Howard Dissertation Winners 2011


Matthew Selove has won the 2011 John A. Howard/AMA Doctoral Dissertation Competition. Elisabeth Honka and Rom Schrift received honorable mention

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AMAF – American Marketing Assocation Foundation

2011 John A. Howard/AMA Doctoral Dissertation Competition
Recognizing Excellent Marketing Dissertations for Over 50 Years
Award Winner and Honorable Mentions

The John A. Howard AMA Doctoral Dissertation Endowment was established in 1992 with the initial gift from Dr. Jagdish Sheth of Emory University in honor of his advisor, John Howard. The purpose of the endowment is to both assure the continuity of the program and to further promote the importance of the dissertation process.

This year, 38 submissions were submitted for review. The competition was chaired by Sandy Jap, Dean’s Term Chair and Professor of Marketing, Goizueta Business School at Emory University.

The three judges who selected the award-winning submission were:

Eric T. Anderson
Hartmarx Professor of Marketing
Director of the Center for Global Marketing Practices
Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

Chris A. Janiszewski
JCPenney Professor of Marketing, Warrington College of Business Administration
University of Florida

Baohung Sun
Carnegie Bosch Professor of Marketing
Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University

The winner of the 2011 John A. Howard AMA Doctoral Dissertation Competition is:

Matthew Selove, Assistant Professor of Marketing, USC Marshall School of Business
Degree Granting Institution: MIT Sloan School of Management
Dissertation Chair: Birger Wernerfelt Title of the Dissertation: How Do Firms Become Different? A Dynamic Model

A short abstract of the winning dissertation appears at the bottom of the announcement.

The judges also recommended Honorable Mentions for two dissertations, which are:

Elisabeth Honka, Assistant Professor of Marketing, University of Texas at Dallas
Degree Granting Institution: University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Dissertation Chair: Pradeep Chintagunta
Title of the Dissertation: Quantifying Search and Switching Costs in the U.S. Auto Insurance Industry

Rom Schrift, Assistant Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Degree Granting Institution: Columbia Business School, Columbia University
Dissertation Chairs: Oded Netzer and Ran Kivetz
Title of the Dissertation: Complicating Choice


How Do Firms Become Different? A Dynamic Model
Winning Dissertation Abstract
Matthew Selove

This paper presents a dynamic investment game in which firms that are initially identical develop assets which are specialized to different market segments. The model assumes there are increasing returns to investment in a segment, for example, due to word-of-mouth or learning curve effects. In equilibrium, firms that are only slightly different focus all of their investment in different segments, causing small random differences to expand into large differences. I derive conditions that guarantee these differences persist forever. However, I also show that if firms are sufficiently patient or if sufficiently large random shocks are possible, then there is always an equilibrium in which the firm focused on the smaller segment changes its strategy, attacking its rival until it drives the rival out of the larger segment.