Operation Management PhD Talks: May 12, 2023
Incentivizing Healthy Food Choices Using Add-on Bundling: A Field Experiment
Retailers can use price, convenience, and taste to incentivize customers to make healthier food choices, but these options are often expensive and infrequently promoted. Recent efforts in deploying healthy nudges to incentivize customers toward healthier food choices have been observed. We conducted a field experiment with a global convenience store chain to better understand how different add-on bundle promotions influence healthy food choices. We considered three types of add-on bundles: (i) an unhealthy bundle, (ii) a healthy bundle, and (iii) a choice bundle. In addition to our field experiment, we conducted an online lab study to strengthen the validity of our results.
The Impact of Hospital and Patient Characteristics on Psychiatry Readmissions
A widely observed phenomenon in operations management is ``practice makes perfect'', which constitutes a positive volume-outcome relationship. The nature of this relationship, however, may change in people-centric environments, such as health systems. We study the operational characteristics of hospitals contributing to the re-admission of psychiatry patients, shortly after being discharged. We propose that the length of stay (LOS) in the inpatient ward mediates the effects of hospital characteristics on the risk of readmission. Moreover, we reveal how patient characteristics can moderate these effects. We utilize a data set of about 15,000 psychiatry patients admitted to 25 hospitals in Quebec, Canada. We use a clustered-error probit model which is corrected by the instrumental variable method to perform a causal analysis. We find that the number of patients admitted to a hospital annually increases the risk of readmission, whereas this risk reduces with the hospital specializing in certain diagnosis classes. These relationships are moderated by patients' intensity of resource usage at the emergency department. Moreover, we find a nonlinear relationship between LOS and the risk of readmission. This relationship affects the extent of the impact of hospital characteristics on the risk of readmission. We provide evidence on the negative volume-outcome and nonlinear LOS-outcome relationships. Our results provide insights for policymakers to manage the burden imposed on the health systems by unplanned readmissions from patients with chronic disorders. Our empirical analysis provides potentially helpful insights for managing the flow of psychiatric patients.
Political Power, Party Allegiance, and the Operations of Public Projects
Contractors manage multiple projects concurrently, and allocate (limited) resources across them. In this paper, we show that this allocation is often driven by opportunism and political allegiance. Firms and political parties create alliances—firms donate to political campaigns and, in turn, are favored in future project acquisitions when the candidate is elected. Hence, contractors will overallocate project resources projects in districts where their political ally is expected to win re-election (or stay in power). Simultaneously, contractors will under-allocate resources to districts where their political allies are expected to lose re-election or resign. To substantiate this hypothesis, we assemble data from four sources: (i) the largest dataset on public projects in the U.S., incorporating hundreds of thousands of infrastructure projects, (ii) political races data for the U.S. House of Representatives, (iii) political scandals data, and (iv) political donations data. We use a diff-in-diffs analysis, exploiting politician scandals, resignations, and deaths as exogenous shocks. We show that (i) when a political shock (e.g., a scandal) dooms an incumbent’s popularity or leads to a resignation, then contractors performing projects in the congressional district of the incumbent reallocate their resources—from projects in this district to projects in “favorable” districts (i.e., where the incumbent will remain in power), and that (ii) this exacerbates public projects delays in the original district. Our findings help us expose a political mechanism under which project delays occur and encourage a discussion on how to regulate the allocation of government contracts.
Sustainable Joint Pricing and Inventory Policies for Perishable Food
Substantial amount of food is produced but not consumed has non-negligible negative impacts environmentally, socially, and economically. In the research, we address the simultaneous determination of pricing and inventory control for perishable food. The optimal policy is computationally intractable due to the curse of dimensionality. Thus, we develop a heuristic policy to maximize profit and prove our policy is asymptotically optimal under several parameter regimes. Compared with several benchmarks, we show theoretically and numerically that our heuristic policy not only increases profit but also decreases waste.