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RSFAS Seminar | A/Prof David Solomon

RSFAS Seminar | A/Prof David Solomon

Speaker: Associate Professor David Solomon

Institution: Boston College

The Perils of Private Provision of Public Goods


We study the consequences of firms engaging in corporate social responsibility within their operations, rather than outside the firm through charitable donations. After April 2018 protests, Starbucks enacted policies that anybody could sit in their stores and use the bathroom without making a purchase. Using anonymized cellphone location data, we estimate this led to a 7.0% decline in attendance relative to other nearby coffee shops. The effect is 84% larger near homeless shelters, and larger for Starbucks’ wealthier customers. Average time spent per visit declined 4.1%. Public urination citations decreased near Starbucks locations, but other minor crimes were unchanged.

Updated:   27 October 2020 / Responsible Officer:  CBE Communications and Outreach / Page Contact:  College Web Team