i.e., unhealthiness) and an increase in price can serve as a self-control device and increase demand. Therefore, firms sometimes can charge higher prices and make more profits by producing unhealthier products. Interestingly, producing unhealthier products can sometimes increase consumer surplus and improve public health. We also show that as the proportion of consumers who use pre-purchase planning increases, firms should respond by raising prices. In such situations, consumer surplus and public health improve but firm''''s profits decline. These results have important implications for restaurants and firms that sell vice goods and for public policy makers who aim to combat obesity.

Ye Hu
9/30/2016 Rajdeep Grewal
UNC-Chapel Hill
    Intellectual Capital and New Drug Pricing
  • Click to read Abstract

    The authors focus on the effect of intellectual capital of prescription drugs on the drugs' launch prices. With data on 365 new prescription drug launches between 1984 and 2003 in 38 different therapeutic product categories, the authors conceptualize intellectual capital for the drugs as the effective patent life (measured as the remaining exclusivity period of the patent before expiry) and the strength of the patent portfolio (assessed as the number of patents attached to the molecules of the drug). Building on the extant empirical literature on pharma pricing that focuses largely on competition and quality measures of the drug as the key determinants of launch pricing, the authors develop a hedonic pricing model that investigates the impact of intellectual capital as – (1) consumer utility bearing characteristic to influence demand and (2) as a market power tool to garner monopoly rents. The findings suggest that at the launch stage, the intellectual capital influences pricing as consumer utility bearing characteristic and not at a market power tool. Much against the conventional wisdom regarding intellectual capital and drug pricing, a drug’s ability to charge premium price at the launch stage compared to the other prescription drug substitutes is significantly influenced by the order of its entry in the category and not by intellectual capital. Authors also examine the moderating effect of promotion spending and manufacturer’s innovation strength in the category for the impact of intellectual capital on launch pricing. Higher the direct to consumer advertising (focused towards market expansion) lower is the launch price of drug and intellectual capital elasticity of launch price. Higher the detailing to physicians (focused towards increasing market share) higher is the launch price and intellectual capital elasticity of launch price. Regarding the innovation strength of the manufacturer, higher innovation strength of a manufacturer is associated with higher launch price of a new drug by the same manufacturer in the category and lower intellectual capital elasticity of launch price.

Ye Hu
9/23/2016 Jeff Inman
    Digital Distraction: Consumer Mobile Device Use and Decision Making
  • Click to read Abstract

    The rapid growth of mobile devices has provided firms with an unprecedented opportunity to engage consumers. However, firms are struggling to adapt to and understand the impact of mobile devices on consumer outcomes. One common but understudied area is the role that mobile devices play in consumer decisions. Building upon prior research investigating consumer technology use during decision situations, the authors classify mobile device use into two defining categories (task-related and task-unrelated) and examine the impact these differing usage types have on consumer decision quality. Across an in-store field study and two experiments, the authors demonstrate that depending on use, mobile devices can act as a double-edged sword with either positive or negative implications for consumers and marketers. The authors find support for their predictions that task-unrelated mobile device use degrades consumer decision making and is associated with an increase in unplanned purchasing, forgetting planned items, and a reliance on heuristics during the decision making process. Conversely, task-related mobile device use can help consumers make better decisions, including purchasing fewer unplanned items and selecting more efficient alternatives. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Sam Hui
9/16/2016 Neil Morgan
    When and How Does Market Share Drive Profits?
  • Click to read Abstract

    Most managers believe that market share is valuable and many firms use it to both set goals and assess marketing performance. Market share is also one of the most widely used dependent variables in studies of the performance impact of marketing. Yet, the existence, scale, and nature of any economic performance impact of firms’ market share remains unclear. In fact, while many managers assume a positive relationship between market share and firm profit, the past empirical literature has mostly indicated a non-significant relationship—with indications that the relationship can even be negative. In this study we examine the market share-economic performance relationship over a long time period in a large sample of U.S. markets using both different measures of market share and a number of different econometric analysis approaches. We show that market share is both an indicator of product-market performance in the marketing-performance outcome with ''chain'' and also a valuable market-based asset. In addition, we find that market share’s relationship with market power and quality signaling explain most of the variance. We also find that counter to assumptions in economic theory, the value of market share is contingent on the business strategy the firm adopts and the firm’s marketing capability.

Sam Hui
4/15/2016 Cait Lamberton
    Men and the Middle: Understanding Context Effects in Dyads
  • Click to read Abstract

    The compromise effect has been shown to be robust among individual decision-makers. But what happens when consumers make these choices with someone else? In the present paper, we explore compromise effects in joint decision contexts. Findings reveal that the compromise effect replicates in mixed-gender and female-female dyads, but is attenuated when two males make a choice together. Furthermore, when males make joint decisions, their tendency to choose a compromise option decreases not only relative to other pairs but also to individual decision-makers. The authors argue that this happens because dyadic contexts lead to reliance on social norms as a primary decision determinant. Because men believe that expressing a preference for the compromise option in front of another man is non-normative, male-male dyads do not exhibit the compromise effect. Support for this mechanism is provided in two studies showing that (1) males are judged more harshly by males when they exhibit preference for the compromise option in the presence of a male but not a female and (2) we can generate compromise effects when male-male dyads engage in double-blinded joint decision-making, which involves no preference sharing. These findings have important implications for theory, consumer well-being, and marketing strategies.

4/1/2016 Seshadri Tirunillai
    How Governance Structure Affects Customer Engagement in Social Media? Findings from a Randomized Controlled Online Experiment
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Department of Marketing & Entrepreneurship
University of Houston
334 Melcher Hall
Houston, Texas 77204-6021
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