Issues in Crowdfunding: Theoretical and Empirical Investigation on Kickstarter

34 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2013

See all articles by Calvin Qiu

Calvin Qiu

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics and Politics; ICF GHK

Date Written: October 27, 2013


This paper investigates public good and informational advertising issues in crowdfunding. When discussing public good aspect of crowdfunding, with reward-based platforms with minimum pledge threshold, such as Kickstarter, two goods need to be considered: (1) reaching the pledge threshold, and (2) rewards. This paper argues that, for reaching pledge threshold, the public can contribute either in financial pledges, or advertising effort. Because advertising effort is not rewarded, nor is it recoverable, it suffers problems related to private provision of public goods, with implications to contribution patterns. This paper also makes an initial foray into empirically estimating the effects of advertising on Kickstarter projects, and constructs a database recording the frequency of media mentions, backer updates, Kickstarter feature, and Twitter mentions. It finds that being featured on Kickstarter front page is associated with the greatest positive effect in pledges when compared to other forms of advertising. It also observes that a significant number of projects are repeatedly featured on the front page, raising the question of whether valuable advertising on the front page should be more evenly distributed between projects.

Keywords: crowdfunding, entrepreneurship, public good, private provision, informational advertising

JEL Classification: H41, L26, M37, O31

Suggested Citation

Qiu, Calvin and Qiu, Calvin, Issues in Crowdfunding: Theoretical and Empirical Investigation on Kickstarter (October 27, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

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