IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/inm/ormnsc/v57y2011i5p828-842.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

How Does Popularity Information Affect Choices? A Field Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Catherine Tucker & Juanjuan Zhang, 2011. "How Does Popularity Information Affect Choices? A Field Experiment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(5), pages 828-842, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:57:y:2011:i:5:p:828-842
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1110.1312
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sandra E. Black, 1999. "Do Better Schools Matter? Parental Valuation of Elementary Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 577-599.
    2. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro & Michael Sinkinson, 2011. "The Effect of Newspaper Entry and Exit on Electoral Politics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 2980-3018, December.
    3. Yubo Chen & Jinhong Xie, 2005. "Third-Party Product Review and Firm Marketing Strategy," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 24(2), pages 218-240, February.
    4. Wernerfelt, Birger, 1995. " A Rational Reconstruction of the Compromise Effect: Using Market Data to Infer Utilities," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(4), pages 627-633, March.
    5. Charness, Gary & Haruvy, Ernan & Sonsino, Doron, 2007. "Social distance and reciprocity: An Internet experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 88-103, May.
    6. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992. "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
    7. Anderson, Lisa R & Holt, Charles A, 1997. "Information Cascades in the Laboratory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 847-862, December.
    8. Eric T. Anderson & Duncan I. Simester, 2004. "Long-Run Effects of Promotion Depth on New Versus Established Customers: Three Field Studies," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 23(1), pages 4-20, February.
    9. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
    10. Dmitri Kuksov & J. Miguel Villas-Boas, 2010. "When More Alternatives Lead to Less Choice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(3), pages 507-524, 05-06.
    11. David Lucking-Reiley, 1999. "Using Field Experiments to Test Equivalence between Auction Formats: Magic on the Internet," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1063-1080, December.
    12. Abhijit V. Banerjee, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817.
    13. Celen, Bogachan & Kariv, Shachar, 2004. "Observational learning under imperfect information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 72-86, April.
    14. Catherine Tucker & Juanjuan Zhang, 2010. "Growing Two-Sided Networks by Advertising the User Base: A Field Experiment," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(5), pages 805-814, 09-10.
    15. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-209, January.
    16. Hongbin Cai & Yuyu Chen & Hanming Fang, 2009. "Observational Learning: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 864-882, June.
    17. AfDB AfDB, 2010. "Working Paper Series – Author Guidelines," Working Paper Series 357, African Development Bank.
    18. Juanjuan Zhang, 2010. "The Sound of Silence: Observational Learning in the U.S. Kidney Market," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(2), pages 315-335, 03-04.
    19. Duncan Simester, 1995. "Signalling Price Image Using Advertised Prices," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(2), pages 166-188.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:57:y:2011:i:5:p:828-842. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/inforea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.