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How Does Popularity Information Affect Choices? A Field Experiment

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Author Info

  • Catherine Tucker

    ()
    (MIT Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142)

  • Juanjuan Zhang

    ()
    (MIT Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142)

Abstract

Popularity information is usually thought to reinforce existing sales trends by encouraging customers to flock to mainstream products with broad appeal. We suggest a countervailing market force: popularity information may benefit niche products with narrow appeal disproportionately, because the same level of popularity implies higher quality for narrow-appeal products than for broad-appeal products. We examine this hypothesis empirically using field experiment data from a website that lists wedding service vendors. Our findings are consistent with this hypothesis: narrow-appeal vendors receive more visits than equally popular broad-appeal vendors after the introduction of popularity information. This paper was accepted by Pradeep Chintagunta, marketing.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1110.1312
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

Volume (Year): 57 (2011)
Issue (Month): 5 (May)
Pages: 828-842

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Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:57:y:2011:i:5:p:828-842

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Related research

Keywords: popularity information; observational learning; field experiment; Internet marketing;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Claussen, Jörg & Kretschmer, Tobias & Mayrhofer, Philip, 2010. "Incentives for Quality over Time – The Case of Facebook Applications," Discussion Papers in Business Administration 12500, University of Munich, Munich School of Management.
  2. Heski Bar-Isaac & Guillermo Caruana & Vicente Cunat, 2012. "Search, Design, and Market Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 1140-60, April.
  3. Knox, Stephanie A. & Viney, Rosalie C. & Gu, Yuanyuan & Hole, Arne R. & Fiebig, Denzil G. & Street, Deborah J. & Haas, Marion R. & Weisberg, Edith & Bateson, Deborah, 2013. "The effect of adverse information and positive promotion on women's preferences for prescribed contraceptive products," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 70-80.
  4. Hong, Sounman, 2012. "Online news on Twitter: Newspapers’ social media adoption and their online readership," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 69-74.
  5. Ajay Agrawal & Christian Catalini & Avi Goldfarb, 2013. "Some Simple Economics of Crowdfunding," NBER Chapters, in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 14 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Helen Weeds, 2009. "Superstars and the Long Tail: The impact of technology on market structure in media industries," Economics Discussion Papers 669, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  7. Maximilian Conze & Michael Kramm, 2013. "The Recommendation Effect in the Hotelling Game - A New Result for an Old Model," Ruhr Economic Papers 0460, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  8. John Hauser, 2011. "A marketing science perspective on recognition-based heuristics (and the fast-and-frugal paradigm)," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 6(5), pages 396-408, July.

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