Matching Items (18)

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Anonymous social networks versus peer networks in restaurant choice

Description

I compare the effect of anonymous social network ratings (Yelp.com) and peer group recommendations on restaurant demand. I conduct a two-stage choice experiment in which restaurant visits in the first

I compare the effect of anonymous social network ratings (Yelp.com) and peer group recommendations on restaurant demand. I conduct a two-stage choice experiment in which restaurant visits in the first stage are informed by online social network reviews from Yelp.com, and visits in the second stage by peer network reviews. I find that anonymous reviewers have a stronger effect on restaurant preference than peers. I also compare the power of negative reviews with that of positive reviews. I found that negative reviews are more powerful compared to the positive reviews on restaurant preference. More generally, I find that in an environment of high attribute uncertainty, information gained from anonymous experts through social media is likely to be more influential than information obtained from peers.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Demand for variety under costly consumer search: a multi-discrete/continuous approach

Description

Consumers search before making virtually any purchase. The notion that consumers engage in costly search is well-understood to have deep implications for market performance. However to date, no theoretical model

Consumers search before making virtually any purchase. The notion that consumers engage in costly search is well-understood to have deep implications for market performance. However to date, no theoretical model allows for the observation that consumers often purchase more than a single product in an individual shopping occasion. Clothing, food, books, and music are but four important examples of goods that are purchased many items at a time. I develop a modeling approach that accounts for multi-purchase occasions in a structural way. My model shows that as preference for variety increases, so does the size of the consideration set. Search models that ignore preference for variety are, therefore, likely to under-predict the number of products searched. It is generally thought that lower search costs increase retail competition which pushes prices and assortments down. However, I show that there is an optimal number of products to offer depending on the intensity of consumer search costs. Consumers with high search costs prefer to shop at a store with a large assortment of goods and purchase multiple products, even if the prices that firm charges is higher than competing firms' prices. On the other hand, consumers with low search costs tend to purchase fewer goods and shop at the stores that have lower prices, as long as the store has a reasonable assortment offering. The implications for market performance are dramatic and pervasive. In particular, the misspecification of demand model in which search is important and/or multiple discreteness is observed will produce biased parameter estimates leading to erroneous managerial conclusions.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Three essays on consumer behavior under uncertainty

Description

It is well understood that decisions made under uncertainty differ from those made without risk in important and significant ways. Yet, there is very little research into how uncertainty manifests

It is well understood that decisions made under uncertainty differ from those made without risk in important and significant ways. Yet, there is very little research into how uncertainty manifests itself in the most ubiquitous of decision-making environments: Consumers' day-to-day decisions over where to shop, and what to buy for their daily grocery needs. Facing a choice between stores that either offer relatively stable "everyday low prices" (EDLP) or variable prices that reflect aggressive promotion strategies (HILO), consumers have to choose stores under price-uncertainty. I find that consumers' attitudes toward risk are critically important in determining store-choice, and that heterogeneity in risk attitudes explains the co-existence of EDLP and HILO stores - an equilibrium that was previously explained in somewhat unsatisfying ways. After choosing a store, consumers face another source of risk. While knowing the quality or taste of established brands, consumers have very little information about new products. Consequently, consumers tend to choose smaller package sizes for new products, which limits their exposure to the risk that the product does not meet their prior expectations. While the observation that consumers purchase small amounts of new products is not new, I show how this practice is fully consistent with optimal purchase decision-making by utility-maximizing consumers. I then use this insight to explain how manufacturers of consumer packaged goods (CPGs) respond to higher production costs. Because consumers base their purchase decisions in part on package size, manufacturers can use package size as a competitive tool in order to raise margins in the face of higher production costs. While others have argued that manufacturers reduce package sizes as a means of raising unit-prices (prices per unit of volume) in a hidden way, I show that the more important effect is a competitive one: Changes in package size can soften price competition, so manufacturers need not rely on fooling consumers in order to pass-through cost increases through changes in package size. The broader implications of consumer behavior under risk are dramatic. First, risk perceptions affect consumers' store choice and product choice patterns in ways that can be exploited by both retailers and manufacturers. Second, strategic considerations prevent manufacturers from manipulating package size in ways that seem designed to trick consumers. Third, many services are also offered as packages, and also involve uncertainty, so the effects identified here are likely to be pervasive throughout the consumer economy.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Direct-marketing strategy conceptualization for small farmers in Iowa: decision-making activities and their parallels to the design process

Description

This study explores the processes of designing strategies. The context of this research is scoped to the direct-marketing activities of small farm operators in eastern Iowa. The research intent is

This study explores the processes of designing strategies. The context of this research is scoped to the direct-marketing activities of small farm operators in eastern Iowa. The research intent is to explore and articulate trends in decision-making processes that assist small farm operators in eastern Iowa with direct marketing farm-to-table products, to explore and articulate how the design process creates differentiated value, and to explore and articulate the relationship between the design process and the way that small farm operators in eastern Iowa conceptualize their direct-marketing strategies.

The research design takes a post-positivist approach and uses a grounded theory methodology. The study does not have a starting hypothesis but instead starts with the research intent described previously. Convergent mixed methods and a flexible plan are used for data collection including semi-structured interviews and surveys with key concepts operationalized into Likert scales. The participants are selected from eastern Iowa farmers’ markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) directories. For the qualitative data analysis, a grounded theory method is used to code interview response data, categorize the codes into related groups, and let the themes and sub-themes emerge from the data. For the quantitative data analysis, descriptive and inferential statistics are calculated on the aggregate data set.

The study finds that small farm operators are making strategic decisions about marketing mix variables such as product quality and relationship building, there are statistically significant correlations between design concepts and direct-marketing strategies, and that farmers designed their strategies by using the design process.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Consumer Demand for Local Food from Direct-to-Consumer versus Intermediated Marketing Channels

Description

Consumers can purchase local food through intermediated marketing channels, such as grocery stores, or through direct-to-consumer marketing channels, for instance, farmers markets. While the number of farms that utilize direct-to-consumer

Consumers can purchase local food through intermediated marketing channels, such as grocery stores, or through direct-to-consumer marketing channels, for instance, farmers markets. While the number of farms that utilize direct-to-consumer outlets keeps increasing, the direct-to-consumer sales remain lower than intermediated sales. If consumers prefer to purchase local food through intermediated channels, then policies designed to support direct channels may be misguided. Using a variety of experiments, this dissertation investigates consumer preferences for local food and their demand differentiated by marketing channel. In the first essay, I examine the existing literature on consumer preferences for local food by applying meta-regression analysis to a set of eligible research papers. My analysis provides evidence of statistically significant willingness to pay for local food products. Moreover, I find that a methodological approach and study-specific characteristics have a significant influence on the reported estimates for local attribute. By separating the demand for local from the demand for a particular channel, the second essay attempts to disentangle consumers’ preferences for marketing channels and the local-attribute in their food purchases. Using an online choice experiment, I find that consumers are willing to pay a premium for local food. However, they are not willing to pay premiums for local food that is sold at farmers markets relative to supermarkets. Therefore, in the third essay I seek to explain the rise in intermediated local by investigating local food shopping behavior. I develop a model of channel-selection in a nested context and apply it to the primary data gathered through an online food diary. I find that, while some consumers enjoy shopping at farmers markets to meet their objectives, such as socialization with farmers, the majority of consumers buy local food from supermarkets because they offer convenient settings where a variety of products can be bought as one basket. My overall results suggest that, if the goal is to increase the sales of local food, regardless of the channel, then existing supply-chain relationships in the local food channel appear to be performing well.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Three essays on innovation: optimal licensing strategies, new variety adoption, and consumer preference in a peer network

Description

It is well understood that innovation drives productivity growth in agriculture. Innovation, however, is a process that involves activities distributed throughout the supply chain. In this dissertation I investigate

It is well understood that innovation drives productivity growth in agriculture. Innovation, however, is a process that involves activities distributed throughout the supply chain. In this dissertation I investigate three topics that are at the core of the distribution and diffusion of innovation: optimal licensing of university-based inventions, new variety adoption among farmers, and consumers’ choice of new products within a social network environment.

University researchers assume an important role in innovation, particularly as a result of the Bayh-Dole Act, which allowed universities to license inventions funded by federal research dollars, to private industry. Aligning the incentives to innovate at the university level with the incentives to adopt downstream, I show that non-exclusive licensing is preferred under both fixed fee and royalty licensing. Finding support for non-exclusive licensing is important as it provides evidence that the concept underlying the Bayh-Dole Act has economic merit, namely that the goals of university-based researchers are consistent with those of society, and taxpayers, in general.

After licensing, new products enter the diffusion process. Using a case study of small holders in Mozambique, I observe substantial geographic clustering of new-variety adoption decisions. Controlling for the other potential factors, I find that information diffusion through space is largely responsible for variation in adoption. As predicted by a social learning model, spatial effects are not based on geographic distance, but rather on neighbor-relationships that follow from information exchange. My findings are consistent with others who find information to be the primary barrier to adoption, and means that adoption can be accelerated by improving information exchange among farmers.

Ultimately, innovation is only useful when adopted by end consumers. Consumers’ choices of new products are determined by many factors such as personal preferences, the attributes of the products, and more importantly, peer recommendations. My experimental data shows that peers are indeed important, but “weak ties” or information from friends-of-friends is more important than close friends. Further, others regarded as experts in the subject matter exert the strongest influence on peer choices.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Umbrella branding of private labels

Description

Private labels command a growing share of food retailers' shelf space. In this dissertation, I explain this phenomenon as resulting from "umbrella branding," or the ability of a single

Private labels command a growing share of food retailers' shelf space. In this dissertation, I explain this phenomenon as resulting from "umbrella branding," or the ability of a single brand to reach across categories. Conceptually, I define umbrella branding as a behavioral attribute that describes a shopper's tendency to ascribe a performance bond to a brand, or to associate certain performance characteristics to a private label brand, across multiple categories. In the second chapter, I describe the performance bond theory in detail, and then test this theory using scanner data in the chapter that follows. Because secondary data has limitations for testing behavioral theories, however, I test the performance bond theory of umbrella branding using a laboratory experiment in the fourth chapter. In this chapter, I find that households tend to transfer their perception of private label performance across categories, or that a manifestation of umbrella branding behavior can indeed explain private labels' success. In the fifth chapter, I extend this theory to compare umbrella branding in international markets, and find that performance transference takes its roots in consumers' cultural backgrounds. Taken together, my results suggest that umbrella branding is an important behavioral mechanism, and one that can be further exploited by retailers across any consumer good category with strong credence attributes.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Building and assessing the capacity of farmers organizations: the case of the United Nations World Food Programmes Purchase for Progress

Description

ABSTRACT

Intermediating between farmers and development projects, farmers’ organizations (FOs) have the potential to improve rural market access and promote equitable growth by reducing transaction costs, strengthening producer bargaining power, and

ABSTRACT

Intermediating between farmers and development projects, farmers’ organizations (FOs) have the potential to improve rural market access and promote equitable growth by reducing transaction costs, strengthening producer bargaining power, and enabling collective action. Capacity building of FOs is a cornerstone of rural development policies and programs, such as the United Nations World Food Programme’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) project, which partnered with 830 FOs representing 1.7 million farmers from 2008 through 2014.

Despite significant donor investment, a unifying framework defining the concept and measurement of capacity building has eluded development practitioners. The core challenge originates from the paradigm shift away from top-down development toward participatory capacity building. Motivated by the practical difficulties encountered in ceding control to beneficiaries to enable their empowerment and self-determination, this study seeks to clarify conceptualizations of FO capacity and FO capacity building, to refine monitoring and evaluation of capacity building initiatives, and to develop and validate indicators and indices of organizational maturity and capacity.

Drawing on a critical review of the capacity building literature, this study develops an integrated, multi-level, capacity building framework and elaborates different levels of FO participation at each stage of the capacity building process. Through this lens, the research analyzes 11 organizational capacity assessment (OCA) tools and methodologies, and constructs 33 indicators of functional organizational capital to address OCA content gaps in conflict resolution, member participation, adaptive capacity, and the drivers of organizational change and collective action. The research further proposes methodological changes for increasing member participation in OCA to reduce reporting bias, to build knowledge and planning capacities, and to engender empowerment.

The indicators developed are tested on primary data gathered from P4P (treatment) and non-P4P (control) FOs in Ghana and Malawi. Results show that P4P has positively impacted the organizational capacity of participating groups, although there are regional differences. The statistical analysis validates most of the indicators and indices developed from this study’s participatory capacity building framework. Overall, this research contributes to the understanding of what FO capacity building means and how to measure it.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Managing Food Loss and Food Waste in the Supply Chain

Description

The global population is expected to reach 10.5 billion by 2050. With the increase in population, food production needs to increase by at least 70% in 2050. This would require

The global population is expected to reach 10.5 billion by 2050. With the increase in population, food production needs to increase by at least 70% in 2050. This would require a several-fold increase in food production. However, scarcity in land availability, a falling water table, weather variability, and an increase in the cost of agricultural operations have made this difficult. The gap between food supply and demand could be minimized if food losses are reduced during production, post-harvest activities, and food waste during consumption. This dissertation focuses on food loss (FL) by growers and food-waste (FW) by households. Specifically, the dissertation first, investigates the impact of vertical coordination on FL in India. Secondly, the dissertation examines the impact of offline and online shopping on FW by American households. The FL study uses farm-level data from India and a novel estimation method in the literature. Findings show that agribusiness firms rejected a significant quantity of the product due to quality standards. The amount of produce rejected was directly impacted by labor and transportation costs. Modeling and simulating the effects of labor and transport costs show that lowering labor and transport costs for the smallholder growers would reduce FL. The FW study uses scanner data of a popular retailing chain in the United States. Using the behavior of over-purchasing of impulse products and machine learning approach, the predict the over-purchasing of impulse products across online and offline (grocery stores) channels. The study finds that households over-purchase 29% more of impulse products (danish pastries, sweet bread, and cakes) when shopping online compared to offline shopping. The dissertation provides two critical insights related to the decision-making process of growers and grocery shoppers. First, growers' decision on reducing FL is related to the quantity of produce rejected by contracting firms and selling produce in the spot markets. Second, FW is significantly related to a grocery shopper’s choice of a shopping channel and the decision on how much to purchase.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020