Prosocial Goal Pursuit in Crowdfunding: Evidence from Kickstarter.com

Journal of Marketing Research, Forthcoming

Posted: 19 Apr 2017 Last revised: 8 Jan 2019

See all articles by Hengchen Dai

Hengchen Dai

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management

Dennis Zhang

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School

Date Written: August 15, 2018

Abstract

In reward-based crowdfunding, creators of entrepreneurial projects solicit capital from potential consumers to reach a funding goal and offer future products/services in return. We examine consumers’ contribution patterns using a novel dataset of 28,591 projects collected at 30-minute resolution from Kickstarter.com. Extending past research assuming that economic considerations (such as project quality and campaign success likelihood) drive backers’ decisions, we provide the cleanest field evidence so far that consumers also have prosocial motives to help creators reach their funding goals. We find that projects collect funding faster right before (vs. right after) meeting their funding goals because consumers not only are more likely to fund projects, but also contribute greater amounts of money prior to goal attainment. This effect is amplified when the nature of a project tends to evoke consumers’ prosocial motivation and when a project’s creator is a single person. These results suggest that consumers’ prosocial motives not only play a role in reward-based crowdfunding, but also can outweigh the opposing effects of economic factors including rational herding and certainty about campaign success.

Keywords: Goal, Prosocial Motivation, Decision Making, Crowdfunding

JEL Classification: D03, D12, D83

Suggested Citation

Dai, Hengchen and Zhang, Dennis, Prosocial Goal Pursuit in Crowdfunding: Evidence from Kickstarter.com (August 15, 2018). Journal of Marketing Research, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2954217 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2954217

Hengchen Dai

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

Dennis Zhang (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1133
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States

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