Oleg Urminsky studies consumer and managerial decision making and its implications for marketing management. He is particularly interested in goals and motivations, intertemporal decision making, consumer beliefs and inference, statistical reasoning and customer relationship management (e.g., reward/loyalty programs and incentive systems). He teaches marketing research for MBA students.
Urminsky's paper, "The Goal-Gradient Hypothesis Resurrected: Purchase Acceleration, Illusionary Goal Progress, and Customer Retention" with Ran Kivetz and Yuhuang Zheng appeared in the Journal of Marketing Research and was a finalist for the 2007 Paul Green award and 2011 O'Dell award. The paper studies how motivation and behavior changes as people get closer to the goal of earning a reward. His more recent research studies how 'mere token' immediate rewards can make people more patient, the role that a belief in a stable self-identity (e.g. 'connectedness' to the future self) plays in making farsighted choices, and how consumers reason with prices and units.
Urminsky's past experience includes serving as a research director and corporate vice president at Young & Rubicam Advertising, where he worked on the largest worldwide study of brands, the Brand Asset Valuator, investigating the links between consumer perceptions and subsequent financial performance. He was analytic director of NeuroCorp Predictive Models, building volume prediction models for site-selection software. He has also worked as chief statistician at Penn, Schoen & Berland, conducting custom market research.
Urminsky earned a bachelor's degree in analytic philosophy and mathematics from Princeton University, holds a master's degree in statistics from the Stern School of Business and earned his PhD in applied statistics and psychological measurement from Columbia University.
2015 - 2016 Course Schedule
Decision making; goals and motivation; intertemporal choice.
With Ran Kivetz and Yuhuang Zheng,"The Goal-Gradient Hypothesis Resurrected: Purchase Acceleration, Illusionary Goal Progress, and Customer Retention," Journal of Marketing Research (2006).
With Ran Kivetz, "Scope Insensitivity and The ‘Mere Token’ Effect," Journal of Marketing Research (2011).
With Daniel Bartels, "On Intertemporal Selfishness: The Perceived Instability of Identity Underlies Impatient Consumption," Journal of Consumer Research (2011).
With Luxi Shen, " Making sense of nonsense: The visual salience of units determines sensitivity to magnitude," Psychological Science (forthcoming).
For a listing of research publications please visit
’s university library listing