Nathan Yang

Assistant Professor, Marketing
Contact Information
Email address: 
nathan.yang3 [at]
Alternate email address: [at]
suzanne.sellitto [at]

Bronfman Building [Map]
1001 rue Sherbrooke Ouest
Montreal, Quebec
H3A 1G5


PhD, Economics, University of Toronto
MA, Economics, University of Toronto
BSc, Mathematics, University of Alberta


[Curriculum Vitae] [Google Scholar] [SSRN] [LinkedIn]

Nathan Yang is an Assistant Professor in Marketing at McGill Desautels Faculty of Management, Project Coordinator for the BSRM-IVADO Research Initiative, and Affiliate Professor at McGill Bensadoun School of Retail Management (BSRM). He is also jointly affiliated with leading artificial intelligence, behavioral science, decision science, economics, health, public policy, and retail research institutes, including the Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative (CIREQ), Center for Interuniversity Research and Analysis of Organizations (CIRANO), McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics (MCCHE), Canadian Centre for Health Economics (CCHE), Group for Research in Decision Analysis (GERAD), Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO), and Behavioral Economics in Action at Rotman (BEAR).

His main research interests are in big data and machine learning, health and wellness, behavioral science, retail, and empirical industrial organization. Much of his earlier work aims to gain a better understanding about market expansion strategies in various retail sectors (e.g., convenience stores, fast food restaurants, fast casual restaurants), whereby market expansion is a key instrument to grow a retailer's brand, and ultimately, sales. In addition to retailer expansion strategies, he has worked on (or is currently working on) projects that focus on various aspects of customer relationship management in a diverse set of industries. His most recent research attempts to blend together behavioral science, big data, economics, and machine learning to help nudge people towards healthier lifestyles.

His research has been published (or is forthcoming) in Marketing Science, Management Science, Quantitative Economics, International Journal of the Economics of Business, and the Review of Network Economics, and has been widely cited by popular press, including The Economist, Financial Times, and LA Times. He has secured numerous grants to fund his research (e.g., NFR, MSI, IVADO, SSHRC, NET Institute). 

Tenured & Tenure Track
Research areas: 
Behavioural Science
Big Data & Machine Learning
Empirical Industrial Organization
Health & Wellness
Selected publications: 

1. Uetake, Kosuke, and Nathan Yang (2019), Inspiration from the "Biggest Loser": Social Interactions in a Weight Loss Program, Marketing Science, Articles in Advance [link] [Media coverage: Yale Insights, National Affairs, body+soul, ScienceDaily, News-Medical, Medical Xpress, Dr. Howard Smith Oncall, My Dermatologist, Medical News Bulletin]

2. Blevins, Jason, Ahmed Khwaja, and Nathan Yang (2018), Firm Expansion, Size Spillovers and Market Dominance in Retail Chain Dynamics, Management Science, 64 (9), 4070-4093 [link] [code]

3. Igami, Mitsuru, and Nathan Yang (2016), Unobserved Heterogeneity in Dynamic Games: Cannibalization and Preemptive Entry of Hamburger Chains in Canada, Quantitative Economics, 7 (2), 483-521 [link] [code] [Media coverage: The Economist, Financial Times]

4. Yang, Nathan (2012), Burger King and McDonald's: Where's the Spillover? International Journal of the Economics of Business, 19 (2), 255-281 [link] [Featured in 20 Years of IJEB collection] [Highlighted in IJEB 21st Anniversary Call for Papers]

5. Chi, Feng, and Nathan Yang (2011), Twitter Adoption in Congress, Review of Network Economics, 10 (3), 1-44 [link] [data] [Media coverage: LA Times, Chicago Tribune, New Republic, Freakonomics]

Current research: 

Papers Under Review or Revision

1. Nishida, Mitsukuni, and Nathan Yang (2019), Franchising as a Strategic Lever in Dynamic Retail Competition [pdf]

2. Yang, Nathan (2019), Learning in Retail Entry [pdf]

3. Christodoulopoulos, Steve, and Nathan Yang (2019), Consumer Activation and Effective Recruiting in an E-Health Platform [pdf]

4. Uetake, Kosuke, and Nathan Yang (2018), Harnessing the Small Victories: Goal Design Strategies for a Mobile Calorie and Weight Loss Tracking Application [pdf] [Media coverage: Les Affaires]

5. K. Sudhir, and Nathan Yang (2018), The Value of Free Upgrades [pdf]

Working Papers

1. Hagen, Linda, Yikun Jiang, Bärbel Knäuper, Kosuke Uetake, and Nathan Yang (2019), The Antecedents of Consistent Behavior: Tracking and Predicting User Engagement on a Mobile Weight Loss Application [pdf]

2. Fang, Limin, and Nathan Yang (2019), Aggressive Growth in Retail: A Trade-off Between Deterrence and Survival? [pdf]

3. Ergin, Elcin, Mehmet Gumus, and Nathan Yang (2018), The Spread of Scarcity: An Empirical Analysis of Intra-Firm Product Substitutability in Fashion Retailing [pdf]

4. Nishida, Mitsukuni, and Nathan Yang (2017), Better Together? Evaluating Unobserved Factors behind a Merger in the Convenience Store Industry [pdf]

Ongoing Projects

1. Dubé, Laurette, Bärbel Knäuper, Jian-Yun Nie, Daiva Nielsen, and Nathan Yang (2019), A Machine Learning Framework for Analyzing Eating Habits Using Big Data from Mobile Weight Loss Applications: Tracing the Multiscale Dynamics of Eating for Personalized Adaptive Nudge Support [Media coverage: McGill Reporter]

2. Fang, Limin, Demetrios Vakratsas, and Nathan Yang (2016), A Brewing Coffee Cartel: Uncovering the Market Sharing Strategies of the Canadian Coffee Chain Industry

3. Güneş, Evrim, Xitong Guo, Beibei Li, and Nathan Yang (2018), Analysis of Reference Points in an mHealth Application

4. Charlin, Laurent, Saibal Ray, Nathan Yang, and Changseung Yoo (2018), Understanding Customer Flows in Shopping Centers Using WiFi Tracking