Business Administration - Research Publications

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    Interpretable modelling of retail demand and price elasticity for passenger flights using booking data
    Meyer, JF ; Kauermann, G ; Smith, MS (SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2022-05-09)
    We propose a model of retail demand for air travel and ticket price elasticity at the daily booking and individual flight level. Daily bookings are modelled as a non-homogeneous Poisson process with respect to the time to departure. The booking intensity is a function of booking and flight level covariates, including non-linear effects modelled semi-parametrically using penalized splines. Customer heterogeneity is incorporated using a finite mixture model, where the latent segments have covariate-dependent probabilities. We fit the model to a unique dataset of over one million daily counts of bookings for 9 602 scheduled flights on a short-haul route over two years. A control variate approach with a strong instrument corrects for a substantial level of price endogeneity. A rich latent segmentation is uncovered, along with strong covariate effects. The calibrated model can be used to quantify demand and price elasticity for different flights booked on different days prior to departure and is a step towards continuous pricing; something that is a major objective of airlines. As our model is interpretable, forecasts can be created under different scenarios. For instance, while our model is calibrated on data collected prior to COVID-19, many of the empirical insights are likely to remain valid as air travel recovers in the post-COVID-19 period.
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    Bayesian variable selection for non-Gaussian responses: a marginally calibrated copula approach
    Klein, N ; Smith, MS (WILEY, 2020-09-02)
    We propose a new highly flexible and tractable Bayesian approach to undertake variable selection in non-Gaussian regression models. It uses a copula decomposition for the joint distribution of observations on the dependent variable. This allows the marginal distribution of the dependent variable to be calibrated accurately using a nonparametric or other estimator. The family of copulas employed are "implicit copulas" that are constructed from existing hierarchical Bayesian models widely used for variable selection, and we establish some of their properties. Even though the copulas are high dimensional, they can be estimated efficiently and quickly using Markov chain Monte Carlo. A simulation study shows that when the responses are non-Gaussian, the approach selects variables more accurately than contemporary benchmarks. A real data example in the Web Appendix illustrates that accounting for even mild deviations from normality can lead to a substantial increase in accuracy. To illustrate the full potential of our approach, we extend it to spatial variable selection for fMRI. Using real data, we show our method allows for voxel-specific marginal calibration of the magnetic resonance signal at over 6000 voxels, leading to an increase in the quality of the activation maps.