Department of Marketing & Entrepreneurship

Spring 2013

Time: Friday 10:30-12:00 PM
Location: 365B Melcher Hall (Enter through Suite 365 Lobby)
Open to Public: No reservation or registration required.

Date Speaker Topic


Vikas Mittal

    "When Does Recognition Increase Charitable Behavior? Toward A Moral Identity-Based Model"
  • Click to read Abstract

    Each year, individuals in the United States donate over $200 billion to charitable causes. Despite our lack of understanding of whether and how it increases charitable behavior, charities often offer recognition to motivate donor behavior. This research focuses on how the effectiveness of recognition on charitable behavior is dependent on the joint influence of two distinct dimensions of moral identity-internalization and symbolization. Three studies examining both monetary donations and volunteering behavior show recognition increases charitable behavior among those characterized by high moral identity symbolization and low moral identity internalization. Interestingly, those who are high in moral identity internalization are uninfluenced by recognition, regardless of their symbolization. By understanding correlates of the two dimensions of moral identity among donors, nonprofits can strategically recognize potential donors to maximize donation and volunteering behavior.

2/15/2013 Wilhelm Hofmann

    "Everyday Temptations: An Experience Sampling Study of Desire, Conflict, and Self-Control"
  • Click to read Abstract

    How often and how strongly do people experience desires, to what extent do their desires conflict with other goals, and how often and successfully do people exercise self-control to resist their desires? To investigate desire and attempts to control desire in everyday life, we conducted a large-scale experience sampling study based on a conceptual framework integrating desire strength, conflict, resistance (use of self-control), and behavior enactment. A sample of 205 adults wore beepers for a week. They furnished 7,827 reports of desire episodes and completed personality measures of behavioral inhibition system/behavior activation system (BIS/BAS) sensitivity, trait self-control, perfectionism, and narcissistic entitlement. Results suggest that desires are frequent, variable in intensity, and largely unproblematic. Those urges that do conflict with other goals tend to elicit resistance, with uneven success. Desire strength, conflict, resistance, and self-regulatory success were moderated in multiple ways by personality variables as well as by situational and interpersonal factors such as alcohol consumption, the mere presence of others, and the presence of others who already had enacted the desire in question. Whereas personality generally had a stronger impact on the dimensions of desire that emerged early in its course (desire strength and conflict), situational factors showed relatively more influence on components later in the process (resistance and behavior enactment). In total, these findings offer a novel and detailed perspective on the nature of everyday desires and associated self-regulatory successes and failures.

3/1/2013 David Bell

    "Offline Social Learning and Online Retail Trials"
  • Click to read Abstract

    Online retailing is the most dynamic part of the retail sector, yet when buying online, consumers often face considerable uncertainty about non-digital product attributes. Firms therefore employ creative and often costly methods such as two-way free shipping and pop-up stores to help consumers resolve this problem of incomplete knowledge. We document another key way this issue is mitigated-specifically, through information transmission in naturally occurring social learning processes. Using consumer trial data from, the leading US online retailer for men's fashion apparel, we find that offline social learning about non-digital attributes facilitates online retail trials. Furthermore, using data from the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey, we show that geographic variation in "neighborhood social capital", the propensity for neighbors to trust each other and communicate with each other in a local neighborhood, moderates the social learning process. In particular, higher levels of social capital reduce inefficiencies in the social learning process. The offline social learning process, and the moderating effect of social capital, both have an economically important impact on new trials. Implications for new trial generation at online retailers are discussed.

3/8/2013 Andy Gershoff
UT Austin

    "Feeling Finished and Feeling Smart: How Psychological Closure Affects Abstraction and Subjective Knowledge"
  • Click to read Abstract

    Consumers frequently gauge their product knowledge to decide whether they know enough to make a successful decision. We propose that psychological closure, a state of resolution that allows people to "move on," facilitates the mental wrap-up of a learning experience to a higher, more abstract level, causing consumers to feel more knowledgeable about the learned subject. Illuminating this mechanism, the effect of psychological closure on subjective knowledge is attenuated under concrete (vs. abstract) mindsets (studies 1-2) and mediated by perceived cohesiveness of the learning experience, an indication of abstract representation (study 3). Moderated mediation results demonstrate that wrapping up a learning experience concretely (vs. abstractly) prevents people from experiencing closure and, consequently, from feeling knowledgeable (study 4). Repeated-measures show heightened subjective knowledge as a result of closure becomes adjusted downwards after concrete cues are presented; the effect of closure on subjective knowledge is robust against high accuracy motivation (study 5).

3/22/2013 Doug Chung

    "The Dynamic Advertising Effect of Collegiate Athletics"
  • Click to read Abstract

    I measure the spillover effect of intercollegiate athletics on the quantity and quality of applicants to institutions of higher education in the United States, popularly known as the "Flutie Effect." I treat athletic success as a stock of goodwill that decays over time, similar to that of advertising. A major challenge is that privacy laws prevent us from observing information about the applicant pool. I overcome this challenge by using order statistic distribution to infer applicant quality from information on enrolled students. Using a flexible random coefficients aggregate discrete choice model-which accommodates heterogeneity in preferences for school quality and athletic success-and an extensive set of school fixed effects to control for unobserved quality in athletics and academics, I estimate the impact of athletic success on applicant quality and quantity. Overall, athletic success has a significant long-term goodwill effect on future applications and quality. However, students with lower than average SAT scores tend to have a stronger preference for athletic success, while students with higher SAT scores have a greater preference for academic quality. Furthermore, the decay rate of athletics goodwill is significant only for students with lower SAT scores, suggesting that the goodwill created by intercollegiate athletics resides more extensively with low-ability students than with their high-ability counterparts. But, surprisingly, athletic success impacts applications even among academically stronger students.

3/29/2013 Thales S. Teixeira

    "Why, When and How Much to Entertain Consumers in Advertisements? A Web-based Facial Tracking Field Study"
  • Click to read Abstract

    The presence of positive entertainment (e.g., visual imagery, upbeat music, humor) in TV advertisements can make them more attractive and persuasive. However, little is known about the downsides of using too much entertainment. This research focuses on why, when, and how much to entertain consumers in TV advertisements. We collected data in a large-scale field experiment using 82 ads with various levels of entertainment shown to 275 consumers in their homes and workplaces. Using a novel web-based face tracking system, we continuously measure consumers' smile responses, and viewing interest and purchase intent. A simultaneous Bayesian Hierarchical model is estimated to assess how entertainment affects purchases by endogenizing viewing interest. We find that entertainment has an inverted U-shape relationship with purchase intent. Importantly, we separate entertainment into that which is associated with the brand versus that which is not, and find that the former is directly positively associated with purchase intent while the latter is not.

4/5/2013 (10:00-11:30) Olivier Toubia

    "Intrinsic versus Image-Related Utility in Social Media: Why Do People Contribute Content to Twitter?"
  • Click to read Abstract

    We empirically study the motivations of users to contribute content to social media in the context of the popular microblogging site Twitter. We focus on non-commercial users who do not benefit financially from their contributions. Previous literature suggests two main sources of utility that may motivate these users to post content: intrinsic utility and image-related utility. We leverage the fact that these two types of utility give rise to different predictions as to whether users should increase their contributions when their number of followers increases. To address the issue that the number of followers is endogenous, we conducted a field experiment in which we exogenously added followers (or follow requests in the case of protected accounts) to a set of users over a period of time, and compared their posting activities to those of a control group. We estimated each treated user's utility function using a dynamic discrete choice model. While our results are consistent with both types of utility being at play, our model suggests that imagerelated utility is larger for most users. We discuss the implications of our findings for the evolution of Twitter and the type of value firms may derive from such platforms in the future.


The 31st UH Marketing Doctoral Symposium
Keynote speaker: Leonard Lodish, Samuel R. Harrell Professor, Wharton School

4/19/2013 David Godes

    "Product Policy in Markets with Word-of-Mouth Communication"
  • Click to read Abstract

    We investigate the equilibrium relationship between product quality and word-of-mouth communication. Specifically, we ask whether firms should optimally produce “better” products when consumers are more likely to exchange information? On the surface, the answer would seem to be intuitive. Clearly, one might assume, if people are more likely to "find out" about a product, then its quality should be higher. However, in the face of a lack of consistent empirical evidence, we make a theoretical argument that the relationship may be more complicated than it appears. The critical moderating factor in our model is the nature of the communication and what its primary impact is. On one hand, we might assume that the primary impact of word of mouth is to help people to better assess the utility of products with which they are already familiar. If this is the case then, indeed, our model suggests that more word of mouth should lead to higher-quality products. On the other hand, it is well known that another significant effect of word of mouth is to expand awareness of a product. In a model of informative word of mouth - which we define as word of mouth that increases the general awareness level of a product - we show that quality may either increase or decline as word of mouth expands. The answer depends, in part, on the extent to which communications are more likely to occur between consumers of similar taste for quality. Taken together, the two models therefore suggest that the firm's optimal product-policy response to the growth in social interactions depends on both the content and the structure of the underlying conversations. In addition, our results also make clear to researchers the importance of carefully specifying the nature of the social interactions and of considering the multidimensional effects they may have.