Quick Q & A: Jura Liaukonyte

By: Katelyn Godoy
Photo of Jura Liaukonyte, associate professor at Dyson

Advertising expert, apple lover, and childhood “museum curator”—learn a little more about Jura Liaukonyte, associate professor at the Dyson School.

Q: How would your best friend describe you?

A: The one who loves eating apples. It’s true—I go to the Cornell Orchards every week and buy one bag of apples for my home and one for my office. My motto is “three apples a day keep three doctors away.”

Q: If you could teach anything other than Economics of Advertising and Strategic Pricing courses what would you teach?

A: Probably anthropology. I love traveling and learning about different cultures and understanding what historical, political, geographic, and other factors influenced these very diverse cultural paths.

Q: If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?

A: A computer with a satellite internet connection, a solar battery charger, and a GPS navigator to help me get off of the island. Is that cheating?

Q: If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?

A: Kristen Wiig. She could probably make me seem a lot more interesting so I would love to see how she would portray me!

Q: When did you know you wanted to be a professor?

A: My interest in being a professor evolved from my interest in delving deeper into economics questions, which developed in college. Since professors are the ones who mostly get to chart their own research paths, it was a natural fit for me. I developed an interest in advertising related topics early on. Growing up in Soviet Union where ads didn’t exist and then quickly transitioning to a market-based economy, even as a kid I was fascinated by advertising phenomena. I wanted to have an economic framework to understand why some companies advertise and others do not, how ads affect consumers, etc. The majority of my research and teaching are focused around these topics.

Q: What is your go to CTB order?

A: Bagels with smoked salmon and avocado. But my go-to lunch place is Manndible, and I usually order the same thing—Tofu Poquito with all of the add-ons.

Q: What do you like to do for fun in Ithaca?

A: Currently, a lot of what I do now revolves around what is fun for my four-year-old daughter. As a family, during the summer, we love swimming in the lake, and during the colder months we go skiing at Greek Peak. Luckily, my daughter loves winter and has proclaimed that “the cold never bothered her anyway.” (Yes, we are in the Frozen phase right now.)

Q: If you were the CEO of a company, name one thing you would make compulsory in the office and one thing you would ban in the office.

A: I don’t believe in enforcing or banning anything beyond what is considered illegal. Maybe I would use behavioral economics-inspired tricks to nudge employees to save more money?

Q: What is your favorite experience from growing up?

A: My grandparents lived on a beautiful property in Lithuania on a lake. Lots of my favorite childhood memories revolve around being there. My cousin and I were very creative in coming up with excuses not to do any farm work. We built this eclectic “museum” where we displayed antiques from our grandparents’ attic and interesting rocks and branches that we collected. We even had a ticket office and during the family get-togethers we would charge aunts and uncles to come see our “exposition.”

Q: What do you like best about teaching at Cornell?

A: Definitely the students and colleagues. I love being around so many smart, engaged people every day.
Jura Liaukonyte joined the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management in 2009. Jura’s research interests lie at the intersection of applied microeconomics, industrial organization, and quantitative marketing. Her research examines how advertising (particularly advertising content) and other forms of information affect consumer choices and producer incentives.

Since collaborating with colleagues in the Dyson School, Jura has developed a particular interest in the topics of generic (non-branded) advertising and advertising as a public good. As a result, she has applied her interest in IO and advertising-related topics to pursue research into food marketing and labeling issues.