Leaning In or Leaning On? Gender, Homophily, and Activism in Crowdfunding
New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business
Ethan R. Mollick
University of Pennsylvania - Wharton School
July 3, 2014
Homophily is amongst the most cited and studied mechanisms in the social sciences; its ability to explain a wide range of phenomena is well established, and the forms of likeness it can accommodate are exceptionally broad. Despite this breadth, little effort has been devoted to distinguishing the mechanisms underlying homophily that link these varied bases and outcomes. By examining the drivers of choice homophily, we develop the concept of activist choice homophily, where the basis of homophilic attraction is not merely dyadic similarity, but rather perceptions of shared structural barriers stemming from a common social identity based on group membership. We theorize how this form of choice homophily differs from interpersonal choice homophily, emerging from the perceived similarity between two individuals, as well as from induced homophily at the structural level. Using data from a laboratory experiment, we find evidence that activist choice homophily predicts (and in fact nearly completely mediates) the choice of female participants to donate to a crowdfunding project proposed by a female founder. Consistent empirical patterns are observed in real-world data from the world’s largest crowdfunding platform.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 59
Keywords: startups, crowdfunding, gender, enterpreneurial finance
Date posted: July 6, 2014 ; Last revised: December 3, 2015
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