Plebeian Bias: Selecting Crowdsourced Creative Designs for Commercialization

22 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2017

See all articles by Anirban Mukherjee

Anirban Mukherjee

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

Ping Xiao

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Hannah Chang

Singapore Management University - Lee Kong Chian School of Business

Li Wang

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics - School of International Business Administration

Noshir Contractor

Northwestern University - McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science; Northwestern University; Northwestern University; Northwestern University

Date Written: September 18, 2017

Abstract

We identify a new phenomenon – “Plebeian bias” – in the crowdsourcing of creative designs. Stardom, an emphasis on established individuals, has long been observed in many offline contexts. Does this phenomenon carry over to online communities? We investigate a large-scale dataset tracking all submissions, community votes on submissions, and revenues from commercialized submissions on a popular crowdsourcing portal, Threadless.com. In contrast to stardom, we find that the portal selects designs from “Plebeians” (i.e. users without an established fan base and track record) over “Stars” (i.e. users with an established fan base and track record). The tendency is revenue and profit sub-optimal. The evidence is consistent with incentives for the portal to demonstrate procedural fairness to the online community.

Keywords: Crowdsourcing, Stardom, Procedural Fairness, Managerial Conservatism

JEL Classification: E24, E26, L26, M30, M51, M52

Suggested Citation

Mukherjee, Anirban and Xiao, Ping and Chang, Hannah and Wang, Li and Contractor, Noshir, Plebeian Bias: Selecting Crowdsourced Creative Designs for Commercialization (September 18, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3038775 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3038775

Anirban Mukherjee (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Ping Xiao

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Hannah Chang

Singapore Management University - Lee Kong Chian School of Business ( email )

469 Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 912409
Singapore

Li Wang

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics - School of International Business Administration ( email )

777 Guo-ding Road
Shanghai, 200433
China

Noshir Contractor

Northwestern University - McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science ( email )

2145 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208-1230
United States

Northwestern University ( email )

2145 Sheridan Road
Room C210
Evanston, IL 60208
United States
2173906270 (Phone)

Northwestern University ( email )

Evanston, IL
United States
2173906270 (Phone)

Northwestern University ( email )

70 Arts Circle Drive
Office of the Dean
Evanston, IL 60208
United States
2173906270 (Phone)

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