Generalized Reverse Discrete Choice Models
Marketing practitioners and academics have shown a keen interest in the processes that drive consumers’ choices since the early work of Guadagni and Little (1982). Over the past decade or so, a number of alternative models have been proposed, implemented and analyzed. The common behavioral assumption that underlines these models of discrete choice is random utility maximization (RUM). The RUM assumption, in its simplest form, posits that a consumer with a finite set of brands to choose from chooses the brand that gives her the maximum amount of utility. An alternative approach would be to assume that consumers choose the alternative that offers them the least disutility. Our paper proposes and tests a broad class of generalized extreme value models based on this hypothesis. We model the decision process of the consumer the assumption random disutility minimization (RDM) and derive a new class of discrete choice models based on this assumption. Our findings reveal that there are significant theoretical and econometric differences between the discrete choice models derived from a RUM framework and the RDM framework proposed in this paper. On the theoretical front we find that the class of discrete choice models based on the assumption of disutility minimization is structurally different from the models in the literature. Further, the models in this class are available in closed form and exhibit the same flexibility as the GEV models proposed by McFadden (1978). In fact, the number of parameters are identical to and have the same interpretation as those obtained via RUM based GEV models. In addition to the theoretical differences we also uncover significant empirical insights. With the computing effort and time for both models being roughly the same this new set of models offers marketing academics and researchers a viable new tool with which to investigate discrete choice behavior. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005
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