Gad Allon

Gad Allon
  • Jeffrey A. Keswin Professor
  • Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions
  • Director of the Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    3730 Walnut Street
    549 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: Service Operations, Operations Strategy, Gig Economy, Supply Chain Management.

Links: CV


Gad Allon is the Jeffrey A. Keswin Professor and Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions, and the director of the Management and Technology Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

He received his PhD in Management Science from Columbia Business School in New York and holds a Bachelor and Master degree from the Israeli Institute of Technology.

His research interests include operations management in general, and service operations and operations strategy in particular. Professor Allon has been studying models of information sharing among firms and customers both in service and retail settings, as well as competition models in the service industry. His articles have appeared in leading journals, including Management Science, Manufacturing and Service Operations Management and Operations Research. Professor Allon won the 2011 “Wickham Skinner Early-Career Research Award” of the Production and Operations Management Society. He is the Operations Management Department Editor of Management Science and serves on the editorial board of several journals.

Gad is an award-winning educator, teaching courses on scaling operations and operations strategy. He has also been an innovative leader in many educational technology initiatives. He is the co-founder of ForClass, a platform that enables professors to drive higher student engagement and accountability in their classrooms. Professor Allon regularly consults firms both on service strategy and operations strategy.

Gad writes a weekly newsletter at:

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  • Gad Allon, Daniel Chen, Ken Moon (Under Review), Measuring Strategic Behavior by Gig Economy Workers: Multihoming and Repositioning.

    Abstract: Gig economy workers make strategic decisions about where and when to work. These decisions are central to gig economy operations and are important policy targets both to firms that operate ridehail and delivery platforms and to regulators that oversee labor markets. We collaborate with a driver analytics company to empirically measure two types of strategic behavior: multihoming, an online change between platforms, and repositioning, a physical change between locations. Using a comprehensive dataset that tracks worker activity across platforms, we estimate a structural model to analyze how workers optimize their earnings and respond to earnings-based incentives to switch platforms or locations. We show that workers are highly heterogeneous in their preferences and find multihoming especially costly, both in absolute terms and relative to the cost of repositioning. Through counterfactual simulations, we show that firms and regulators can substantially improve system efficiency by enabling workers to freely multihome: workers' hourly earnings increase by 2.0% and service levels increase by 53.1%. In contrast, the existing equilibrium is similar to a system without multihoming, in which hourly earnings increase by 1.3% but service capacity decreases by 4.1%. Additionally, we show that policies to limit traffic congestion by increasing travel costs should include incentives to ensure that workers remain able to efficiently reposition. An increase to repositioning costs by $1 per mile increases hourly earnings by 2.3% but substantially decreases service capacity by 29.6%.

  • Gad Allon, Georgios Askalidis, Randall Berry, Nicole Immorlica, Ken Moon, Amandeep Singh (2021), When to Be Agile: Ratings and Version Updates in Mobile Apps, Management Science, 68 (6), pp. 4261-4278.

    Abstract: Lean and agile models of product development organize flexible capacity to rapidly update individual products in response to customer feedback. While agile operations have been adopted across numerous industries, neither the benefits nor the factors explaining when firms choose to become agile are validated and understood. We study these questions using data on the development of mobile apps, which occurs through the dynamic release of new versions into the mobile app marketplace, in conjunction with customer ratings. We develop a structural model estimating the dependence of product versioning on (A) market feedback in the form of customer ratings, against (B) project and work-based considerations, such as development timelines, scale economies, and operational constraints. In contrast to when they actually benefit from operational agility, firms become agile when launching riskier products (in terms of uncertainty in initial customer reception) and less agile when able to exploit scale economies from coordinating development over a portfolio of apps. Agile operations increase firm payoffs by margins of 20-80%, and interestingly partial agility is often sufficient to capture the bulk of these returns. Finally turning to a question of marketplace design, we study how the mobile app marketplace should design the display of ratings to incentivize quality (increasing app categories’ average user satisfaction rates by as much as 26%).

  • Gad Allon and Jan A Van Mieghem (2016), Global Dual Sourcing: Tailored Base-Surge Allocation to Near- and Offshore Production, Management Science, 56 (1), pp. 110-124. 10.1287/mnsc.1090.1099

  • Gad Allon, Achal Bassamboo, Kejia Hu (Work In Progress), Understanding Customers Retrial in Call Centers: Preference of Service Quality and Service Speed.

  • Gad Allon, Qiuping Yu, Achai Bassamboo (Forthcoming), How do Delay Announcement Shape Customer Behavior: An Empirical Study.

  • Gad Allon, Ruomeng Cui, Achal Bassamboo, Jan A Van Mieghem (2015), Information Sharing In Supply Chains: An Empirical and Theoretical Valuation, Management Science, 61 (11), pp. 2803-2824. 10.1287/mnsc.2014.2132

  • Gad Allon, Dennis J. Zhang, Jan A Van Mieghem (Draft), Does Social Interaction Improve Service Quality? Field Evidence from Massive Open Online Education.

  • Gad Allon and Pengfei Guo (Work In Progress), Information sharing in the presence of loss averse customers.

  • Gad Allon, Achal Bassamboo, Seyed Iravani, Qiuping Yu (Under Revision), Managing Customer Expectations and Priorities in Service Systems.

  • Gad Allon and Dennis J. Zhang (Draft), Managing Service Systems in presence of Social Networks.


All Courses

  • CIS0099 - Ugrad Resrch/Ind Study

    An opportunity for the student to become closely associated with a professor (1) in a research effort to develop research skills and techniques and/or (2) to develop a program of independent in-depth study in a subject area in which the professor and student have a common interest. The challenge of the task undertaken must be consistent with the student's academic level. To register for this course, the student must submit a detailed proposal, signed by the independent study supervisor, to the SEAS Office of Academic Programs (111 Towne) no later than the end of the "add" period. Prerequisite: A maximum of 2 c.u. of CIS 0099 may be applied toward the B.A.S. or B.S.E. degree requirements.

  • EAS4990 - Senior Capstone

    The Senior Capstone Project is required for all BAS degree students, in lieu of the senior design course. The Capstone Project provides an opportunity for the student to apply the theoretical ideas and tools learned from other courses. The project is usually applied, rather than theoretical, exercise, and should focus on a real world problem related to the career goals of the student. The one-semester project may be completed in either the fall or sprong term of the senior year, and must be done under the supervision of a sponsoring faculty member. To register for this course, the student must submit a detailed proposal, signed by the supervising professor, and the student's faculty advisor, to the Office of Academic Programs two weeks prior to the start of the term.

  • EDEN5030 - Management in Education

    Management in Education introduces the critical management skills involved in planning, structuring, controlling and leading an organization. The course provides a framework for understanding issues involved in both managing and being managed. The class develops a systems view of organizations, examining organizations as part of a context, including but not limited to environment, strategy, structure, culture, tasks, people and outputs. Students consider how managerial decisions made in any one of these domains affect decisions in each of the others. Prerequisite: Enrollment in Education Entrepreneurship program.

  • ESE5990 - Master's Indep Study

  • OIDD2340 - M&T First Year Seminar

    The objective of this seminar course is to help students understand the intersection of management and technology and how it is being translated in practice. It is designed to lay the foundation for an integrated productive learning program at Penn as students adjust to their new educational environment. The seminar is structured to accomplish this through faculty and alumni speakers from different sectors. Enrollment is limited to the freshman students and the few transfer students admitted to the M&T program only.

  • OIDD2360 - Scal Ops in Tech Venture

    This course helps students learn to make strategic scaling decisions that are grounded in operational reality. Students will study how to build and evaluate the "operation systems" of the firm to maximize value with the focus on scaling the firm's operations. This involves tailoring the firm's operational competencies, assets, and processes to a specific business strategy. The course will approach the challenge of scaling operations and operations strategy by taking a holistic view that incorporates competitive strategy, financial evaluation, and the customer experience.

  • OIDD2990 - Judg & Dec Making Res Im

    This class provides a high-level introduction to the field of judgment and decision making (JDM) and in-depth exposure to the process of doing research in this area. Throughout the semester you will gain hands-on experience with several different JDM research projects. You will be paired with a PhD student or faculty mentor who is working on a variety of different research studies. Each week you will be given assignments that are central to one or more of these studies, and you will be given detailed descriptions of the research projects you are contributing to and how your assignments relate to the successful completion of these projects. To complement your hands-on research experience, throughout the semester you will be assigned readings from the book Nudge by Thaler and Sunstein, which summarizes key recent ideas in the JDM literature. You will also meet as a group for an hour once every three weeks with the class's faculty supervisor and all of his or her PhD students to discuss the projects you are working on, to discuss the class readings, and to discuss your own research ideas stimulated by getting involved in various projects. Date and time to be mutually agreed upon by supervising faculty and students. the 1CU version of this course will involve approx. 10 hours of research immersion per week and a 10-page paper. The 0.5 CU version of this course will involve approx 5 hours of research immersion per week and a 5-page final paper. Please contact Professor Joseph Simmons if you are interested in enrolling in the course:

  • OIDD3990 - Supervised Study

    This course number is currently used for several course types including independent studies, experimental courses and Management & Technology Freshman Seminar. Instructor permission required to enroll in any independent study. Wharton Undergraduate students must also receive approval from the Undergraduate Division to register for independent studies. Section 002 is the Management and Technology Freshman Seminar; instruction permission is not required for this section and is only open to M&T students. For Fall 2020, Section 004 is a new course titled AI, Business, and Society. The course provides a overview of AI and its role in business transformation. The purpose of this course is to improve understanding of AI, discuss the many ways in which AI is being used in the industry, and provide a strategic framework for how to bring AI to the center of digital transformation efforts. In terms of AI overview, we will go over a brief technical overview for students who are not actively immersed in AI (topic covered include Big Data, data warehousing, data-mining, different forms of machine learning, etc). In terms of business applications, we will consider applications of AI in media, Finance, retail, and other industries. Finally, we will consider how AI can be used as a source of competitive advantage. We will conclude with a discussion of ethical challenges and a governance framework for AI. No prior technical background is assumed but some interest in (and exposure to) technology is helpful. Every effort is made to build most of the lectures from the basics.

  • OIDD6150 - Operations Strategy

    Operations strategy is about organizing people and resources to gain a competitive advantage in the delivery of products (both goods and services) to customers. This course approaches this challenge primarily from two perspectives: 1) how should a firm design their products so that they can be profitably offered; 2) how can a firm best organize and acquire resources to deliver its portfolio of products to customers. To be able to make intelligent decisions regarding these high-level choices, this course also provides a foundation of analytical methods. These methods give students a conceptual framework for understanding the linkage between how a firm manages its supply and how well that supply matches the firm's resulting demand. Specific course topics include designing service systems, managing inventory and product variety, capacity planning, approaches to sourcing and supplier management, constructing global supply chains, managing sustainability initiatives, and revenue management. This course emphasizes both quantitative tools and qualitative frameworks. Neither is more important than the other.

  • OIDD6360 - Scaling Operations

    The goal of this course is to make strategic scaling decisions that are grounded in operational reality. We study how to build and evaluate the operational business model of the firm to maximize value with the focus on scaling the firm's operations. We will approach the challenge of scaling by taking a holistic view that incorporates competitive strategy, financial evaluation, and the customer experience. We focus on decisions and challenges that many firms that try to scale their operations face with the focus on assessing the readiness of the firm to scale, and the required steps to scale. In particular, we will discuss whether the firm should build competencies in-house (i.e., investing in a portfolio of assets) or buy them (i.e., developing and implementing a global sourcing strategy and integrating external partners) and the risks associated with scaling these. We will also discuss the organizational implications of scaling. There are no formal pre-requisites to the class. Students who have already taken OIDD 611, OIDD 615, and STAT 613 should be equipped for the class. Other students should have a solid understanding of elementary probability and statistics. For questions regarding the specifics of your background, please contact the instructor.

  • OIDD9400 - Operations Mgmt

    Concepts, models, and theories relevant to the management of the processes required to provide goods or services to consumers in both the public and private sectors. Includes production, inventory and distribution functions, scheduling of service or manufacturing activities, facility capacity planning and design, location analysis, product design and choice of technology. The methodological basis for the course includes management science, economic theory,organization theory, and management information system theory.


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