Song Yao (姚松)
Associate Professor of Marketing, Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis

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I am an Associate Professor of Marketing at Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis.  I have won the Paul Green Best Paper Award (2012) and the John Howard Dissertation Award (2009), both of which are sponsored by the American Marketing Association. I was the finalist for the INFORMS Frank Bass Outstanding Dissertation Award in 2011 and 2012, the John Little Best Paper Award in 2009 and 2011, the Long Term Impact Award in 2017, and the runner-up of Dick Wittink Prize in 2018. I was also selected by the Marketing Science Institute as one of the MSI Young Scholars of 2017.

I am serving on the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science, and Quantitative Marketing and Economics. I am also the Associate Editor of the journal Service Science.

Prior to joining Olin, I taught “Digital / Internet Marketing,” Customer Analytics,” and Marketing Management at the University of Minnesota (Carlson), Northwestern University (Kellogg), and Duke University (Fuqua).


 PhD (Business Administration), Duke University, 2009
 MA (Economics), University of California, Los Angeles, 2004
 BA (Economics), Renmin University of China, 1999
 Contact Information

  Olin Business School
        Washington University in St. Louis
        Knight Hall 426
        1 Brookings Drive
        St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
Recent Research

Rushed reopening may lead to substantial new COVID-19 cases and deaths:
To better understand how social-distancing affects the progress of the pandemic, we study the contagion patterns of COVID-19 by combining county infection data with social-distancing data based on cellphone GPS locations (coauthored with Meng Liu and Raphael Thomadsen). We have also built a website showing our forecasts. We find that social-distancing does slow down the spread of the virus. Consequently, rushed reopening may lead to additional millions of newly infected cases by the end of September 2020. Furthermore, compared to the classical epidemiological SIR model where the growth rate of new cases tends to be exponential, we show the growth may be slow but persistent for a prolonged period of time -- this insight is consistent with the recent growth pattern of new cases observed in the US.

Local soda taxes are less effective and increase cross-shopping activities:
In our recent working paper (with Stephan Seiler and Anna Tuchman), we analyze the impact of a tax on sweetened beverages in Philadelphia, often referred to as a “soda tax.” We find that the tax leads to a 34% price increase for unhealthy beverages such as soda. Demand in the taxed area decreases dramatically by 46%. However, cross-shopping outside of Philadelphia substantially offsets the reduction in sales within the taxed area, and there is little substitution to untaxed beverages (water and natural juices). Furthermore, relatively healthier taxed products experience more reduction in sales. These findings have crucial policy implications for the design of future similar taxes. NPR, MarketWatch, National Review, and Washington Post have reported this research.

© Song Yao. All rights reserved.

Last update: July 2020