Research Interests: Behavioral Economics, Experimental Economics, Applied Microeconomics, Decision Making, Negotiation, Gender
Jennie Huang is a doctoral candidate in the Business Economics and Public Policy Department at Wharton. She is a behavioral and experimental economist with research interests in decision making and negotiation. She uses experiments to explore how social preferences and information affect consumer decision making. In particular, her research examines how information can lead to deviations from classical conceptions of rationality but can be explained by social preferences, such as social norms or fairness concerns.
Jennie received her B.A. in economics from the University of Chicago in 2012, after which she worked as an economic consultant for Navigant Consulting Inc.
Jennie Huang (Draft), Transaction Utility and Consumer Choice (Job Market Paper).
Abstract: I investigate the role of transaction utility on consumer choice. I design two laboratory paradigms to mirror shopping experiences using discounts and mark-ups (Study 1) and coupons (Study 2). In my experiments, participants purchase virtual products, allowing me to isolate transaction utility from inferences of product quality. Results reveal that consumers experience transaction utility even over these virtual products and will sacrifice monetary payoffs for transaction utility. Participants gain utility from perceived discounts, disutility from perceived mark-ups, and utility from using more of a coupon. My estimates suggest consumers’ marginal rate of substitution between study earnings and transaction utility is: 37-57 cents to gain a dollar of perceived discount and 37-78 cents to avoid a dollar of perceived mark-up. These estimates suggest a large relevance for transaction utility across a wide array of consumer decisions and purchasing behavior.
Jennie Huang (Work In Progress), Make it a Large? Coupons as Targets.
Abstract: This paper explores the effect of providing a coupon with an irrelevant cap as a reference point on consumer behavior. I use a lab-field hybrid “coffee drink experiment” where subjects are randomly assigned to receive either a free coffee-based drink coupon with no price limit, or a coupon with a value cap of $8.00. I find subjects with a value cap chose larger and more expensive drinks, and made more costly modifications to their drinks in order to maximize the utility from the free drink credit with a cap compared to those without the cap. I posit value caps act as targets, and may increase salience on the value of the deal.
Abstract: Research from the last three decades suggests that fairness plays an important role in economic transactions. However, the vast majority of this evidence investigates behavior in a full-information environment. We develop a new experimental paradigm—which nests the widely used Ultimatum Game—to show that the role of fairness in economic transactions depends fundamentally on the information structure. We find that when transacting agents are less informed, inequality increases. In the absence of information, proposers give less-fair offers and report believing that responders will accept them. Responders do, in fact, accept less-fair offers when proposers are informed, suggesting that responders are concerned about their social image or proposers’ intentions.
Abstract: This paper studies how gender affects negotiation strategy and payoffs. Although conventional wisdom holds that women are “worse” negotiators, we find that men have a disadvantage in negotiation in a setting with explicit verbal communication relative to a control game without communication. This effect is driven by a treatment where partner gender information is public, to most closely mirror a real-world negotiation. The mechanism of the effect appears to be that men fail to tailor their negotiation strategy “optimally” to partner gender. Men are significantly less likely to use tough (and effective) negotiation strategies against female partners than against male partners. We show that these choices reduce payoffs, and male-male pairs perform particularly poorly, demonstrating a “toxic masculinity” effect. As an explanation for these results, we suggest men may be “constrained” by gender norms in their communication strategy --- leading them to be more chivalrous to women and “tough” toward men --- at the expense of their own payoffs.
Jennie Huang and Corinne Low (2017), Trumping Norms: Lab Evidence on Aggressive Communication before and after the 2016 US Presidential Election, American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings, 5. 10.1257/aer.p20171016
This course will introduce you to "managerial economics" which is the application of microeconomic theory to managerial decision-making. Microeconomic theory is a remarkably useful body of ideas for understanding and analyzing the behavior of individuals and firms in a variety of economic settings. The goal of the course is for you to understand this body of theory well enough so that you can effectively analyze managerial (and other) problems in an economic framework. While this is a "tools" course, we will cover many real-world applications, particularly business applications, so that you can witness the usefulness of these tools and acquire the skills to use them yourself. We will depart from the usual microeconomic theory course by giving more emphasis to prescription: What should a manager do in order to achieve some objective? That course deliverable is to compare with description: Why do firms and consumers act the way they do? The latter will still be quite prominent in this course because only by understanding how other firms and customers behave can a manager determine what is beswt for him or her to do. Strategic interaction is explored both in product markets and auctions. Finally, the challenges created by asymmetric information - both in the market and within the firm - are investigated.