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Kelly  Goldsmith - Vanderbilt University. Nashville, TN, US

Kelly Goldsmith Kelly  Goldsmith

Professor of Marketing | Vanderbilt University


Expert in marketing, market research, and consumer behavior focusing on the impact of scarcity and sales on shoppers' mindsets.







Professor of Marketing at Vanderbilt Kelly Goldsmith TEDx Nashville How to Make the Most Out of Not Having Enough | Kelly Goldsmith | TEDxNashville



Goldsmith received the Richard M. Clewett Research Chair and the McManus Research Chair for achievements in research while at the Kellogg School of Management. Additionally, she was the winner of the Levy & Weiss AMA Dissertation Competition and received honorable mention for the SCP-SHETH Dissertation Award.

In addition to conducting her own research, Goldsmith's teaching has received high praise: she received the Sidney J. Levy Award for Excellence in Teaching (2012, 2014). In 2013, she was one of five Professors at the Kellogg School of Management nominated by the graduating students to receive the L.G. Lavengood Outstanding Professor of the Year Award, Kellogg's highest teaching honor. Further, in 2014, she was named as one of the "Top 40 Most Outstanding B-School Professors in the World Under 40" (Poets& Quants) and one of "Eight Young B-School Professors on the Rise" (Fortune). In 2017, she was the winner of two Impact Awards for her teaching.

Fun fact: Goldsmith was once a contestant on "Survivor" and says the lessons she learned about scarcity during that experience have impacted her scholarship today.

Areas of Expertise (6)


Consumer Behavior

Market Research




Accomplishments (5)

Faculty Impact Award Winner (professional)

Faculty Impact Award Winner

Marketing Science Institute (MSI) Young Scholar (professional)

Marketing Science Institute (MSI) Young Scholar

Sidney J. Levy Award for Excellence in Teaching (professional)

Sidney J. Levy Award for Excellence in Teaching

Grant Winner (professional)

Provost Research Studio

JCR Outstanding Reviewer Award (professional)

JCR Outstanding Reviewer Award

Education (4)

Yale University: M.Phil.

Yale University: Ph.D.

Yale University: M.S.

Duke University: B.S.

Affiliations (3)

  • Co-Editor, Journal of Consumer Psychology
  • Co-editor, Journal of the Association for Consumer Research
  • Editorial Review Board, Journal of Consumer Psychology

Selected Media Appearances (10)

Motorists line up at stations in D.C. region as fear of scarcity prompts hunt for gas

Washington Post  online


Kelly Goldsmith, a professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University who has studied scarcity and uncertainty, said people tend to act defensively, even in a situation of “fake scarcity.”

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Despite pipeline restart, thousands of gas stations remain dry

NBC News  online


“There is not data showing that the gasoline shortage will worsen due to supply-side issues,” said Kelly Goldsmith, associate professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University, in an email. “And demand-side issues are under our control – we do not have to hoard gasoline.”

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Gasoline Buying Fever Rages as Pipeline Company Begins Restart

New York Times  online


“A lot of people are comparing this to the toilet paper hoarding of a year ago,” said Kelly Goldsmith, a Vanderbilt University marketing professor. “Once the dominoes start to fall, the pace picks up fast and furious.”

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It’s Not Marketing. These 18 Products Are Truly Limited Editions

Bloomberg  online


It’s not about “good taste,” either: The appeal is an instinct hardwired into the human brain. “As things are unavailable, we’ve learned we need to fight harder to get them,” says Kelly Goldsmith, a behavioral scientist and associate professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University whose research focuses on scarcity. “Whether that’s bison meat when we were cave people or A grades at school when you’re marked on a curve.”

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Panic buying amid a second COVID-19 wave

CTV News  tv


Marketing professor at Vanderbilt University, Kelly Goldsmith says she thinks there will still be a fundamental stocking up of the basics.

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Coronavirus rationing: Target, Walmart limit purchases of hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, toilet paper

USA Today  online


Kelly Goldsmith, an associate professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University, has studied consumer behaviors around scarcity and how consumers behave. This panic shopping "is way worse than Black Friday because nobody's going to die if they don't get that flat screen on discount from Walmart," she said.

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A Survivor contestant and scarcity expert explains why you're panic-buying

Business Insider  online


To her students at Vanderbilt University, Kelly Goldsmith is an expert on consumer behavior in the face of scarcity. To Survivor fans, she's a trooper who lasted 24 days in the searing Kenyan heat on the third season of the reality TV show. But to people anxious about the new coronavirus, she's one of a few people in the world that understand exactly what is motivating the Purell-hoarding and panic-buying that's going on in countries around the world.

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Should You Spend, or Save, as if You’ll Live Forever?

New York Times  online


“You see people get into binge savings in their 60s,” said Kelly Goldsmith, associate professor of marketing at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management. “What that suggests to me is as you approach your retirement years, you understand I’m going to be the same person 10 years from now. There is less of a gap between who you are and what you’re going to be.”

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The Four Social Media Horsemen Of The Scarcity Apocalypse

Forbes  online


“I consider Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram to be the four horsemen of the subjective scarcity apocalypse,” says marketing professor Kelly Goldsmith. “I mean, these platforms give us 24/7 access into all of the lives of all of those Joneses who we are so desperate to keep up with.”

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6 Things You Should Know About Groupon

U.S. News & World Report  online


Don't buy any deal vouchers until you've reviewed the redemption requirements. "Every deal has limitations in terms of when its promotional value expires and what the deal can and cannot be used toward," says Kelly Goldsmith, associate professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management. "It may be associated with a minimum spend at the vendor, and not all vendors within a chain may accept the Groupon."

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Selected Articles (5)

Matters of Time (Scarcity): Do Offline Theories Predict Online Effects?


Jillian Hmurovic, Cait Poynor Lamberton, Kelly Goldsmith

2019 Can past theory about offline marketing tactics be presumed to hold in the contemporary online world? In this paper, we present a systematic approach to answering this question, focusing on theory related to time-scarcity promotions. First, we identify theoretically-important differences between the contexts in which original time-scarcity theories were developed and the current marketplace where they are applied.

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The effects of scarcity on consumer decision journeys

Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

Rebecca Hamilton, Debora Thompson, Sterling Bone, Lan Nguyen Chaplin, Vladas Griskevicius, Kelly Goldsmith, Ronald Hill, Deborah Roedder John, Chiraag Mittal, Thomas O’Guinn, Paul Piff, Caroline Roux, Anuj Shah, Meng Zhu

2019 Research in marketing often begins with two assumptions: that consumers are able to choose among desirable products, and that they have sufficient resources to buy them. However, many consumer decision journeys are constrained by a scarcity of products and/or a scarcity of resources.

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A Self-Regulatory Model of Resource Scarcity

Journal of Consumer Psychology

Christopher Cannon, Kelly Goldsmith, Caroline Roux

2019 Academics have shown a growing interest in the effects of resource scarcity—a discrepancy between one's current resource levels and a higher, more desirable reference point. However, the existing literature lacks an overarching theory to explain the breadth of findings across different types of resources.

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You Don’t Blow Your Diet on Twinkies: Choice Processes When Choice Options Conflict with Incidental Goals

Journal of the Association for Consumer Research

Kelly Goldsmith, Elizabeth Friedman, Ravi Dhar

2019 Consumers often have multiple goals that are active simultaneously and make choices to satisfy those goals. However, no work to date has studied how people choose when all available options serve a goal (e.g., a choice-set goal) that conflicts with another goal they hold (e.g., an incidental goal).

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When Does Altruism Trump Self-Interest? The Moderating Role of Affect in Extrinsic Incentives

Journal of the Association for Consumer Research

Uzma Khan, Kelly Goldsmith, Ravi Dhar

2018 Extrinsic incentives play a key role in motivating behavior. However, conflicting findings have been observed with respect to the effectiveness of various extrinsic incentives (eg, a cash reward vs. a donation to charity) in motivation.

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