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Research Impact


Scholars from leading institutions of higher learning, including the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, have used the Nielsen datasets at the James M. Kilts Center for Marketing to generate insights for their research.


All publicly available research papers are available on Kilts Center at Chicago Booth Marketing Data Center Paper Series, which offers full-text search capabilities.  


In addition to the academic working papers, Chicago Booth distributes business-friendly articles on select research projects. The following is a current list of such articles. 

September 2022

Who Won the Twitter Fight Between Popeyes, Chick-Fil-A, and Wendy's?
Companies often use their Twitter handles to banter with each other. Researchers studied the case of the famous 2019 Twitter battle involving the fast-food chains Popeyes, Chick-fil-A, and Wendy’s.

Why the New Federal GMO Food Labels are Unlikely to Affect Sales
Debate on the subject of GMOs started in the 1970s and took off in the 1990s, when bioengineering technology became more widespread. Activists allege that genetically modified crops could be unsafe for humans and the environment.

June 2022

Why ‘Trading Down’ May Bias Our Picture of Inflation
During economic downturns such as the Great Recession, consumers choose cheaper products, such as generic versus name-brand goods. The reverse is true during times of expansion, when consumers choose more-expensive brands.

May 2022

Do Shoppers Have Too Many Choices? 
US consumer goods are proliferating rapidly, with implications for consumers and companies.

April 2022

Are Women Charged a ‘Pink Tax’ on Personal-Care Products?
For years, lawmakers and consumer advocates have argued that companies charge higher prices for women’s products than nearly identical offerings for men.

March 2022

How Do Americans Shop When a Natural Disaster Approaches?
When threatening weather approaches, grab your bottled water and peanut butter. 

January 2022

Want to Lower Food’s Carbon Footprint? Cut Out Snacks and Drinks
How you can reduce your carbon footprint by not buying that bag of chips. 

December 2021

Social Media Added to the Costs of the Flint Water Crisis
Why sales of bottled water in socially connected areas rose significantly after the states of emergency were declared.

October 2021

‘Natural beauty’ isn’t effortless (or free)
Consumers who say they want naturalness may actually want an artificially constructed aesthetic. 

September 2021

Does mandatory health labeling lead to healthier choices?
A study of breakfast cereals in Chile tests this theory. 

August 2021

Who is right about inflation?
The US Fed and consumers have very different expectations about the future.

July 2021

When recreational marijuana is legalized, cigarette sales rise
How decriminalizing marijuana actually boosts sales for tobacco companies. 

June 2021

Why craft beer’s rise is a warning flag for all sorts of big brands
Research suggests a supply-driven explanation for millennials’ taste for craft beer.

Do consumers invest in paper towels as well as stocks?
Why consumer goods are an appreciable component of overall wealth.

How all those political ads affect commercial advertising
Local advertisers strongly offset by political advertising.

March 2021

What happened when a US state scrapped the ‘tampon tax’
Is removing the tax on tampons and sanitary pads an efficient way to help women?

February 2021

How policy makers could address the food-insecurity epidemic
How can policy address the financial distress that creates headwinds for healthy eating?

January 2021

Super Bowl ads attract investors as well as customers
Ads may spark interest among potential investors.

November 2020

The downfall (and possible salvation) of expertise
Can experts win back the public's trust?

June 2020

Can government programs get people to eat more healthily?
A new framework can help the government make more efficient allocations in food policy for low-income households. 

Fox News causes viewers to disregard social distancing
The persuasive effect of Fox News may have discouraged viewers' cooperation with expert recommendations. 

May 2020

Business shutdowns hurt those just above the poverty line
Lower-income households found it hardest to smooth their outlays. 

Will COVID-19 lead to lower prices?
Stingier marketers protected themselves by maintaining higher prices—event in the downturn. 

Does extending jobless benefits help in a recession?
Some elements of the CARES Act will have the desired effect of bolstering consumer spending, the main driver of the US economy. 

When credit dries up, so does innovation
Credit shocks lead to lower investment in product development and innovation, which can stunt both a company's near-term performance and future growth potential. 

Consumers’ three-dimensional chess game in a recession
The combined effects of consumers changing how and where they shop in a shrinking economy have been poorly understood. 

As house prices fall, so will retail prices
Falling prices are likely to compound the effects of soaring unemployment and plunging business activity. 

Producers may contribute to the economic contagion from COVID-19
Economic shocks in one county hurt demand in that same county—but also changed what companies sold elsewhere. 

Why low-income families miss out on bulk buying
Geography, store location, liquidity, and storage capacity affect purchasing decisions. 

April 2020
How retailers inadvertently contribute to hoarding
Retailers' delay in increasing prices in response to demand spike may actually contribute to hoarding. 

October 2019
Demand for niche products is growing
Marketers will have to cater to increasingly narrow tastes.

June 2019
Why banning plastic bags doesn’t work as intended
Benefits of bag regulations are mitigated by changes in consumer behavior.

June 2019
Why the power of TV advertising has been overstated
Television advertising may be considerably less effective than published studies suggest.

April 2019
Battle of the coupons: How retailers and manufacturers compete
Different types of products call for different strategies in pricing and discount levels.

July 2018
The best way to price your single-serve coffee
Tied goods have generated high margins over time, but competition is changing that.

June 2018
When the government writes checks, consumers spend more
During the Great Recession, every $1 in stimulus led to 18 cents in additional local consumer spending.

June 2018
How to improve retailers’ decisions on what to sell
How retailers resolve the what-to-sell conundrum depends on whether price, convenience, or choice of brands matters most to a store’s specific clientele.

April 2018
How drug ads can help patients get access to treatment
Research suggests that marketing antidepressants to consumers has had some benefits, but hasn’t raised prices.

March 2018
E-cigarettes might (eventually) help smokers quit
E-cigarette use increases the probability that a smoker will try to kick the habit.

February 2018
Higher income, healthier groceries
Reexamining the conventional wisdom on food deserts

January 2018
The conventional wisdom on food deserts may be all wrong
Even when families have access to healthier foods, they don’t necessarily buy them.

December 2017
Do people tell economists the truth?
People aren’t necessarily accurate when they recount how they spend their money.

April 2017
Brand names are losing market share, regardless of rising incomes
Household income may have a smaller impact on the success of private-label brands than previously believed.

June 2015
Welcome to Nerdopolis
Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, may be, for many, a perfect place to live.

November 2015
Video:  What happens when brands lie?

December 2013
The secrets of shopping
Around the world, billions of sales transactions every month, down to a can of Coca-Cola from a local store, are recorded in some way by Nielsen, the measurement and information firm that has been gathering data from retailers and consumers for 90 years.

December 2006
The geography of brands
New insights into the local performance of nationally distributed brands

June 2002
Why responsiveness to retail promotions varies across retailers
New research looks beyond price cuts.

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