Dr. Jingqi Wang, Assistant Professor in the School of Busine 2017.02.20

【Title】Impact of Queue Configuration on Service Time: Evidence from a Supermarket 

【Speaker】Dr. Jingqi Wang, Assistant Professor in the School of Business at HKU 

【Host】Dr. Simin Huang 

【Time】Feb 24, 2017, Friday 10:00-11:00am 

【Location】Room N510, Shunde Building 


We study how queue configuration affects human servers’ service time by comparing dedicated with shared queues using field data from a natural experiment in a supermarket. We hypothesize that queue configuration may affect servers’ service rate through several mechanisms: pooling may affects service rate directly due to social loafing effect and competition effect, and indirectly via its impact on queue length. To investigate these impacts, we take advantage of the supermarket’s checkout layout, and use a data set containing both checkout transaction details and queue information collected from video recordings in the supermarket. After we control for the queue length, we find that servers in dedicated queues are about 10.7% faster than those in shared queues, mainly due to the social loafing effect. We also demonstrate that pooling has an indirect negative effect on service time through its impact on queue length. In addition, the queue configuration’s direct effect and its indirect queue length effect function independently to each other. In aggregation, the social loafing effect dominates, and servers slow down (a 6.86% increase in service time) in shared queues.


【Brief bio】

Jingqi Wang is an Assistant Professor in the School of Business at HKU. His current research interests include empirical studies in operations management, innovation investment decisions in supply chains, technology supply chains, and operations economics. He received his Ph.D. in operations management from Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, and obtains his Bachelor of Science degrees in Industrial Engineering from Tsinghua University.

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