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Journal of Marketing Research Special Issue: Education and Marketing

Journal of Marketing Research Special Issue: Education and Marketing

Marilyn Stone

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Education and Marketing: Decision Making, Spending, and Consumption

Worldwide, the consumption and provision of education—whether in the private or public sector—is one of the most resource intensive and consequential activities for consumers and providers. The National Center for Education Statistics states the US spent $ 620 billion in 2012-13 on elementary and secondary schools. The College Board estimates the average, per-year, tuition and fees for the 2016–17 school year to be $33,480 at private colleges and $9,650 at public colleges for in-state residents. Millions of families have children and adults enrolled in schools, colleges, and universities, tutoring and test preparation services are business sectors worth billions of dollars, and online courses garner millions of viewers. Many innovations have impacted education including emergence of online and asynchronous education as well as free courses (e.g., Coursera) that democratize education on a global scale. Education is seen by many as a key input for changing consumer behaviors in contexts such as healthcare, financial literacy, and employment.  Education includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Primary and secondary education in public and private schools, as well as homeschooling  
  2. College education including undergraduate and graduate education 
  3. Educational services such as tutoring services, test preparation services, counselling services, and so forth 
  4. Continuing education for professionals through non-degree programs 
  5. Self-guided learning through online media—LinkedIn Learning, MOOCs, YouTube videos, Khan Academy 
  6. Education programs aimed at altering consumer behaviors such as smoking cessation programs, financial literacy programs, and job-training programs

Several issues bear investigation from a marketing viewpoint, and by marketing scholars:

  • How do ratings, rankings and reviews of educational institutions and programs—schools, universities, undergraduate/graduate programs—affect decision making among administrators, consumers, and other constituents (including regulators)? 
  • What is the likely impact of regulatory oversight of education-related factors such as evaluation of schools and universities, different funding levels and mechanisms for them, as well as introduction of “private” competition in settings viewed as public goods (e.g., charter and private schools)? 
  • How do decision makers such as prospective students and their families weight different attributes (credence, information, experiential) and evaluate different educational alternatives? Does the composition of the choice set affect decision making in educational contexts? 
  • How is the consumption of education evaluated over time, and what effect does this have on the strategy of an organization offering education?  
  • Why and when do families decide to use education services such as tutoring, test-preparation service, and college counselling for their children? How does this affect short-term and long-term outcomes for providers and consumers? 
  • How does a consumer’s identity, including factors such as race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and language spoken in the home, affect education-relevant decisions? How and why do these effects occur, and how can they inform the broader issues faced by families, administrators, and regulators? 
  • How can field experiments and/or natural experiments inform education policy with regards to pedagogical techniques and success of different outcomes.

These issues represent a small sampling of potential topics that may be studied within the domain of “Education & Marketing: Decision Making, Spending, and Consumption.”  All perspectives and approaches to examine relevant issues are welcome. These include but are not limited to analytical, behavioral, empirical, strategic, and structural perspectives. We encourage submissions leveraging a variety of methods, including lab experiments, field experiments, analysis of secondary datasets, analytical models, and qualitative research.

Process – We will host a conference associated with the special issue. Research papers may first be submitted for presentation at the conference. Papers accepted at the conference may be further developed and submitted for a regular JMR review process for the Special Issue (non-conference papers can also be submitted for the Special Issue). Colleagues may also submit papers directly to the special issue.

Conference​: 21-22 February 2019 (Preceding Winter AMA)


Special Issue Submission Deadline:  01 June 2019

Special Issue Publication: December 2020

Special Issue Editors: 
Rajdeep Grewal – University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 
Robert Meyer – University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 
Vikas Mittal – Rice University, Houston, TX

All manuscripts should be submitted online at:

Marilyn Stone is Director, Academic Communities and Journals, American Marketing Association.