Reference Prices in Passenger Cars – A secondary research study

As part of a course called behavioral dimensions & marketing strategies, which is a sequel to consumer behavior,1) I was required to pick any one concept of consumer behaviour, find five scholarly journal articles on it and then apply the learning from the papers onto a market category of my choosing.

I chose to study the small passenger cars segment and apply the concept of reference price on it. This seemed interesting at the time since Tata Nano had just been launched and its effect on existing cars especially with respect to their price perception and reference price seemed novel and relatively unexplored.

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  1. Sequel courses, like sequel movies, are often inspired by the success of the first one and are burdened with expectations : []

The role of credit default swaps in precipitating the current financial crisis

In november of 2008, when the financial crisis was beginning to unfold, I was enrolled in a course called “banking, finanicial markets and systems”. This was an interesting course taught by Professor PC Narayan. One of the main thesis of professor was that lack of regulation causes high leverage and high risk taking and therefore makes financial markets unstable. I, along with a couple of my classmates, tried to investigate the role of credit default swaps, in precipitating the crisis. We started out with the following idea.

Credit default swaps is a contract in which the buyer makes a series of payments to the seller in exchange for the right to payoff if there is a default in respect of the reference party. The market for credit derivatives became larger than the underlying assets themselves1, and it is often alleged that these instruments catalyzed the meltdown2. The term paper aims at exploring the instrumentality of these instruments in precipitating the current financial crisis.

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  1. Demystifying the Credit Crunch: A Primer and Glossary, July 2008, Arthur D Little, Private equity council, by Jonathan Cheng, Matthew Walsh and Simon Flax of Arthur D. Little’s New York office. Pp 5. []
  2. The Monster That Ate Wall Street, How ‘credit default swaps’—an insurance against bad loans—turned from a smart bet into a killer, by Matthew Philips, newsweek, published Sep 27, 2008, from the magazine issue dated Oct 6, 2008. []

Is election commission’s data on candidates of any use?

In an interesting statistical study that I did with a couple of my 4.0 friends1, we set out to find whether all the data that election commission collects from each candidate has any predictive power on their chances of winning. Our stated objective was:

The election commission of India collects various data on candidates of Lok Sabha elections. This data includes such variables as age, assets, liabilities, number and nature of criminal cases registered against the candidate, educational status etc.

The authors were interested in studying the effects (or the absence thereof) of these variables on the outcome of the election.2

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  1. In IIMB, grade points are awarded for each course out of a max of 4.0. These classmates of mine, Gaurav Pathak and Amit Purohit, could find it with ease! []
  2. Page 4 of the report []