Date of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Managerial Science and Applied Economics

First Advisor

Marshall L. Fisher


In the first part of the dissertation, we focus on the retailer's problem of forecasting demand for products in a category (including those that they have never carried before), optimizing the selected assortment, and customizing the assortment by store to maximize chain-wide revenues or profits. We develop algorithms for demand forecasting and assortment optimization, and demonstrate their use in practical applications. In the second part, we study the sensitivity of the optimal assortment to the underlying assumptions made about demand, substitution and inventory. In particular, we explore the impact of choice model mis-specification and ignoring stock-outs on the optimal profits. We develop bounds on the optimality gap in terms of demand variability, in-stock rate and consumer heterogeneity. Understanding this sensitivity is key to developing more robust approaches to assortment optimization. In the third and final part of the dissertation, we study how the seat value perceived by consumers attending an event in a stadium, depends on the location of their seat relative to the field. We develop a measure of seat value, called the Seat Value Index (SVI), and relate it to seat location and consumer characteristics. We apply our methodology to a proprietary dataset collected by a professional baseball franchise in Japan. Based on the observed heterogeneity in SVI, we provide segment-specific pricing recommendations to achieve a service level objective.