Three Wharton faculty members won awards at the Association for Consumer Research Conference, the main international consumer research association for academics.
Professor Shiri Melumad won the Outstanding Reviewer Award for the Journal of Consumer Research, Professor Emeritus Wesley Hutchinson was named an Association for Consumer Research fellow, and professor Wendy De La Rosa won the Ferber Award from the JCR.
As a reviewer who is part of the editorial review board for the JCR, Melumad is tasked to evaluate different research paper submissions that fall under her area of expertise: how consumers interact with new technologies.
“Having the privilege of being a reviewer means that I get to learn about all new research in the area that I'm interested in, so it definitely helps me understand what work is being done out there,” Melumad said.
Every few months, Melumad reviews an article and writes a report that identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the research detailed and what can be done to improve the work. Then, she said that she recommends whether or not the paper should proceed to the next stage of the review process.
As an expert in this field of research, Melumad is currently researching consumers’ interactions with different types of technologies that affect the decisions they make and the emotions they experience on that device. She was also a finalist for the Ferber Award last year.
Hutchinson, the Stephen J. Heyman professor, is the recipient of the 2022 Fellow in Consumer Behavior Award — a lifetime achievement for his contributions to the field.
According to the Association for Consumer Research, Hutchinson was recognized for his “central role” in furthering peoples' understanding of roles in consumer expertise and his work in the modern understanding of “consideration sets.” Hutchinson described these consideration sets as the selection of options that a consumer chooses among when deciding what to buy.
Hutchinson is one of only four scholars in the world to have received the Journal of Consumer Research Best Article Award twice. He also served as president of the Association for Consumer Research, an area editor at Marketing Science, and sat on the editorial boards of many marketing-focused journals, according to the Association for Consumer Research.
As a fellow, Hutchinson gave a presentation about how teaching can inform, help, and redirect one’s own research. He had this idea as he developed two new courses at Penn, one on the social impact of marketing and the other on consumer neuroscience.
De La Rosa was received the Ferber Award for her dissertation paper titled, “The Impact of Payment Frequency on Consumer Spending and Subjective Wealth Perceptions,” which was published in September of 2021. This award is given to the author of the best dissertation-based article published in the most recent volume in JCR.
The paper details her findings on how the timing of when workers get their resources or get paid changes people’s perceptions and behavior interests, according to De La Rosa. She said that this research was conducted for her Ph.D. in consumer behavior at Stanford University.
In her dissertation, De La Rosa demonstrated that the timing of when people receive money really matters, even though people may believe that their financial decisions would not change if they are getting paid the same amount of money. She found that increasing people’s payment frequency changes people’s spending habits.
“I feel very honored and surprised and grateful to be the recipient,” De La Rosa said. “I think it gives me a little more confidence that what I am working on matters and has mattered from a practical perspective. But it is also great to know that the field and my colleagues that I also respect also think that this work matters.”