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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


Kenan Institute 2022 Annual Theme: Stakeholder Capitalism
Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues



Brands seeking to achieve reduced sugar content in their products generally adjust their product line to include products (i) with lower sugar content, which decreases the brand’s relative sugar content, or introduce (ii) smaller package sizes, which lowers its sugar content per package. Such sugar reduction efforts can affect consumers’ taste, health, and/or convenience perceptions, which influence products’ sales, so the current study investigates the effects of sugar reduction efforts on both volume and sugar sales in the U.S. soda category. A uniquely compiled data set, pertaining to sugar reduction efforts involving almost 140,000 product additions by nearly 80 brands over 11 years in the United States, shows that on average, sugar content (package size) reductions perform worse (better) than similar, non-reduced products.

The list of stores that have closed or gone bankrupt in 2020 reads like a “who’s who” of venerable retail giants. Although retailing has been experiencing tectonic shifts for several years, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated both challenges and opportunities. In this Kenan Insight, we explore four major trends in retail, particularly in food retailing.

We examine the impact of logistics performance metrics such as delivery time, and customer’s requested delivery speed on logistics service ratings and third-party sellers’ sales on an e-commerce platform.

We compare several approaches for generating a prioritized list of products to be counted in a retail store, with the objective of detecting inventory record inaccuracy and unknown out-of-stocks. We consider both "rule-based" approaches, which sort products based on heuristic indices, and "model-based" approaches, which maintain probability distributions for the true inventory levels updated based on sales and replenishment observations.

We estimate the causal effects of employee-friendly scheduling practices on store financial performance at the US retailer Gap, Inc. The randomized field experiment evaluated a multi-component intervention designed to improve dimensions of work schedules – inconsistency, unpredictability, inadequacy, and lack-of-employee control – shown to undermine employee well-being and productivity.

We study differences in the effects of prices, non-price promotions, and brand line length on brand shares at different retail formats. Our conceptual framework rests on the presence of trip level fixed and category level variable utility components and shows how the trade-off between these components results in (i) different formats visited on different types of shopping trips; and (ii) differential marginal sensitivities of brand shares to changes in marketing mix variables across trip types.

In this paper, we empirically analyze the determinants of excess inventory announcement and the stock market reaction to the announcement in the US retail sector. We examine if the firm’s operational competence, as measured by total factor productivity (TFP), can explain the retailer’s excess inventory announcement. We also investigate if the stock market reaction to such announcements is conditional on the operational competence of the announcing firm. We use a combined dataset on excess inventory announcements, annual financial statements, and daily stock prices of publicly traded retailers in the USA between 1990 and 2011.