J. Scott Armstrong

J. Scott Armstrong
  • Emeritus Professor of Marketing

Research Interests: applied statistics, education, forecasting, marketing, marketing research, organizational behavior, peer review, persuasion and advertising, public policy, scientific method, social responsibility and irresponsibility, strategic planning

Links: CV, Evidence-Based Methods and Principles


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 surprising findings.

Research Findings: Armstrong has been associated with colleagues in developing and testing 91 useful findings for 17 areas, including: market-share objectives harm profits, formal planning improves profitability, mandatory disclaimers harm consumers, mandated programs for corporate social responsibility are detrimental, high remuneration 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, no substantive errors have been discovered . . . yet.

Research impact: Scholars often read and use Armstrong’s research. In April 2016, his Google Scholar Citations numbered over 28,000 with an h-score of 65, and 154 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 330,000 researchers listed on the site in 2017. 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 about 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 cofounder of the Journal of Forecasting, International Journal of ForecastingInternational 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. 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 286 advertising sites reviewed by MERLOT. In 2016, Kesten Green and he founded the Iron Law of Regulation Website, an evidence-based approach to to summarize experimental evidence on the effect of regulations on the general welfare.

Educational background and experience:

 M.I.T., Cambridge, MA: Ph.D. in Management (1968)

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA: M.S. in Industrial Administration (1965)

Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA: B.A. in Applied Science (1959), and B.S. in Industrial Engineering (1960)

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 has 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:

  • “Lifetime Achievement Award in Climate Science” from the Heartland Institute at the 12th International Conference on Climate Change (2017) Acceptance speech. For summary of research, see his talk at this conference.
  • Received the initial award for the “Armstrong Brilliance in Research in Marketing Award” from the Global Alliance of Marketing and Management Associations at the Global Marketing Conference, Hong Kong, (2016).
  • The Silver Jubilee Lecture for the College of Business, Massey University, New Zealand (1997)
  • Honorary Fellow for “Distinguished Contributions to Forecasting” by the International Institute of Forecasters (1996).

 April 17, 2017

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    This course focuses on advertising via all media - print, digital, video, TV, Internet, etc. Emphasis is placed on understanding the communication development process and consumer behavior (psychology), the measurement and evaluation of advertising effects, and developing appropriate media plans.

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