Harbingers of failure

That is the title of a new paper by Anderson, Lin, Simester, and Tucker, the abstract is this:

We show that some customers, whom we call ‘Harbingers’ of failure, systematically purchase new products that flop. Their early adoption of a new product is a strong signal that a product will fail – the more they buy, the less likely the product will succeed. Firms can identify these customers either through past purchases of new products that failed, or through past purchases of existing products that few other customers purchase. We discuss how these insights can be readily incorporated into the new product development process. Our findings challenge the conventional wisdom that positive customer feedback is always a signal of future success.

Is there a comparable phenomenon with new economic ideas? For the pointer I thank Justin Nazari.


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