J. Scott Armstrong
Professor of Marketing
Research Interests: forecasting, marketing, marketing research, persuasion and advertising, scientific method, peer review, social responsibility and irresponsibility , strategic planning, education, applied statistics, organizational behavior, public policy
Following founder Benjamin Franklin’s objectives for the University of Pennsylvania, Professor Armstrong strives to discover and disseminate useful knowledge. To this end he uses experimental evidence to compare alternative reasonable hypotheses in order to improve management principles and techniques. As discussed in a 2015 Alain Elkann interview of “thought leaders,” his evidence-based research often leads to counterintuitive findings. However, to Armstrong’s knowledge, none of his counterintuitive findings have been found to be in error –so far.
Armstrong has been involved with others in developing and testing 75 useful findings in 17 areas (e.g., market-share objectives harm profits, formal planning improves profitability, mandatory disclaimers harm consumers, mandated programs for corporate social responsibility are detrimental, high salaries for CEOs harm stockholders, and peer review by scientific journals slows scientific development.). He also developed and tested the Forecasting Audit, the Seer-Sucker Theory, the Index Method, the Golden Rule of Forecasting, Simple forecasting, and the Persuasion Principles Index. In addition, Armstrong’s research on forecasting climate change led to a proposed bet with former VP Gore (theclimatebet.com). He has also testified before U.S. Senate and House committees on issues related to global warming.
Despite his contrarian findings. scholars use Armstrong’s research. His Google Scholar Citations numbered over 24,000 as of late 2015. The Social Science Research Network’s measure of “impact on researchers” put him in the top 0.1% of 250,000 authors in July 2015.
Armstrong has authored Long-Range Forecasting as well as Principles of Forecasting and Persuasive Advertising, the latter being a finalist for the American Marketing Association’s “Best Book in Marketing” in 2011. It is supported by his site AdPrin.com, which received MERLOT’s 2004 award as the “Best Internet Site in Business Education.” His papers and books are widely read; there are approximately 85,000 downloads of his papers per year from the Scholarly Commons alone, placing him in the top 0.4% for annual downloads from the SSRN. Further, he is a co-founder of the Journal of Forecasting, the International Journal of Forecasting, the International Institute of Forecasters, the International Symposium on Forecasting, ForecastingPrinciples.com, and PollyVote.com, which has provided the most accurate forecasts for U.S. presidential elections since its launch in 2004.
A member of the Wharton Marketing Faculty since 1968, Professor Armstrong received his PhD in Management from MIT, an MS in Industrial Administration from Carnegie Mellon University, and BS and BA degrees in Industrial Engineering and Applied Science from Lehigh University. He has had 24 international visiting appointments at 17 universities, including 1.5 years at the Stockholm School of Economics between 1974-5 and one year at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland during 1980-1. He has given over 110 invited lectures at universities in 29 countries.
In 1996, Armstrong was selected as one of the first six Honorary Fellows by the International Institute of Forecasters. In 2000, he was awarded the Distinguished Scholar Award by the Society for Marketing Advances. In 2010, he was listed as one of the “25 Most Famous College Professors Teaching Today.”