Marton Varga Receives the Best Paper Award from MSI

Marton Varga Receives the Best Paper Award from MSI


Marton Varga, Assistant Professor at Bocconi’s Department of Marketing, received the 2021 Robert D. Buzzell Best Paper Award from the Marketing Science Institute (MSI) for his research on how a negative consumer review impacts online search and purchase decisions.
Each year the award is given to the best MSI working paper issued two years earlier. Criteria for the nomination process include quality of the conceptual framework, quality of the support for the framework, potential impact on MSI companies, and potential impact on subsequent academic research. In fact, the Best Paper Award was instituted in 1993 to honor the authors of the MSI working papers that have made the most significant contribution to marketing practice and thought. It also serves to signal the kind of writing and research that is of lasting value to corporate marketing executives.
The award-winning paper “Measuring the Impact of a Single Negative Consumer Review on Online Search and Purchase Decisions Through a Quasi-Natural Experiment”, written together with Paulo Albuquerque (INSEAD), quantifies the impact of a single negative review on consumer online shopping activity by comparing the behavior of consumers who see a product on the web when the page includes a one-star rating, with the choices made by consumers who search for the same product, but when the same one-star rating moved to a second page due to the arrival of new reviews. As a result, on average, when a one-star review is visible, the probability of continuing search to competitors increases by 10.5%, while the purchase probability of the product drops around 18%. Moreover, the paper proposes a map that managers can use to gain insight into how consumers respond to changes in the online word-of-mouth content.
“This was my first research project during my PhD. I noticed that so many online sellers ask their customers not to leave a low star rating, so I wanted to see whether those actually matter. It turns out that even a single negative review can have a great influence on sales. Perhaps our research will further motivate managers to invest in product quality and customer service so that they can reduce the amount of negative feedback posted by their customers” says Varga. In fact, since then, one of Varga’s main research streams is modeling online consumer behavior in the presence of user-generated content.
MSI, a division of the Advertising Research Foundation, is a non-profit member organization, which brings together marketing’s most renowned scholars and leading marketers from the world’s best companies to create an unbiased platform for scientific research, purposeful collaborations, and unparalleled peer-to-peer networking.

by Weiwei Chen
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