During the last few decades, efforts to further customer-company relationships have become important due to increased competition in the consumer markets. One of the most popular strategies has been to introduce customer loyalty programs, which are believed to develop and enhance customer loyalty. The popularity of customer loyalty programs is based on the beliefs that loyal customers are very beneficial to a company and these programs would bond the customers to the company. More recently however, discussion over whether these statements are accurate has started to flourish. Loyal customers are not necessarily as profitable as believed and it is not easy for companies to gain competitive advantage because almost all companies have analogous customer loyalty programs. This thesis will evaluate a qualitative case study performed on ALK-Abelló, a global pharmaceutical company that specializes in allergen immunotherapy supplies. This thesis will determine whether their customer loyalty program manages to create and build loyalty among their customers, as well as analyze if a loyal customer is worthwhile for a company. A customer loyalty program is ultimately found to be a complement of customer loyalty alongside products, customer service and more.
The Internet continues to grow as a competitive marketplace increasing both in the number of consumers and online businesses. The Internet also offers low switching costs allowing shoppers to move from one online store to another with virtually no expenses. The combination of increased competition and low switching costs makes retaining loyal customers a problem for online businesses. Most companies, online or offline, depend on loyal customers as the foundation of their financial success. One solution in recent research indicates that building strong online customer relationships attracts and captures long-term customers. Therefore, online marketers have begun to rely on relationship marketing strategies to increase online customer loyalty. Through the distribution and analysis of a customer survey, this study aims to show that customer relationship strategies work to increase the level of customer loyalty towards an online store, while also identifying which particular relationship components have the greatest affect on customer loyalty.
According to recent ski industry research, skiing is, at best, stagnant. At worst, it is doomed for a collapse in the next few decades because of its primary demographic, the baby boomers, will no longer be participating in the sport. Also, with the current economic crisis that we are facing, some ski areas have already felt major effects and are on the brink of failure. In this competitive market environment, ski destination success depends strongly on a thorough analysis of customer satisfaction. Ski area managers need to identify the drivers of customer satisfaction, measure satisfaction levels, and derive the right strategies to increase satisfaction. Many ski resorts monitor customer satisfaction regularly using on-mountain surveys. Using regression analysis from surveys conducted by the National Ski Area Association for the 2008/2009 ski season, this thesis will investigate the demographic determinants associated with skier satisfaction.
This paper examines the determinants of the demand for resident annual recreational fishing licenses across the upper-mid-west region of the United States. Statewide aggregate data was collected from North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin in an attempt to understand what drives license sales across a national framework. Analysis of the results of an Ordinary Least Squares regression provides states with the opportunity to understand how much changes to the determinants affect license sales. It was determined that seven out of ten possible determinants provided significant results. Understanding of these determinants will allow states to improve efficiency of license sales, which in turn leads to higher revenue and better conservation efforts.
This study seeks to determine which attributes of a film affect a measure of its rate of return when using data for both foreign and domestic box office sales. The data from a previous study by Brewer, Kelley and Jozefowicz is used, with the dependent variable adjusted to rate of return and revenue is adjusted to include foreign sales. A regression analysis is performed in order to determine the significant factors for this dependent variable. It is found that, contrary to studies using revenue as the dependent variable, budget has a negative effect on a film's rate of return. Along with this, star power is relatively meaningless, while critical review, film nominations and word of mouth appeal are each quite significant. The implications of this study suggest that Hollywood can increase its profitability by diversifying its portfolio to include a number of smaller budgeted projects as opposed to a select few blockbusters.
The craft distilling industry in America has undergone a large vitalization in the past several decades. Due to the fact that between the national prohibition and this recent development there were nearly no legal craft distillers in the U.S. this industry can be considered a model of the birth and early development of an industry. This study identifies several factors that have contributed to the birth and early rise of the craft distilling industry in America and outlines how each has affected this development. These factors can be organized into four categories: institutional influences, networking effects, competitive dynamics and learning effects. I hypothesize that each factor discussed has a positive affect on the development of the industry. This qualitative study consists of nine semi-structured interviews with nine craft distillers from the Pacific Northwest. The data received provides support for most of my hypotheses. It is concluded that most of the factors outlined in this study do, indeed, provided support for the development of the craft distilling industry. However, several factors only received partial support from the data. In addition, the subjects pointed to several additional factors that were not predicted by this study but that also aided the rise of the industry. These factors are presented in a separate section and their relation to the theories presented in this study are outlined. The main conclusion proposed in this study is that the birth and development of this infant industry is a product of many interrelated forces and it is only possible to gain a full understanding of each factor by taking into account the influences of each other element.
Our planet is getting warmer, we have seen the economy tank to levels previously thought impossible and because of this the future of the ski industry is in jeopardy. How are ski resorts supposed to attract visitors year after year when there is less and less to ski? What could convince a financially struggling vacationer that a ski resort is superior to any other possible destination? Some suggest that diversification is the key. By building attractions that are independent of snow, a resort ensures that its guests have ways to occupy themselves when the skiing isn't as good. Those same attractions add value to the resort and make it a more attractive vacation destination. This thesis utilizes statistical regressions to analyze data collected from surveys conducted by the National Ski Areas Association. The purpose of this analysis is to address the question of whether or not the diversification of individual ski resorts in the United States can protect them from the harmful effects of a warming climate and an unstable economy.
The fields of immigration and innovation have traditionally been thought of as two distinct areas of study. This paper will serve as a bridge as it examines this relationship through an empirical investigation of the impact of high-skilled immigration on U.S. innovation. A modified national ideas production function is used to estimate the relationship between high-skilled immigrants and patents. A second set of equations is used to isolate patenting activity in the metropolitan regions of the Bay Area, Des Moines, Seattle, and New York. The most significant discovery is that high-skilled immigration has a positive effect on innovation. These results present strong evidence that the United States should liberalize its immigration policies in order to more proactively foster innovation across the country.
Compensation of K-12 school principals, and the effect that it has on the performance of the schools they lead, has become a relevant education policy debate in recent years as well as a nascent field of academic research. This study examines the relationship between principal salaries and student performance on CSAP tests by using multivariate quintile regressions on data from the 2002-2005 school years. Controlling for differences in cost of living across districts, a positive correlation between principal salaries and student CSAP scores was found, particularly in the mathematics section of the test. However, the percentage of a school's students on free and reduced lunch and teacher salaries were found to have a larger impact on student performance.
Japan's whaling fleet and environmental organizations are clashing in the Antarctic Ocean as Japan continues to conduct lethal scientific research on whales, specifically on the Antarctic minke whale (AMW). This conflict and issues surrounding other cetaceans have received substantial media attention in the past few years due to the Sea Shepherds Society's television show entitled Whale Wars and the movie The Cove. These productions succeeded in spreading awareness of Japan's lethal research on whales and harvests of dolphins, but insufficiently explained why Japan is engaging in practices that damage her international reputation. These media productions do not provide bioeconomic analysis modeling whether or not the species is threatened by Japan's actions nor the economics of whaling and Japan's market for whale products. Scientific articles related to the biology of whales, and historical, political, and cultural investigations that provide the foundation for the whaling conflict do not explore if Japan's lethal scientific research threatens the AMW with extinction nor explore the economics of Japan's whaling industry and domestic market if commercial whaling were to resume. This thesis aims to answer these questions by constructing a bioeconomic model composed of biological parameters and data from Japan's whaling fleet to estimate various sustainable catch yields and the corresponding AMW population sizes, Japan's seasonal effort in catcher-boat hours, and seasonal sustainable revenues. The eventual equilibrium population and sustainable catch yield if Japan maintains its current harvest effort, the maximum sustained yield, the condition of zero net revenue, and the condition in which the discounted total present value for all future whaling revenue is achieved will be explored in particular. The results conclude that Japan's current scientific research does not endanger the AMW, and furthermore concludes that whaling is not only profitable, but the industry capacity, high costs, and shrinking domestic demand discourage overharvesting that could lead to the collapse of the species
The military is inherently associated with violence. Some studies have attempted to forge a link between military members and property crime or previous abuse, but none have explored the specific link between domestic violence and the military. This study presents a game-theoretic model that attempts to determine if the presence of military bases is positively correlated with the rates of violent crimes in the area. A Tobit regression model is used to identify the determinants of violent crime at a county level. Results indicate that the branch of the military most consistently associated with elevated levels of violence is the Air Force. This may, however, be largely dependent on the specific time period used for the study.
For individual investors deciding upon an investment strategy involves self evaluation of aversion to risk, social responsibility, and desired returns. Traditional economic theories proclaim individuals are rational creatures who make investment decisions unemotionally to obtain a desired portfolio performance. Recent economists have challenged these foundational theories by proposing that the decision making process for individuals includes abstract factors of emotions and behavioral ripostes. Through research and surveying individuals from varying demographics, the effect of different emotionally states on investment strategies can be examined. The hypothesis states that younger or less investment educated individuals are more susceptible to emotionally-driven investment decisions than older more experienced investors. The results show these demographics do have differing effects on individuals' investment strategies.
Advertising is a crucial form of communication between businesses and consumers and is present in almost everything we, as humans do. Currently, college-aged students, ages 18-24, are becoming a more important consumer group. Advertisers are continually looking for ways to increase the effectiveness of advertisements targeted at this demographic. Television commercials are used as a means of studying advertising effectiveness due to the amount of viewing reported by the chosen demographic. The question presented in this thesis is; which factors have the greatest influence on increasing the effectiveness of television commercials? Consumer recall is used as a means of measuring this effectiveness. After this question is addressed, a discussion will follow determining which type of appeal, emotional or rational, should be used to optimize advertisement effectiveness. Through surveys and logit regression analysis, it can be determined which factors have the greatest influence on consumer recall and which appeal is best used in reaching young adults, ages 18-24.
The 2008 financial crisis has left researchers investigating the inefficiencies that prompted the collapse of the credit and investment markets. This study considers the implications of excessive executive pay on capital structure during the years 2005 through 2007. The hypothesis proposes that for firms in the financial sector, executives awarded generous compensation packages compared to salary implemented a higher use of debt in their firm's capital structure. Agency theory, capital structure composition, the Efficient Market Hypothesis, and behavioral finance principles represent key economic theories supporting the hypothesis. The study examines data on 31 firms in the financial sector and 31 firms in the manufacturing sector to empirically test the relationship between executive pay and leverage. Cross-sectional analysis of nine models reveals that compensation is a significant determinant of a firm's total debt-to-total assets ratio for the financial sector, while the manufacturing sector yielded insignificant findings. The results further evidence that within the financial sector, the greatest relationship between compensation and leverage occurred when a one- or two-year lag between executive pay and the debt ratio was in effect. These findings reveal sources of agency conflicts and behavioral biases within the financial sector during the three years preceding the financial collapse.
The National Hockey League (NHL) is one of the four major sports in North America. Following the lockout of 2004-2005, the league felt it was necessary to introduce a team salary cap which prevents teams from spending a certain dollar amount on player salaries. As a young player enters free agency, general managers must negotiate an efficient contract which keeps the team under the salary cap in addition to paying the player the necessary money for his talent. The purpose of this study is to analyze NHL player's first and second year productiveness to find the true worth of these players as they enter free agency and long-term contracts. To accomplish this, results were found using Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) and Fixed Effects Models regression along with the collection of players' first and second year NHL season between 2005 and 2009. Furthermore, this thesis believes that NHL players increase productivity from their first to second year. If young NHL players do increase their production from season to season, it may prove beneficial to teams and general managers as they will be able to build a cost-efficient team due to contracts that are suitable to each player's ability.
Diffusion of new knowledge and technologies in agriculture can offset the sometimes explosive nature of food price increases, especially in developing countries. Closely following the notion of innovative geographic clusters, this thesis examines knowledge flows in the US agriculture industry for evidence of innovative agglomeration. Each agricultural patent granted from 1972 - 2002 was spatially tagged using Geographic Information Systems software. The data indicate that a closer distance between any two patent origins increases the probability that one cites the other as prior art, with subtle interregional variations on the degree to which proximity advances agricultural innovation. Policies that exploit the relative ease of knowledge within localized networks can encourage development of cost-cutting technologies which can in turn lower world food prices.
This thesis explores the significant factors affecting the decision of family ranchers to produce grass-finished beef. While the majority of mainstream cattle producers sell cattle to be finished in grain-based supplemental feeding programs, a grass-finished beef market has emerged as an alternative to conventional grain-finished beef production. Among the key determinants of ranchers choosing to produce grass-finished beef are health issues, personal beliefs, the abundance of grass as a natural food source, and the opportunity to establish market leadership. Relying on six case studies of Wyoming ranches producing grass-finished beef, this thesis uses firsthand accounts of cattle market participants to determine how the aforementioned variables impact the benefits, challenges and costs of participation in this niche market.
Grid Parity is considered a milestone in the Photovoltaic industry, because it is the point in time that solar energy becomes cheaper than traditional energy. The term has often been used to describe the progress of the solar industry, and spur investment. One problem with "Grid Parity" however, is that the term can take on a variety of meanings, and can be calculated in numerous ways. Using a series of mathematical models it is shown empirically that the term "Grid Parity" is incapable of being precise without a detailed description of variables. These variables will be named and detailed for the state of Oregon, and suggestions will be made for reducing the time to "Grid Parity" of Photovoltaic system in the state.
This thesis is an investigation of the affects illicit behaviors have on player salaries in the National Football League (NFL). Illicit behaviors include criminal arrests and convictions, and acts fine-able by the NFL. Previous studies in this area have been limited and with the exception of a few have focused on salary determinants which did not include behavior. Further extensive research has been conducted on the affect criminal behavior has on income and entry into the American labor market. An Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) model is used to explore different offensive positions and the role illicit behaviors play in salary determination. The regression t-values show varying results for different positions based on varying illicit acts. Despite the few instances where salary is affected at better than the 10% level, the evidence points to limited economic repercussions for players who commit illicit acts.
As the amount of money being circulated in the United States stock market increases, investors are presented with more opportunity to make a profit. Previous studies contradict one another on whether or not pattern recognition can yield above-average risk-adjusted returns in the market. The current study examines whether or not the Stock Broker's Almanac list of hot months can be implemented to identify a consistent pattern in the stock market. The numerical values collected for the stocks were tested and analyzed to determine whether the use of hot months is a profitable investment strategy in the stock market. Results indicate that seasonal investing may in fact be a successful strategy if properly applied to the United States stock market.
The thesis examines innovation in the mobile application space. Innovation is widely recognized as one of the most important drivers of economic growth and the past decade has been one breathtaking revolution and innovation. Innovation literature has been painstakingly developers over the past fifty years through the study of innovations themselves, the processes through which innovation occurs, and the organizations that most successfully innovate. This thesis examines innovation theory and attempts to apply it to the mobile space to discover what course innovation takes.
Professional golfers on the PGA Tour must face countless risk and effort choices throughout any given tournament. The concern of the present study is how players alter their risk behaviors when faced with different positions relative to certain salient reference points within a tournament—primarily the cut and the win. study explores players' risk and effort behaviors in the context of a behavioral economics concept called loss aversion. Loss aversion says that people put more weight on losses than on gains. Thus, the present study expects professional golfers behind the cut and the win to exert more effort and risk. Players ahead of the cut or in the lead are expected to play it safe. Only one known previous study has explored loss aversion in professional golf. The results in the present study support the hypothesis and carry various implications for the PGA Tour, behavioral economics, and numerous other contexts outside of sports.
This thesis seeks to investigate the possibilities of joint liability lending in the United States and if there is the necessary social capital to support a successful group lending structure. Since joint liability lending has enjoyed great success in foreign countries, I thought it was important to look into the positive effect that joint liability lending could have on the unbanked population in the U.S. I developed a questionnaire regarding joint liability lending's potential in the United States and sent it to six of the most highly regarded microfinance institutions in the U.S. Though I anticipated that joint liability lending would be successful in the United States, as it was abroad, the input I received from the microfinance institutions in my sample indicated that the U.S. would not be able to support joint liability lending. These institutions saw lack of social capital as the main reason that group lending would not be successful in the United States.
This paper uses a large database from MIX market, the leading provider of microfinance data across the world, to analyze determinants of microfinance institutions' (MFI's) success. Specifically, the study focuses on the effects that innovative lending procedures have on client repayment rates. Findings suggest that lending to women and to groups both positively increase clients' repayment rates. Institutional characteristics of MFI's are also studied; increases in efficiency and self sufficiency result in decreases in default rates.
This thesis examines micronutrient interventions' role in gender-focused development. It reviews recent micronutrient literature to provide background information on intervention, both through a review of supplementation programs (using the example of vitamin A) and through a review of fortification programs (using the example of iodine). After establishing that micronutrient interventions are a cost-effective approach to development, this thesis asks the question of whether these types of interventions can be used for gender-focused development. Two development agendas are used to make this analysis: lowering fertility rates in the developing world and combating women's discrimination at the household level. Building on prior development research, the case is made that micronutrients are one of the most cost-effective ways of bolstering these agendas.