Photography

Jordan J Louviere

November 15, 1944 ~ May 7, 2022 (age 77)

Obituary

Jordan J. Louviere, 77, died May 7, 2022, in Seattle, Washington. He is survived by his wife, Cathy, and two sons, William Louviere and John Louviere. 

Jordan had a distinguished and remarkably wide-ranging academic career. His area of interest and the one he played a major role in defining, how people make choices, did not exist when he was in school. He took an unusual path, getting a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, a master’s at the University of Nebraska, and a doctorate from the University of Iowa in geography, dipping into other fields, including psychology, statistics, and transportation. 

Jordan started his academic career as an assistant professor of geography at Florida State University, where he met his wife Cathy. Soon after, they moved to the University of Wyoming. His long term career path was set in motion by switching from geography to marketing when he accepted a position at the University of Iowa, where he first got tenure. Zooming out and seeing patterns was a skill from geography he kept all his life and brought to marketing and understanding of customer choices. While at Iowa, Jordan spent his first Australian stint at the Australian Graduate School of Management. After Iowa, Jordan spent time as chair of the marketing departments of the University of Alberta and University of Sydney, sandwiched in between time at the University of Utah. He later established world class institutes, the Centre for the Study of Choice (CenSoc) at the University of Technology, Sydney, and the Institute for Choice (I4C) at the University of South Australia, to examine, from diverse perspectives, how people make choices. 

Jordan is the inventor of Best-Worst Scaling (BWS) in 1987 while on the faculty of the University of Alberta - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best-worst_scaling - a form of discrete choice experiment widely in use today. He is also the co-inventor of Volumetric Choice Experiments (VCE) introduced in recent years with Dr. Richard Carson and first published this year, 2022.

Jordan brought together researchers in different disciplines and from around the world to conferences and workshops on choice behavior. He worked tirelessly to give both young and established researchers advice and encouragement. He taught an annual summer short course at MIT for over two decades that helped train the current generation of choice modelers around the world. Jordan attracted many of the world’s best researchers to visit and work at CenSoc and I4C. They were fountains of ideas that helped define the field of what is now called choice modelling.

In marketing, Jordan was resolute in his effort to move the discipline from asking about consumer preferences in the form of rating scales to asking consumers about choices between competing alternatives. Underlying this shift was Jordan’s keen sense and encyclopedic knowledge of experimental design that he used to help isolate the specific tradeoffs people were willing to make. The initial variant he brought to marketing incorporated elements first, from psychology, and later, economics, and came to be known as choice-based conjoint analysis in marketing. It was the subject of an early book that brought the approach to a much wider audience. He was elected a Fellow of the Australia-New Zealand Marketing Academy and of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia. In 2010, he received the American Marketing Association’s Charles Coolidge Parlin Award for Lifetime Achievement in Market Research. 

Not just an ivory tower academic, Jordan consulted widely for corporations. He help launch many new products including Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and Motorola’s Razr mobile phone. He was COO of Choiceflows that designed and deployed an online decision support system for small and medium size businesses to reopen safely in the wake of COVID-19. He was the co-founder of Memetrics, a company that pioneered website optimization that is now part of Accenture. 

He was a frequent advisor to government agencies around the world as techniques he developed began to be heavily used in benefit-cost analyses and program evaluations. Always interested in new challenges, Jordan did work in many areas, ranging from financial literacy to teacher retention. In later years, his influence on environmental and health policy rivaled his influence on marketing. He returned often to the topic of enhancing outdoor recreation and his work is now widely used to look at climate change issues. In a health context, his work has proven particularly important in examining questions involving quality of life. He was particularly proud of his papers on smoking cessation and one of his last published papers asks the provocative question: which COVID-19 patient should get the last ICU bed?  

Jordan was a prolific author having produced over 200 scholarly works in the form of journal articles, books, and book chapters, and has an impressive 60,000 citations of his work in other books and papers. His citation count from other researchers is among the highest in the world in the social sciences. Stated Choice Methods: Analysis & Applications, co-written with his long-time collaborator, David Hensher, and his earlier post-doc, Joffre Swait, is recognized as the bible in the field.  It came out in 2000 from Cambridge University Press. A 2015 Cambridge University Press book, Best-Worst Scaling: Theory, Methods & Applications with two other long-time collaborators, Tony Marley and Terry Flynn has taken the choice modelling field by storm. 

Jordan’s work will live on through over a hundred collaborators and graduate students and the countless others he has directly or indirectly influenced. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Bellevue Botanical Garden, Bellevue, WA 98004.

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