Leeds School of Business

University of Colorado Boulder

John G. Lynch, Jr.

Director • Center for Research on Consumer Financial Decision Making

Biography

John G. Lynch, Jr. is the Ted Andersen Professor of Free Enterprise at the Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado Boulder, and the Director of the Center for Research on Consumer Financial Decision Making.

Lynch received his BA in economics, his MA in psychology, and his Ph.D. in psychology, all from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was a member of the faculty at University of Florida from 1979-1996, where he was Graduate Research Professor. From 1996-2009 he was the Roy J. Bostock Professor of Marketing at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Lynch is a Fellow of the Association for Consumer Research, the American Psychological Association, and the Society for Consumer Psychology. He has been a recipient of the Paul D. Converse Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Science of Marketing and the Society for Consumer Psychology's Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award. Five of his papers have been honored as outstanding article of the year: he has been recognized once each by the Journal of Marketing Research and by the Journal of Marketing, and three times by the Journal of Consumer Research. He was 2011 and 2013 MBA Elective Teacher of the Year at the Leeds School of Business.

He is a member of the editorial boards of Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Consumer Psychology, and the Journal of Marketing, and a member of the Journal of Marketing Research Advisory Board. He has served as president of the Policy Board of the Journal of Consumer Research, president of the Association for Consumer Research, associate editor for the Journal of Consumer Research, and associate editor and co-editor for the Journal of Consumer Psychology. He co-chairs the Boulder Summer Conference on Consumer Financial Decision Making. He was listed among the world’s 50 marketing scholars most cited in the year 2013.

Research

Lynch studies the cognitive psychology of consumer decision-making.

Lynch and Srull’s (1982) “Memory and Attentional Factors in Consumer Choice: Concepts and Research Methods” introduced concepts of stimulus-based and memory based decision making and highlighted the role of information processing below the level of conscious awareness. Feldman and Lynch’s (1988), “Self-Generated Validity and Other Effects of Measurement on Belief, Attitude, Intention, and Behavior” put forth the “accessibility-diagnosticity model, the first general theory explaining the relative weights of different cues in decisions and an influential contribution to theory of “constructive preferences.”

His 1997 paper with Alba and colleagues on Internet shopping and his 2000 paper with Ariely on price sensitivity on the Internet are both among the most cited papers on any topic to appear in any marketing journal from the time of their publication to the present. His more recent research has focused on intertemporal choice and planning, including Zauberman and Lynch’s (2005 Journal of Experimental Psychology: General) resource slack theory of discounting, a general theory that explains why different resources are discounted at different rates and Lynch, Netemeyer, Spiller, and Zammit’s (2010 Journal of Consumer Research) generalizable scale of “propensity to plan” predicts credit scores, controlling for various demographics.

In addition to studying consumer decision making, about a quarter of Lynch's work concerns validity issues in research methodology. The underlying theme of his work is how the biggest threat to the validity of research findings is not failure to follow textbook prescriptions about research methodology but the inevitable incompleteness of his or her understanding of the phenomenon being studied. His best known papers in this area focus on external validity of experiments, confounding in experiments, understanding the mediators of how some cause produces an effect, and how questions early in a survey can bias answers to later questions and behaviors.

Teaching

Lynch regularly teaches an MBA elective on the use of market intelligence in business decision–making and a Ph.D. course on designing experiments in the social sciences.

Current Research

The psychology of annuitization decisions, a mortgage recommender system to help consumers choose mortgages in line with their personal tastes and risks, the role of goals in discounting of future outcomes, and the role of financial literacy in consumers’ financial decisions.

Teaching Interests

Lynch regularly teaches an MBA elective on the use of market intelligence in business decision–making. He received MBA (Elective) Teaching Excellence Awards in 2011 and 2013. He also teaches a Ph.D. course on designing experiments in the social sciences.

Honors

  • Paul D. Converse Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Science of Marketing
  • Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award, Society for Consumer Psychology
  • Fellow, Association for Consumer Research
  • Fellow, American Psychological Association
  • Fellow, Society for Consumer Psychology
  • William O'Dell Award for outstanding article in 1985 Journal of Marketing Research
  • JCR Award for best article of the year in Journal of Consumer Research (three times 1988, 1991, 2010)
  • Marketing Science Institute/Paul Root Award for greatest contribution to practice of marketing in 1997 Journal of Marketing
  • American Marketing Association Louis Stern Award for Outstanding 1997-2002 Article on Marketing Channels and Distribution
  • Marketing Science Institute 2001 Robert D. Buzzell MSI Best Paper Award
  • Marketing Science Institute 2009 Robert D. Buzzell MSI Best Paper Award
  • “Teacher of the Year Award,” College of Business Administration, University of Florida (1992)
  • Honorable Mention, Daimler-Chrysler MBA Elective Teacher of the Year, Duke University (2001 & 2002)
  • Bank of America Outstanding Faculty Award, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University (2000)
  • MBA Teaching Excellence Award (Elective Teacher of the Year), Leeds School of Business (2011, 2013)

Professional Affiliations

  • Member of the Editorial Boards:
    • Journal of Consumer Research
    • Journal of Marketing Research
    • Journal of Marketing
    • Journal of Consumer Psychology

Education

  • Ph.D., Psychology, University of Illinois
  • M.A., Psychology, University of Illinois
  • B.A., Economics, University of Illinois
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