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Wittink was a true academic—curious and ready to embrace new ideas and methods—making significant contributions to marketing research and marketing practice. He played an important role in applying econometric methods to marketing problems, such as measuring the impact of advertising, sales promotions, and completion. Wittink also pushed the boundaries of methods like conjoint analysis. He was known for his fair mindedness and ability to look beyond the superficial to evaluate research based on its true merit. Wittink was a mentor and guide to many doctoral students and junior faculty members who benefited tremendously from his input and support.

The Dick Wittink prize is awarded annually to the best paper published in the preceding volume of the QME.

2023 Prize

The Dick Wittink Prize Committee is pleased to announce the 2023 winner of the 17th Annual Dick Wittink prize for the best paper published in the Quantitative Marketing and Economics journal.


Price dynamics of Swedish pharmaceuticals

by Aljoscha Janssen

This paper investigates price patterns of off-patent pharmaceuticals in Sweden. I show that price dynamics are dependent on the number of competitors in the market. The price patterns follow predictions from a model of dynamic price competition in which the demand for pharmaceuticals incorporates the known biases of consumers: habit persistence and brand preferences. Using the regulated market of Swedish pharmaceuticals, I show that price dynamics may help in identifying possible tacit collusion by manufacturers in markets where consumers experience behavioral frictions.

Price promotions and “freemium” app monetization

by Julian Runge, Jonathan Levav, and Harikesh S. Nair

The “freemium” model for digital goods involves selling a base version of the product for free, and making premium product features available to users only on payment. The success of the model is predicated on the ability to profitably convert free users to paying ones. Price promotions (or “sales”) are often used in freemium to induce this conversion. However, the causal effect of exposing consumers to such inter-temporal price variation is unclear. While sales can generate beneficial short-run conversion, they may be harmful in the long-run if consumers inter-temporally substitute purchases to periods with low prices, or use them as signals of low product quality. These long-run concerns may be accentuated in freemium apps, where the base version is sold for free, so that sales form extreme price cuts on the overall product combination. We work with the seller of a free-to-play video game to randomize entering cohorts of users into treatment and control conditions in which promotions for in-game purchases are turned on or off. We observe complete user behavior for half a year, including purchases and consumption of in-game goods, which, in contrast to much of the extant literature, enables us to assess possible substitution over time in consumption directly. We find that conversion and revenue improve in the treatment group; and detect no evidence of harmful inter-temporal substitution or negative inferences about quality from exposure to price variation, suggesting that promotions are profitable. We conjecture that the zero price of the base product that makes its consumption virtually costless, combined with the complementarity between the base product and premium features can help explain this. To the extent that this holds across freemium contexts, the positive effects of promotions documented here may hold more generally.

Past Winners