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 Benjamin Franklin’s objectives for the University of Pennsylvania, Professor Armstrong strives to discover and disseminate useful knowledge. His approach is to use experimental evidence to compare alternative reasonable hypotheses in order to identify improvements that can be made to management principles and techniques. In April 2015, he was the subject of an Alain Elkann Interview on his approach to research, and why it often leads to counterintuitive findings.
Scott’s research has been associated with many colleagues in 73 useful findings for management. For example, market share- objectives are harmful to profits, formal planning improves profitability, mandatory disclaimers harm consumers, mandated programs for social responsibility in firms are detrimental, high salaries for publically traded firms are harmful to stockholders, government expenditures for higher education are harmful to the economic growth of nations, peer review by scientific journals slows scientific development, and currently used sophisticated analyses of big data harm forecasting accuracy. He also developed and tested the widely used “Extrapolation-by-Waves” method for estimating nonresponse bias in surveys, the Forecasting Audit, the Seer-Sucker theory, the Index Method, the Golden Rule of Forecasting, and the Persuasion Principles Index.
Scott’s research with colleagues found that the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes’s long-term (91-100 years) forecasts of global warming have errors that were more than 12 times larger than those from the no-change hypothesis. The no-change hypothesis is the basis for his bet with former Vice-President Al Gore (see theclimatebet.com). He has testified before a U.S. Senate committee and U.S. House Committees on issues related to global warming and recommended that federal government spending on global warming be terminated as there is no basis in scientific forecasting for concluding that warming will occur. Moreover, there is no scientific basis for forecasts that warming would be harmful if it did occur, nor any that show that there are cost-effective actions that mankind could take to reduce warming.
He is author of Long-Range Forecasting, and the handbook, Principles of Forecasting. He is a co-founder of the Journal of Forecasting, the International Journal of Forecasting, the International Symposium on Forecasting, forecastingprinciples.com and a co-founder of PollyVote.com. The latter has provided the most accurate forecasts for the U.S. Presidential elections since its initial use in the 2004 election elections. For more on his life as a forecaster, see the 2012 "Interview of J. Scott Armstrong”
Scott’s book, Persuasive Advertising, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2010, was a finalist for the American Marketing Association's "Best Book in Marketing" for 2011. It is supported by AdPrin.com, which received MERLOT's 2004 award as the "Best Internet Site in Business Education."
In 1996, he was selected as one of the first six Honorary Fellows by the International Institute of Forecasters. He was awarded the Society for Marketing Advances Distinguished Scholar Award for 2000.
Despite publishing contrarian findings, his research is often cited by scholars. (Google Scholar Citations numbered about 22,000 as of April 2015.)
A member of the Wharton Marketing Faculty since 1968, Professor Armstrong received his PhD in Management from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his MS in Industrial Administration from Carnegie Mellon University, and his BS degree in Industrial Engineering and BA in Applied Science from Lehigh University.
He has had 24 international visiting appointments at 17 universities. These include spending 1.5 years at the Stockholm School of Economics in 1974-5, and a year at IMEDE (now IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland in1980-1. In addition, he has given over 110 invited lectures at universities in 28 countries outside the U.S.