In The Surprising Breadth of Harbingers of Failure (Sci-Hub mirror), a trio of economists and business-school profs build on a 2015 Journal of Marketing Research paper that claimed that some households’ purchasing preferences are a reliable indicator of which products will fail — that is, if households in a certain ZIP code like a product, it will probably not succeed. The original paper calls these “harbinger households.” In the new paper, the researchers consider very large data-sets on consumer goods and fashion purchasing, house-buying, and political donations, to examine whether being a “harbinger household” correlates to other predictors of failure, and find that these households are also likely to buy real-estate that makes lower profits (or generates larger losses) than nearby properties; they are likely to buy fashion and consumer goods that get discontinued due to lackluster sales; and they are more likely to donate to losing politicians’ campaigns than winners. The researchers also claim that harbinger households voluntarily cluster: that when a harbinger household moves, it is likely that it will move to another habringer ZIP...