I am a Professor of Marketing affiliated with McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. My research interests are in studying market frictions (behavioral and informational)  in relation to topics like pricing and sales management. I received an MS in Applied Economics and a PhD. in Business Administration, both from the University of Minnesota at Twin Cities.

I currently serve as Graduate Advisor for the PhD program in marketing at the McCombs School. More information about the program can be found here. Please contact me if you are looking to apply to our program and have any questions.

Select Publications

  1. Li, Xiaolin, Raghunath Singh Rao, Om Narasimhan, and Xing Gao (2022), “Stay Positive or Go Negative? Memory Imperfections and Messaging Strategy.” International Journal of Research in Marketing, forthcoming
    • Should a politician be negative in their election messaging or stay positive? What if consumers easily forget the message content?
  2. Rao, Raghunath Singh, Madhu Viswanathan, George John, and Sunil Kishore (2021). “Do Activity-Based Incentives Work? Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Intervention.”  Journal of Marketing Research, 58(4), 686-704 [Web Appendix]
    • Should salespeople be rewarded for their activities in addition to the output? We seek answers in a 3-year-long field study.
  3.  Raghunath Singh Rao, Julie Irwin, and Zhuping Liu (2020). Flying with a Net, and Without: Preventative Devices and Self-Control. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 37(3), 521-543
    • Can something intended to prevent horrific consequences of a vice good backfire?
  4. Richard Schaefer, Raghunath Singh Rao, and Vijay Mahajan (2018). “Marketing Self-Improvement Programs for Self-Signaling Consumers. Marketing Science 37.6: 912-929
    • Are consumers affected by their self-signaling motivations when consuming a self-improvement product?
    • Winner, Fordham Univ. dissertation proposal competition on Behavioral Pricing
  5. Jianqiang Zhang, Zhuping Liu, and Raghunath Singh Rao (2018). “Flirting with the Enemy: Online Competitor Referral and Entry-Deterrence.Quantitative Marketing and Economics, 16.2: 209-249
    • We posit that the puzzling practice of “competitor referrals” can be rationalized by entry deterrence motives.
  6. William Hedgcock, Raghunath Singh Rao, and Haipeng (Allan) Chen (2016). “Choosing to Choose: The Effects of Decoys and Prior Choice on Deferral.” Management Science, 62.10: 2952-2976 [Data and Programs]
    • What can we learn from consumers “not choosing to choose”?
  7. Raghunath Singh Rao and Richard Schaefer (2013). “Conspicuous Consumption and Dynamic Pricing.Marketing Science, 32.5: 786-804 [Web Appendix]
    • We examine firms’ pricing & product decisions modeling consumers’ status and quality considerations.
  8. Sunil Kishore, Raghunath Singh Rao, Om Narasimhan, and George John (2013). “Bonuses versus Commissions: A Field Study.” Journal of Marketing Research 50.3: 317-333. [Web Appendix]
    • What works better- a lumpsum bonus or gradual commissions?
    • Winner, 2014 American Marketing Association’s (AMA) Sales SIG Excellence in Research Award for Best Paper on Sales Management
  9.  Kim Jungkeun, Raghunath Singh Rao, Kyeongheui Kim, and Akshay R. Rao (2011). “More or Less: A Model and Empirical Evidence on Preferences for Under and Over-payment in Trade-in TransactionsJournal of Marketing Research 48.1: 157-171. [Web Appendix ]
    • Are consumers affected by irrelevant differences in trade-in formats?
  10.  Saini, Ritesh, Raghunath Singh Rao, and Ashwani Monga (2010). “Is That Deal Worth My Time? The Interactive Effect of Relative and Referent Thinking on Willingness to Seek a Bargain.” Journal of Marketing 74.1: 34-48. [Web Appendix]
    • Our model jointly incorporates relative and referent thinking effects yielding novel predictions that are tested in lab studies.
  11.  Rao, Raghunath Singh, Om Narasimhan, and George John (2009). “Understanding the Role of Trade-Ins in Durable Goods Markets: Theory and Evidence.Marketing Science 28.5: 950-967.
    • Why do we see so many trade-ins? How do they affect markets?
  12.  Rao, Raghunath Singh, Rajesh K. Chandy, and Jaideep C. Prabhu (2008). “The Fruits of Legitimacy: Why Some New Ventures Gain More from Innovation than Others.” Journal of Marketing 72.4: 58-75.
    • Does the market reward firms for being “legitimate”?
    • Winner, 2018 AMA Entrepreneurial Marketing SIG Gerald E. Hills Best Paper Award

I can be reached at raghunath dot rao at mccombs dot utexas dot edu.