Pinar Yildirim

Pinar Yildirim
  • Associate Professor of Marketing
  • Associate Professor of Economics

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    773 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
    3730 Walnut Street
    University of Pennsylvania
    Philadelphia, PA 19104-6304

Research Interests: advertising, artificial intelligence, industrial organization, media, news media, open innovation, political economy, privacy, social media, social networks, two-sided matching

Links: Personal Website, CV, SSRN Page, Google Scholar, LinkedIn


For up-to-date information about Pinar Yildirim, please visit


Pinar Yildirim is Associate Professor of Marketing (with tenure) at the Wharton School and Associate Professor of Economics (secondary) at Department of Economics of the University of Pennsylvania.

Pinar studies media, technology, and information economics and focuses on applied theory and applied economics of online platforms, effects of technology and AI, social and economic networks, media bias, and political economy. Her research appeared in top economics and business marketing journals including the American Economic Review, Marketing Science, Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Quantitative Marketing & Economics, Journal of Marketing Research, Management Science, and Journal of Marketing. Pinar is on the editorial boards of Marketing Science and Journal of Marketing Research, two leading academic journals of marketing. She is also an area editor at IJRM.

Pinar received numerous awards, including the Erin Anderson Award for Emerging Mentor and Scholar, the Seenu Srinivasan Young Scholar Award in Quantitative Methodology, Teaching Excellence Award from the Wharton School, and the Scholar award and the Young Scholar Awards, both from the MSI. Her research received recognitions, including the Best Paper Awards from ZEW and from the Royal Economic Society and received funding from institutions like the Mack Institute, Meta, MSI, the NET Institute and is covered by outlets including the Wall Street Journal, NPR, Harvard Business Review, SF Chronicle. She also gave interviews in U.S. media including CNN, the New York Times, Financial Times, Time, Economist, Washington Post,  NPR, Forbes, Politico, Fortune, Newsweek, HBR, and around the world,  Deutsche Welle (Germany), iTV (UK),  NHK (Japan), TBS (Korea) among others.

Pinar cares highly about mentoring and trained over a dozen doctoral students, and placed them in respected academic and industry positions. She also collaborates with a number of large and small firms for her research. If you are interested in working with Pinar, you can directly email her.

Pinar holds a PhD degree in Marketing and Business Economics from the University of Pittsburgh.  She is teaching in the Wharton Executive Education, MBA, and undergraduate programs and is a frequent contributor to Knowledge@Wharton and XM Wharton Business Radio.


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For up-to-date information on Professor Yildirim’s research, visit

  • Yi Liu, Pinar Yildirim, Z. John Zhang (2024), Consumer Preferences and Firm Technology Choice, IJRM.

    Abstract: Advances in intelligent technologies change the way consumers search and shop for products. Emerging is the trend of home-shopping devices such as Amazon's Alexa and Google Home, which allow consumers to search or order products using voice commands. We study the impact of such artificial intelligence (AI) enabled devices on a brand's channel strategy and its price discrimination across these channels. After making a theoretical breakdown of the functionalities of the AI-enabled shopping devices into (1) adding convenience in ordering procedure ("OC") and (2) providing support in purchase decision-making ("DS"), we document via a set of experiments that consumers who have strong (weak) shopping preferences are less-inclined to shop through AI-enabled devices with the functionality of DS (OC) compared to their existing shopping heuristics. The hesitation of the group to adopt AI-enabled shopping devices makes it efficient for a brand operating in a competitive environment to price discriminate across distribution channels. In the second part of the paper, we build an analytical model and derive the equilibrium distribution and pricing strategies for competing brands conditional on the heterogeneity of consumers with respect to their willingness to adopt AI-enabled devices. We also analyze the welfare impact of the introduction of AI technology as a new possible distribution channel.

  • Gorkem Bostanci and Pinar Yildirim, Does Negative Advertising Pay Off for Consumer Brands? in The Wall Street Journal,.

  • Pinar Yildirim, Maria Petrova, Ricardo Perez Truglia, Andrei Simonov (2024), Are Political and Charitable Giving Substitutes? Evidence from the United States, Management Science .

    Abstract: We provide evidence that individuals substitute between political contributions and charitable contributions, using micro data from the American Red Cross and Federal Election Commission. First, we find that foreign natural disasters, which are positive shocks to charitable giving, crowd out political giving. Second, we show that political advertisement campaigns, which are positive shocks to political giving, crowd out charitable giving. Our evidence suggests that individuals give to political and charitable causes to satisfy similar needs, and some of the drivers of charitable giving, such as other-regarding preferences, may be driving political giving too.

  • Mustafa Dogan, Pinar Yildirim, Alexandre Jacquillat (2024), Strategic Automation and Decision-making Authority, Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, 33 (1), pp. 203-246.

    Abstract: This paper studies adoption and utilization of automation within firms of different organizational structures. We develop a theoretical model of organizational design with embedded cheap-talk. Specifically, we study a firm with a principal and two divisional managers, where production tasks can be automated in each division. Our findings show that there exists heterogeneity among firms in how they utilize automation based on their organizational structure. In specific, while more centralized firms may automate divisions facing higher risk and uncertainty, more decentralized firms choose to do the opposite. Moreover, as the overall automation capacity increases, firms follow distinctly different strategies to adapt to changing market conditions. With higher automation capacity, a firm is more likely to centralize decision-making at the top, rather than having a decentralized decision-making structure. This suggests that, the structure of firms and the role of managers may change as well, altering the allocation of decision-making rights within organizations. In consequence, as firms automate more and more tasks, mid-level managers become more focused on day-to-day operations and less involved in strategic decision-making on behalf of the firm. Finally, the paper shows that automation can be a strategic substitute to monetary contracts.

  • Maria Petrova, Ananya Sen, Pinar Yildirim, “New technologies and political competition: The impact of social media communication on political contributions”. In The Political Economy of Social Media,” Filipe Campante, Ruben Durante and Andrea Tesei, eds. edited by, (CEPR, 2024)

  • Gorkem Bostanci, Pinar Yildirim, Kinshuk Jerath (2023), Negative Advertising and Competitive Positioning, Management Science .

    Abstract: Negative advertising provides information about the weaknesses of a competitor’s product. We study negative advertising with a focus on how it impacts product positioning for profit-maximizing firms. We build a model of informative advertising competition, where product positioning is endogenous and consumers have rational expectations. We show that despite the informational benefits of negative advertising, permitting it (as the Federal Trade Commission in the United States does) may lead to reduced product differentiation and lower consumer welfare, even in markets where firms do not utilize negative advertising in equilibrium. We then extend our model to political competition, where a candidate’s objective is to obtain a larger share of votes than the competitor. We show that political competition supports higher positional differentiation, along with more negative advertising than product competition, in line with observed high use of negative advertising in political races and their rarer use in product competition.

  • Camilo Garcia-Jimeno and Pinar Yildirim (Draft), Matching Pennies on the Campaign Trail: An Empirical Study of Senate Elections and Media Coverage.

    Abstract: We study empirically the strategic interaction between the media and candidates in a bipartisan election. We suggest that the relationship between the media and candidates in a campaign is shaped by both a dimension of alignment of preferences, and a dimension of misalignment, which leads to a strategic environment resembling a matching pennies game. As a result, making inferences about politicians’ ideologies or policy stances based on media reports is not possible without taking explicit account of how each player’s behavior affects the other. Based on this observation we develop a simple structural model of bipartisan races where the media makes reports about the candidates, and candidates make decisions along the campaign trail regarding the type of constituencies to target with their statements and speeches. We show how data on media reports, electoral results, and poll results, together with the behavioral implications of the model, can be used to estimate its structural parameters. We implement this methodology on US Senatorial races for the period 1980-2012. These parameters are useful, among other things, to predict the evolution of races during the campaign trail, and to understand the forces shaping candidates speech during campaigns. Moreover, our results suggest a novel interpretation for how the media constrains politicians’ behavior in an democracy.

  • Camilo Garcia-Jimeno, Pinar Yildirim, Angel Iglesias-Diaz (2022), Information Networks and Collective Action: Evidence from the Women’s Temperance Crusade, American Economic Review, 41–80.

    Abstract: How do social interactions shape collective action, and how are they mediated by networked information technologies? We answer these questions studying the Temperance Crusade, a wave of anti-liquor protest activity spreading across 29 states between 1873 and 1874. Relying on exogenous variation in network links generated by railroad accidents, we provide causal evidence of social interactions driving the diffusion of the movement, mediated by rail and telegraph information about neighboring activity. Local newspaper coverage of the crusade was a key channel mediating these effects. Using an event-study methodology, we find strong complementarities between rail and telegraph networks in driving the movement's spread.

  • Yi Liu, Pinar Yildirim, Z. John Zhang (2022), Implications of Revenue Models and Technology for Content Moderation Strategies, Marketing Science.

    Abstract: This paper develops a theoretical model to study the economic incentives for a social media platform to moderate user-generated content. We show that a self-interested platform can use content moderation as an effective marketing tool to expand its installed user base, to increase the utility of its users, and to achieve its positioning as a moderate or extreme content platform. For the purpose of maximizing its own profit, a platform will balance pruning some extreme content, thus losing some users, with gaining new users because of a more moderate content on the platform. This balancing act will play out differently depending on whether users will have to pay to join (subscription vs advertising revenue models) and on whether the technology for content moderation is perfect. We show that when conducting content moderation optimally, a platform under advertising is more likely to moderate its content than one under subscription, but does it less aggressively compared to the latter when it does. This is because a platform under advertising is more concerned about expanding its user base, while a platform under subscription is also concerned with users' willingness-to-pay. We also show a platform's optimal content moderation strategy depends on its technical sophistication. Because of imperfect technology, a platform may optimally throw away the moderate content more than the extreme content. Therefore, one cannot judge how extreme a platform is by just looking at its content moderation strategy. Furthermore, we show that a platform under advertising does not necessarily benefit from a better technology for content moderation, but one under subscription does, as the latter can always internalize the benefits of a better technology. This means that platforms under different revenue models can have different incentives to improve their content moderation technology. Finally, we draw managerial and policy implications from our insights.

  • Jessie Liu, Pinar Yildirim, Z. John Zhang (2022), A Theory of Maximalist Luxury, Journal of Economics and Management Strategy.

    Abstract: The availability of high-quality, low-price counterfeits in many luxury markets threatens the role of luxury goods as a status symbol. If those counterfeits look and feel the same as the authentic counterparts, as many professional authenticators observe, and they are available at a fraction of the price of authentic goods, why would self-interested consumers purchase authentic luxury goods? Then, the future of luxury goods is called into question. In this paper, we propose that the presence of high-quality, low-price counterfeits can, surprisingly, motivate the wealthy consumers to pursue what we term as the “maximalist luxury” strategy. In the presence of these counterfeits, the wealthy can resort to signaling their status by purchasing the maximum number of luxury goods available and put their copious consumption on display, while in the absence of such counterfeits, the wealthy consumers only need to purchase the minimum number of luxury goods to stand out. This new signaling mechanism then highlights the importance of product line decisions by a luxury brand in combating counterfeits and provides a number of managerial insights about how to maintain the role of luxury goods as a status symbol through pricing, adjusting the product line, and limiting its products' functionality.


Professor Yildirim teaches a variety of courses in MBA, Executive MBA, and Executive Education programs focused on technology and media markets. Penn students can take a look at the current offerings at Syllabi@Wharton.

Awards and Honors

  • Meritorious Service Award, Management Science, 2023
  • Marketing Science Institute, Scholar Award, 2023 Description

    The MSI Scholars Program was established to bring together a select group of mid-career level academics, with the purpose of recognizing individuals’ excellence in scholarship, developing a cohort across marketing disciplines, and strengthening ties between scholars and MSI.

  • Marketing Science, Service Award, 2022
  • Research Award, Facebook, 2021
  • Dean’s Teaching Excellence Award, Wharton School, 2021
  • Best Paper Award, ZEW, 2021
  • Erin Anderson Award for an Emerging Female Marketing Scholar and Mentor, 2020 Description

    The Erin Anderson Award recognizes emerging female marketing scholars and mentors, while honoring and celebrating the life of Erin Anderson.  Erin was a widely respected mentor and scholar whose research made significant contributions to the marketing discipline.

    To honor Erin and support her passion for encouraging women in academe, the Erin Anderson Award recognizes a female marketing scholar we anticipate becoming a leading marketing academic in the mold of Erin Anderson.

  • V. Seenu Srinivasan Young Scholar Award in Quantitative Marketing, 2019 Description

    This award recognizes important contributions by a young scholar to methodology development in quantitative marketing.

  • Distinguished Service Award, Management Science, 2018
  • Teaching Excellence Award, Wharton School, 2018
  • MSI Young Scholar, 2017
  • Distinguished Service Award, Management Science, 2016
  • Mack Institute Research Grant, 2014
  • Zicklin Center Research Support, 2014
  • Dean’s Research Grant, 2014
  • ISMS Doctoral Consortium – Faculty Fellow, 2013
  • Wharton- Dean’s Research Fund Recipient, 2013
  • Wharton Mack Center Research Funding Support, 2013
  • Wharton Public Policy Initiative Summer Research Program Grant, 2013
  • Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society, 2012
  • Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative, American Red Cross Grant, 2012
  • AMA-Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium Fellow, 2008 Description


  • INFORMS Future Academician Colloquium Fellow, 2008 Description


  • University of Pittsburgh Honoree, 2008 Description



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Yi Liu, Pinar Yildirim, Z. John Zhang (2024), Consumer Preferences and Firm Technology Choice, IJRM.
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Knowledge at Wharton - 7/15/2024
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