Rafael Becerril Arreola

Assistant Professor of Marketing and Business Analytics, University of South Carolina-Columbia
Chapter Member: South Carolina SSN
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About Rafael

Becerril studies the roles of socioeconomics and technology in consumer markets, focusing on their implications for marketing and its interfaces with operations, information systems, and engineering. To this end, he develops and applies tools from econometrics, Bayesian statistics, automatic control, game theory, optimization, and high-performance computing, supported by theories from microeconomics, psychology, and sociology. Most of this work pertains to pricing, assortment, and product line decisions in the contexts of automotive markets, retailing, online markets, and consumer packaged goods.

In the News

Rafael Becerril Arreola quoted on finding that buying one 16-ounce bottle of something is more efficient than buying two, 8 ounce bottles of the same liquid by Lena Beck, "Consumers Key to Reducing Plastic Waste" Coastal, March 19, 2021.
Rafael Becerril Arreola quoted on weighing 187 different sized PET bottles sold by the best-selling beverage brands in Minnesota to identify the most efficient bottle sizes in providing the highest volume of beverages with the lowest packing weight by Editorial Board, "Plastic Bottles: Larger Ones Reduce PET Waste" Eco Citta, March 5, 2021.
Rafael Becerril Arreola quoted on thinking that reducing PET waste could be achieved by maximizing the content of PET bottles per PET usage, and saying, "Various sizes. Weigh the PET bottles and determine the size with the largest content per weight., "What Is the Capacity of PET Bottles That Are the Most Environmentally Friendly to the Earth?" Gigazine, March 2, 2021.
Rafael Becerril Arreola quoted on developing strategies to tackle the problem of plastic waste that entails coming up with a relatively simple method to tell the difference: change the size of the package to maximize its capacity for a given weight of plastic, "2.3 Liter Bottles Are the Least Harmful" Media Technology, February 26, 2021.
Rafael Becerril Arreola quoted on realizing they could establish a relationship between supermarket beverage sales and plastic waste by Ibrahim Sawal, "Plastic Bottles Holding 2.3 Litres Are Least Harmful to the Planet" NewsScientist, February 25, 2021.
Rafael Becerril Arreola quoted on identifying which bottle sizes are the most efficient to deliver the largest volume of beverage with the lowest packaging weight by Erik Escudero, "Switching Small to Medium Plastic Bottles Reduces PET Waste: Study" Ambiente Plastico, February 25, 2021.
Rafael Becerril Arreola quoted on finding that the amount of variety available in the market is highly sensitive to the income shares of the middle and upper-middle classes and as the middle class has been hollowed out, the assortment on grocery store shelves has, too, as a result. by Washington University , "Widening Income Gap Means Less Grocery Variety for All" Newswise, November 17, 2020.


"Beverage Bottle Capacity, Packaging Efficiency, and the Potential for Plastic Waste Reduction" (with R. E. Bucklin ). Scientific Reports 11, no. 3542 (2021).

Considers the potential for reducing plastic waste by examining the efficiency with which different polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles deliver beverages. Finds that 80% of the variation in bottle weight is explained by bottle capacity, 16% by product category, and 1% by brand.

"Effects of Income Distribution Changes on Assortment Size in the Mainstream Grocery Channel" (with Randolph E. Bucklin and Raphael Thomadsen). Management Science 67, no. 9 (2021): 5301-5967.

Studies the effects of changes in the United States income distribution on assortment size in the mainstream grocery channel. Discusses how census demographics for 1,711 counties are matched to local assortment data from Nielsen in 944 grocery product categories from 2007 to 2013. Shows that holding other demographics constant, assortment size increases with higher average income but decreases with greater income dispersion.

"AP Ethics of Blockchain: A Framework of Technology, Applications, Impacts, and Research Directions," (with Yong Tang, Jason Xiong , and Lakshmi Iyer), Information Technology and People, March 9, 2020.

Provides the first systematic study on the ethics of blockchain, mapping its main socio-technical challenges in technology and applications; second, to identify ethical issues of blockchain; third, to propose a conceptual framework of blockchain ethics study; fourth, to discuss ethical issues for stakeholders.

"Promotions as Competitive Reactions to Recalls and Their Consequences" (with Chen Zhou, Shrihari Sridhar, Tony Haitao Cui , and Yan Dong). Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 47, no. 4 (2019): 702-722.

Tests the link between a major recall (by Toyota) in the automobile context and competitors’ promotional responses and (2) assess the effectiveness of promotional responses and how it varies across brand tiers. Finds that though Toyota recalls induced competitive promotions of approximately $850 on average, the competitive promotional reactions did not significantly affect sales on average.

"Estimating Demand with Substitution and Intraline Price Spillovers." Manufacturing & Service Operations Management 22, no. 3 (2019): 598–614.

Proposes an empirical approach that includes a choice model to abstract rich demand patterns and an estimation algorithm that addresses the endogeneity and collinearity of KVI prices. Illustrates how an empirical application based on vehicle choice datas approach can be implemented in practice and demonstrates the importance of modeling spillovers while yielding interesting managerial implications.

"Service Satisfaction–Market Share Relationships in Partnered Hybrid Offerings" (with Chen Zhou and Raji Srinivasan ). Journal of Marketing 81, no. 5 (2017): 86-103.

Examines the effects of emphases on two aspects of service satisfaction, relational service (interactions with the service provider's staff) and service environment (service provider's facilities), on the market shares of service and goods components of partnered hybrid offerings. Uses multiple secondary data sources from the U.S. automobile industry between 2009 and 2015, the authors find that emphasizing relational service satisfaction increases service market share but decreases goods market share

"Online Retailers’ Promotional Pricing, Free-Shipping Threshold, and Inventory Decisions: A Simulation-Based Analysis" (with Mingming Leng and Mahmut Parlar). European Journal of Operational Research 230, no. 2 (2013): 272-283.

Considers a two-stage decision problem, in which an online retailer first makes optimal decisions on his profit margin and free-shipping threshold, and then determines his inventory level. Starts by developing the retailer’s expected profit function. Makes use of publicly-available statistics to find the best-fitting distribution for consumers’ purchase amounts and the best-fitting function for conversion rate (i.e., probability that an arriving visitor places an online order with the retailer).

"Joint Pricing and Contingent Free-Shipping Decisions in B2C Transactions" (with Mingming Leng). Production and Operations Management 19, no. 4 (2010): 390-405.

Considers an online retailer's joint pricing and contingent free-shipping (CFS) decisions in both monopoly and duopoly structures, which is an important marketing-operations interface problem. Begins by investigating the impacts of a retailer's decisions on consumers' purchase behaviors, and shows that the CFS strategy is useful to acquire the consumers with large order sizes. Computes the probability of repeated purchases, and construct an expected profit function for an online retailer in the monopolistic setting. 

"Why Has Feedback Systems Thinking Struggled to Influence Strategy and Policy Formulation" Systems Research and Behavioral Science 24, no. 1 (2007): 115–118.

Attempts to dissipate the ambiguity that Warren (2004) associates to feedback and its effects. Describes the main differences between models with and without feedback, illustrating the types of behaviours that each of them can describe providing a definition of feedback that differs from that assumed in Warren (2004).