Shulman honored by top marketing and management journals

Jeffrey Shulman, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Washington Foster School of Business, has begun a three-year term on the editorial review board of the journal Marketing Science.

“It is rare for an assistant professor to be appointed to the review board of a premier journal,” says Foster School Dean James Jiambalvo, “so this is a great recognition of Jeff’s scholarship and the quality of the Foster School’s Marketing Department.”

This latest honor follows Shulman’s receipt of the 2010 Meritorious Service Award from Management Science, another top-tier business journal, recognizing the quality and quantity of reviews he has provided in recent years.

An expert in analytical models—translating real-world challenges into solvable mathematical problems—Shulman also was invited by Penn State University to teach an online seminar to PhD students around the world, in partnership with Fabio Caldieraro, a fellow assistant professor of marketing at the Foster School.

Game theorist

Shulman joined the Foster School in 2006 after earning his PhD from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

He was named Undergraduate Professor of the Quarter for marketing in 2007 and 2008, and he received the Dean’s Faculty Research Award in 2010.

Shulman’s scholarship, steeped in analytical modeling, focuses on marketing problems relating to pricing, information provision and product returns. He frequently works with game theory—a model that seeks “equilibrium,” a suite of decisions considered optimal by all competing parties.

The concept is illustrated in his study, “Managing Consumer Returns in a Competitive Environment” (with Anne Coughlan and R. Canan Savaskan), forthcoming in Management Science. Shulman finds that if one retail firm charges a restocking fee to cover the costs of product returns, its indecisive customers will flee to competitor firms that don’t charge a restocking fee, increasing their return costs and forcing them to raise overall prices. The equilibrium in this very real “game” situation, then, is for all competing firms to charge a restocking fee.

And in the working paper, “The Prisoner’s Dilemma of Hidden Services Fees” (with Xianjun Geng), Shulman establishes that surprising customers with additional fees after purchase (think wi-fi access at a hotel or a bag checking fee at the airport) can push a firm to lower base prices in order to woo more extra-fees-paying customers, resulting in diminished revenue in the long run.

Expert judgment

Shulman is only beginning his academic career, but he’s already being recognized for his expertise and judgment in discerning the contribution of new scholarship to the theory and practice of his field. And he’s not shy to step up to the plate.

“Marketing is such an important and quickly evolving field that I think it’s important for us all to take part in guiding it toward the future,” he says. “I appreciate the constructive, valuable feedback that I’ve gotten to improve my research, and I feel indebted to do what I can to evaluate and help improve the research of my colleagues.”

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