Moonwon Chung

Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Moore School of Business

First Advisor

Luv Sharma

Second Advisor

Manoj K. Malhotra


Rapid advancements in telecommunication devices and the emergence of the mobile app ecosystem have immensely impacted our lives. Innovative apps have helped improve market efficiency in agriculture, contributed to environmental sustainability through peer-to-peer sharing services, and stimulated financial inclusion in developing economies. However, mobile app developers have to deal with challenges that can hinder the app to reach its full potential. In order to achieve commercial success in the hyper-competitive business landscape where freemium business models are dominating, developers need deep understanding on how non-price operational levers such as product design, delivery, and continued service lead to user adoption.

From the two essays that comprise this dissertation, the first essay aims to explain user downloads of free mobile apps during the introduction stage in the lifecycle based on app feature designs and launch timings. The second essay estimates the effect of app enhancement updates on app downloads and explores contextual factors such as update regularity, lifecycle stage, and market activity levels that may further influence the effectiveness of the enhancements. Research questions proposed in the essays are answered by statistical analysis of heteroskedasticity-based instrumental variables regression and difference-in-differences analysis on free iOS mobile game app data acquired from app market Application Programming Interface (API) that contains daily performance observations over a 3.5-year time horizon. Data extraction and sample construction relied on naive Bayes tf-idf document classification algorithms and Bass diffusion model predictions which are performed via multi-thread processing on a high-performance cluster computing (HPC) server.