Prof. Juanjuan Zhang

EPOCH Foundation Professor of International Management

Assistant

Briana Blake
brianabl@mit.edu

Areas of Interest and Expertise

Observational Learning
Social Influence, Inference and Firm Interference
Information and Incentives
Product Development
Experimental Economics
Marketing Strategy

Research Summary

Professor Zhang is interested in how people learn by observing others’ behaviors (“observational learning”). Her empirical studies investigate the impact of consumer observational learning in a variety of markets, including microfinance, online communities, real estate, and organ transplant adoption. The findings have informed her theoretical exploration of firm-side responses to harness the power of observation learning. She finds that, counter-intuitively, “demarketing” can be an optimal popularity management strategy. Her recent work extends the understanding of observational learning into the intra-personal domain, where she studies amnesia and memory manipulation.

A related topic that intrigues Zhang is how information itself can be a product and how it is produced. This perspective allows her to analyze why firms would continue bad products, why personalization may damage profits, and how companies should manage consumers’ self-discovery of their preferences.

Zhang’s research has been published in top academic journals such as Marketing Science and Management Science. Her paper on observational learning in the transplant kidney market won the 2010 Frank M. Bass Award for the best marketing paper derived from a Ph.D. thesis published in an INFORMS-sponsored journal, and was finalist for the 2010 John D. C. Little Award for the best marketing paper published in Marketing Science or Management Science.

Recent Work