Saturday, March 7, 2020

Free bathrooms in Starbucks: Cellphone location data allows to know of a 7.3% decline in store attendance; remaining customers spent 4.1% less time in Starbucks relative to nearby coffee shops

Gurun, Umit and Nickerson, Jordan and Solomon, David H., The Perils of Private Provision of Public Goods (January 31, 2020). SSRN:

Abstract: In May 2018, in response to protests, Starbucks changed its policies nationwide to allow anybody to sit in their stores and use the bathroom without making a purchase. Using a large panel of anonymized cellphone location data, we estimate that the policy led to a 7.3% decline in store attendance at Starbucks locations relative to other nearby coffee shops and restaurants. This decline cannot be calculated from Starbucks’ public disclosures, which lack the comparison group of other coffee shops. The decline in visits is around 84% larger for stores located near homeless shelters. The policy also affected the intensive margin of demand: remaining customers spent 4.1% less time in Starbucks relative to nearby coffee shops after the policy enactment. Wealthier customers reduced their visits more, but black and white customers were equally deterred. The policy led to fewer citations for public urination near Starbucks locations, but had no effect on other similar public order crimes. These results show the difficulties of companies attempting to provide public goods, as potential customers are crowded out by non-paying members of the public.

Keywords: Public Good, Socially Responsible Investment, ESG investment, Homeless, Starbucks, Location data
JEL Classification: A11, A13, C55, D02, D22, D61, D62, D63, D64, H23, G30, L21, I15, G34

Aversion towards simple broken patterns predicts moral judgment

Aversion towards simple broken patterns predicts moral judgment. Anton Gollwitzer et al. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 160, 1 July 2020, 109810.

Abstract: To what extent can simple, domain-general factors inform moral judgment? Here we examine whether a basic cognitive-affective factor predicts moral judgment. Given that most moral transgressions break the assumed pattern of behavior in society, we propose that people's domain-general aversion towards broken patterns – their negative affect in response to the distortion of repeated forms or models – may predict heightened moral sensitivity. In Study 1, participants’ nonsocial pattern deviancy aversion (e.g., aversion towards broken patterns of geometric shapes) predicted greater moral condemnation of harm and purity violations. This link was stronger for intuitive thinkers, suggesting that this link occurs via an intuitive rather than analytical pathway. Extending these results, in Study 2, pattern deviancy aversion predicted greater punishment of harm and purity violations. Finally, in Study 3, in line with pattern deviancy aversion predicting moral condemnation because moral violations break the pattern of behavior in society, pattern deviancy aversion predicted context-dependent morality. Participants higher in pattern deviancy aversion exhibited a greater shift towards tolerating moral violations when these violations were described as the pattern of behavior in an alternate society. Collectively, these results suggest that something as basic as people's aversion towards broken patterns is linked to moral judgment.

Keywords: Pattern deviancy aversionMoralityPunishmentMoral judgmentBroken patterns

Polarization is increasing not only among political parties adherents, also intraparty polarization between ideologically extreme and ideologically moderate partisans is on the rise

Intraparty Polarization in American Politics. Eric Groenendyk, Michael W. Sances, and Kirill Zhirkov. The Journal of Politics, Aug 27 2019. Free

Abstract: We know that elite polarization and mass sorting have led to an explosion of hostility
between parties, but how do Republicans and Democrats feel toward their own respective parties? Have these trends led to more cohesion or more division within parties? Using the American National Election Studies (ANES) time series, we first show that intraparty polarization between ideologically extreme and ideologically moderate partisans is on the rise. Second, we demonstrate that this division within parties has important implications for how we think about affective polarization between parties. Specifically, the distribution of relative affect between parties has not become bimodal, but merely dispersed. Thus, while the mean partisan has become affectively polarized, the modal partisan has not. These results suggest polarization and sorting may be increasing the viability of third party candidates and making realignment more likely.

Keywords: Polarization, Party Coalitions, Realignment, Ideology