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Kevin Lewis

May 14, 2022

Decentralized Society: Finding Web3's Soul
Glen Weyl, Puja Ohlhaver & Vitalik Buterin
Microsoft Working Paper, May 2022

Web3 today centers around expressing transferable, financialized assets, rather than encoding social relationships of trust. Yet many core economic activities - such as uncollateralized lending and building personal brands - are built on persistent, non-transferable relationships. In this paper, we illustrate how non-transferable "soulbound" tokens (SBTs) representing the commitments, credentials, and affiliations of "Souls" can encode the trust networks of the real economy to establish provenance and reputation. More importantly, SBTs enable other applications of increasing ambition, such as community wallet recovery, sybil-resistant governance, mechanisms for decentralization, and novel markets with decomposable, shared rights. We call this richer, pluralistic ecosystem "Decentralized Society" (DeSoc) - a co-determined sociality, where Souls and communities come together bottom-up, as emergent properties of each other to co-create plural network goods and intelligences, at a range of scales. Key to this sociality is decomposable property rights and enhanced governance mechanisms - such as quadratic funding discounted by correlation scores - that reward trust and cooperation while protecting networks from capture, extraction, and domination. With such augmented sociality, web3 can eschew today's hyper-financialization in favor of a more transformative, pluralist future of increasing returns across social distance. 

L'Art pour l'Art: Experiencing Art Reduces the Desire for Luxury Goods
Yajin Wang, Alison Jing Xu & Ying Zhang
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

When consumers shop in luxury boutiques, high-end shopping malls, and even online, they increasingly encounter luxury products alongside immersive art displays. Exploring this novel phenomenon with both field studies and lab experiments, the current research shows that experiencing art reduces consumer desire for luxury goods. Three boundary conditions have been identified. The effect does not materialize in contexts in which the work of art is not experienced as art per se, such as when the work of art appears as decoration on the product or packaging or is processed analytically rather than naturally, and when luxury goods are not seen as status goods. We propose that experiencing art induces a mental state of "self-transcendence," which undermines consumers' status-seeking motive and consequently decreases their desire for luxury goods. This research contributes to the literature on consumer aesthetics and has important practical applications for luxury businesses. 

Can incivility be informative? Client incivility as a signal for provider creativity
Russell Matthews et al.
Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, forthcoming

Workplace incivility is generally viewed as a deleterious interpersonal stressor. Yet, alternative theories suggest that incivility may have instrumental implications for some targets. Applying signaling theory, we study client-provider relationships in a health care context to unpack linkages between incivility enacted by organizational outsiders and work creativity responses by employee targets. We argue that providers leverage information from client incivility to provide more creative care over time. In Study 1 (N = 186), results suggest that clients may use incivility to signal perceptions of poor treatment quality to providers. In Study 2 (N = 416), results from topic modeling of qualitative data show that providers observe client incivility and believe it can contain valuable information about client satisfaction. In Study 3 (N = 503), providers reported their experiences of client incivility and creativity (incremental and radical) in client care over five waves of data to capture the incubation time that providers may need to reflect on instances of incivility. Employing trait-state-occasion modeling, our findings show that episodic (i.e., higher than normal) client incivility had positive lagged relationships with incremental and radical provider creativity, suggesting that time is needed for providers to process the information contained in the client incivility signal and creatively modify treatment plans. Theoretical and practical implications for workplace incivility and creativity are discussed. 

Can Consumer-Posted Photos Serve as a Leading Indicator of Restaurant Survival? Evidence from Yelp
Mengxia Zhang & Lan Luo
Management Science, forthcoming

Despite the substantial economic impact of the restaurant industry, large-scale empirical research on restaurant survival has been sparse. We investigate whether consumer-posted photos can serve as a leading indicator of restaurant survival above and beyond reviews, firm characteristics, competitive landscape, and macroconditions. We employ machine learning techniques to extract features from 755,758 photos and 1,121,069 reviews posted on Yelp between 2004 and 2015 for 17,719 U.S. restaurants. We also collect data on restaurant characteristics (e.g., cuisine type, price level) and competitive landscape as well as entry and exit (if applicable) time from each restaurant's Yelp/Facebook page, own website, or Google search engine. Using a predictive XGBoost algorithm, we find that consumer-posted photos are strong predictors of restaurant survival. Interestingly, the informativeness of photos (e.g., the proportion of food photos) relates more to restaurant survival than do photographic attributes (e.g., composition, brightness). Additionally, photos carry more predictive power for independent, young or mid-aged, and medium-priced restaurants. Assuming that restaurant owners possess no knowledge about future photos and reviews, photos can predict restaurant survival for up to three years, whereas reviews are only predictive for one year. We further employ causal forests to facilitate the interpretation of our predictive results. Among photo content variables, the proportion of food photos has the largest positive association with restaurant survival, followed by proportions of outside and interior photos. Among others, the proportion of photos with helpful votes also positively relates to restaurant survival. 

Order Matters: Rating Service Professionals Reduces Tipping Amount
Jinjie Chen et al.
Journal of Marketing, forthcoming

As customer ratings have become ubiquitous and digital platforms can directly request ratings and tips from customers, understanding how a customer rating influences tipping becomes important. We investigate whether, how, why, and when the order of rating and tipping affects both consumer behaviors in seven studies, including one quasi-field experiment, one archival data analysis, one randomized field experiment, and four randomized lab experiments. We show that asking customers to rate a service professional before tipping negatively impacts the tip amount but that tipping first does not affect subsequent rating scores. We propose that the negative effect of rating on tipping occurs because, when rating a service professional first, customers categorize their feedback as a reward for the service professional, which partially alleviates the felt obligation to tip, resulting in a smaller tip. This negative effect is more evident when customers (1) tip from their own pocket, (2) have higher categorization flexibility, or (3) perceive that the service professional benefits from the rating. Moreover, highlighting the consistency motivation after rating but before tipping can attenuate this effect. These boundary conditions not only support our proposed mechanism and evaluate alternative processes but also have significant practical implications. 

Building Brand Assets: The Role of Trademark Rights
Alexander Krasnikov & Satish Jayachandran
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming 

Trademarks play an important role in protecting intangible brand assets. However, the impact of trademark rights on brand assets has received little attention in the literature. Hence, the authors examine the impact of trademark rights on brand assets from the perspective of appropriability, the ability of a firm to benefit from innovation and creativity. To ensure causal identification, they use a natural experimental context where U.S. Supreme Court decisions on trademark rights provide the exogenous variation in strength of trademark rights. Using a database of trademarks registered in the United States and a difference-in-difference estimation approach, the authors show that overall trademark applications and applications to register in other categories increase when trademark rights are strengthened and decrease when trademark rights are weakened. However, trademarking responses of brands to a change in property rights are muted for design trademarks and amplified when a firm has multiple brands. The authors discuss the theoretical, substantive, and managerial implications of the findings and provide guidance for future research.


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