Faculty & Research

Guenter Hitsch

Guenter J. Hitsch

Kilts Family Professor of Marketing

Günter J. Hitsch studies quantitative marketing and industrial organization. His research interests include dynamic models of firm and consumer decision-making with a specific focus on dynamic advertising, pricing, sequential experimentation, and consumer discount factor estimation. His recent research focuses on the application and development of ideas from the machine learning and causal inference literatures in marketing and industrial organization, including customer-targeting and optimal pricing. His research also focuses on understanding the structure of the U.S. retail industry, with a specific focus on pricing and promotion setting.

Hitsch's research has been widely published and he has been invited to give talks at the University of California at Berkeley, Harvard University, Stanford University, Columbia University, Yale University, Northwestern University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He is the recipient of two Kilts Center Fellowships, a True North Communications Inc. Scholarship, and a Fellowship from the Ministry of Science in Austria. Hitsch is a member of the American Economic Association, American Marketing Association, the Econometric Society, and INFORMS.

He earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Vienna in 1995. Hitsch received a master's degree in economics in 1997 and a master's degree in economics in 1998, as well as a PhD in economics in 2001 from Yale. He joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 2001.

Hitsch enjoys skiing, cooking, and classical music. He wants his students to learn that "good marketing isn't fluffy."


2020 - 2021 Course Schedule

Number Title Quarter
37103 Data-Driven Marketing 2021  (Spring)
37105 Data Science for Marketing Decision Making 2020  (Autumn)
37601 Marketing Workshop 2020  (Autumn)
37803 Data Driven Marketing 2020  (Autumn)
37904 Advanced Quantitative Marketing 2021  (Winter)

Other Interests

Skiing, movies, and cooking.


Research Activities

Quantitative marketing and industrial organization; empirical models of consumer choice and competition; economics and marketing of new products; economics of dating and marriage markets.

With Jean-Pierre Dubé and Peter E. Rossi, “State Dependence and Alternative Explanations for Consumer Inertia,” RAND Journal of Economics, 41 (3) (2010).

With Jean-Pierre Dubé and Pradeep Chintagunta, “Tipping and Concentration in Markets with Indirect Network Effects,” Marketing Science, 29 (2) (2010).

With Ali Hortaçsu and Dan Ariely, “Matching and Sorting in Online Dating Markets,” American Economic Review, 100 (1) (2010).

With Jean-Pierre Dubé and Peter E. Rossi, "Do Switching Costs Make Markets Less Competitive?," Journal of Marketing Research, 46 (4) (2009).

"An Empirical Model of Optimal Dynamic Product Launch and Exit Under Demand Uncertainty," Marketing Science, 25 (1) (2006).

For a listing of research publications, please visit the university library listing page.

New: The Great Recession and Private Label Demand
Date Posted: Nov  21, 2014
We seek to determine how wealth and income influence the demand for private label (hereafter PL) products. In particular, we use the experience of the recent Great Recession to explore how larges changes in wealth and income affect the demand for private label products. Contrary to recent claims that the recession has sparked a sharp increase in Private Label demand, we find a long-term trend toward increasing acceptance of PL products that predates the Great Recession. There is little evidence that the Great Recession has changed the long-term trend. We link our panel data to store level data and establish that the PL trend is demand-based and does not stem from supply side factors such as pricing and availability. We exploit local variation in changes in housing values to estimate a wealth effect on private label demand. To estimate an income effect, we exploit variation in income across time for our panelists, controlling for local economic trends. We estimate significant but ...

REVISION: State Dependence and Alternative Explanations for Consumer Inertia
Date Posted: Apr  14, 2010
For many consumer packaged goods products, researchers have documented inertia in brand choice, a form of persistence whereby consumers have a higher probability of choosing a product that they have purchased in the past. Using data on margarine and refrigerated orange juice purchases, we show that the finding of inertia is robust to flexible controls for preference heterogeneity and not due to autocorrelated taste shocks. Thus, the inertia is at least partly due to structural, not spurious ...

REVISION: Do Switching Costs Make Markets Less Competitive?
Date Posted: Jan  19, 2009
The conventional wisdom in economic theory holds that switching costs make markets less competitive. This paper challenges this claim. We find that steady-state equilibrium prices may fall as switching costs are introduced into a simple model of dynamic price competition that allows for differentiated products and imperfect lock-in. To assess whether this finding is of empirical relevance, we consider a more general model with heterogeneous consumers. We calibrate this model with data from ...

New: Matching and Sorting in Online Dating
Date Posted: Mar  30, 2008
This paper studies the economics of match formation using a novel data set obtained from a major online dating service. Using detailed information on the users' attributes and interactions, we estimate a model of mate preferences. Based on the estimated preferences, we use the Gale-Shapley algorithm to predict the stable matches among the users of the dating site. Comparing the predicted and observed matching patterns, we find that the Gale-Shapley model explains the matches achieved by the ...

REVISION: Tipping and Concentration in Markets with Indirect Network Effects
Date Posted: Jan  24, 2008
This paper develops a framework to measure 'tipping' - the increase in a firm's market share dominance caused by indirect network effects. Our measure compares the expected concentration in a market to the hypothetical expected concentration that would arise in the absence of indirect network effects. In practice, this measure requires a model that can predict the counter-factual market concentration under different parameter values capturing the strength of indirect network effects. We build ...

REVISION: Category Pricing with State Dependent Utility
Date Posted: Dec  09, 2006
There is a substantial literature that documents the presence of state dependent utility with packaged goods data. Typically, a form of brand loyalty is detected whereby there is a higher probability of purchasing the same brand as has been purchased in the recent past. The economic significance of the measured loyalty remains an open question. We consider the category pricing problem in the presence of loyalty and demonstrate that a retailer has an incentive to invest in building brand ...

New: What Makes You Click? - Mate Preferences and Matching Outcomes in Online Dating
Date Posted: Apr  11, 2006
This paper uses a novel data set obtained from an online dating service to draw inferences on mate preferences and to investigate the role played by these preferences in determining match outcomes and sorting patterns. The empirical analysis is based on a detailed record of the site users' attributes and their partner search, which allows us to estimate a rich preference specification that takes into account a large number of partner characteristics. Our revealed preference estimates ...

An Empirical Model of Advertising Dynamics
Date Posted: Jan  31, 2005
We develop a model of dynamic advertising and apply it to the problem of optimal advertising scheduling through time. In many industries we observe advertising pulsing, whereby firms systematically switch advertising on and off at a high-frequency. The previous literature has explained such patterns through an S-shaped sales response to advertising, and long-run effects of advertising on demand (advertising carry-over). We extend a discrete choice based demand system to allow for a threshold ...