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
Objectives and strategy: Following Benjamin Franklin’s objectives for the University of Pennsylvania, Professor Armstrong strives to discover and disseminate useful knowledge. He uses experimental evidence to compare alternative reasonable hypotheses to identify management principles and techniques. In April 2015, he was the subject of an “Alain Elkann interview of thought leaders” on why his approach to research often leads to counterintuitive and surprising findings.
Research Findings: Armstrong has, along with colleagues, developed and tested 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 “Extrapolation-by-Waves” (the widely-used method to correct for nonresponse bias in surveys), the Forecasting Audit, the Seer-Sucker Theory, the Index Method, the Golden Rule of Forecasting, and the Persuasion Principles Index. His research on forecasting climate change led to the conclusion that there is no scientific forecast to support the hypothesis of dangerous manmade global warming, and to his bet with former Vice President Al Gore (see theclimatebet.com). (The complete list of findings is on his resume.) Despite many counterintuitive findings in his studies, none of his findings have been found to be in error – so far.
Research impact: Armstrong’s Google Scholar Citations numbered about 24,000 in January 2016, with an h-index of 59, and 146 papers with ten or more cites. In addition, the Social Science Research Network’s measure of “impact on researchers” put him in the top 0.1% of roughly 250,000 researchers listed on the site in 2015. Google News lists 200 articles related to his research. He has testified before a U.S. Senate committee and a U.S. House Committee on issues related to global warming. Armstrong’s papers and books are widely read. There are about 85,000 downloads of his papers per year from the Scholarly Commons, and he is in the top 0.4% for annual downloads from the SSRN.
Publications: Research Gate lists almost 400 publications for Armstrong. He authored Long-Range Forecasting and the Principles of Forecasting Handbook. His book, Persuasive Advertising, was a finalist for the American Marketing Association’s “Best Book in Marketing” in 2011.
Founder: He is a co-founder of the Journal of Forecasting, International Journal of Forecasting, International Institute of Forecasters, International Symposium on Forecasting, and PollyVote.com. The latter has provided the most accurate forecasts for U.S. Presidential elections since its launch in the 2004 election. To disseminate findings, he founded ForecastingPrinciples.com and AdvertisingPrinciples.com, as ways of learning about evidence-based principles and techniques via the Internet. The advertising site received MERLOT’s 2004 award as the “Best Internet Site in Business Education” and it is ranked #1 of the 260 advertising sites reviewed by MERLOT.
Educational background and experience: Professor Armstrong received his PhD in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1968. He also has 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 been on the Wharton School, faculty since 1968. He has also been a “Research Adjunct at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, University of South Australia, Adelaide since 2011.
He had 24 international visiting appointments at 17 universities. These include 1.5 years at the Stockholm School of Economics in 1974-5, and one year at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland during 1980-1. He has given over 110 invited lectures at universities in 28 countries outside the U.S.
Recognition and awards: In 1989, he was ranked 15th among marketing professors in the U.S. based on an index using peer ratings, citations, and publications (Kirkpatrick & Locke 1989). In 1996, Armstrong was selected as one of the first six Honorary Fellows by the International Institute of Forecasters. In 1997, he was The Silver Jubilee Lecturer for the College of Business, Massey University, New Zealand. In 2000, he was awarded the Distinguished Scholar Award by the Society for Marketing Advances. In 2007, he was included in the "55 of the Hottest, Smartest, Most Talked About College Professors." In 2010, he was named one of the “25 Most Famous College Professors Teaching Today.” And in 2016, he was selected to present the inaugural lecture for the “Armstrong Brilliance in Research in Marketing Award” at the Global Marketing Conference, Hong Kong.