Education Crowdfunding and Student Performance: An Empirical Study
Information Systems Research, forthcoming
67 Pages Posted: 29 May 2019 Last revised: 7 Aug 2020
Date Written: March 18, 2020
Despite the growing popularity of online education crowdfunding, controversy remains as to whether teachers’ efforts to use this channel are justified and whether donations thus received can actually make a difference. We present the first empirical evidence of the use and impact of education crowdfunding donations after campaign success. Using data on California public school teachers and their students as well as the teachers’ fundraising activities on DonorsChoose.org, we find that students’ academic performance improves after their teacher successfully raises funding on the platform. This finding survives a large number of robustness tests. More importantly, through a series of tests, we show that this positive impact is partly due to the nonfinancial benefits of receiving online crowdfunding donations. Our study contributes not only to the literature on crowdfunding and charitable giving but also ongoing debates on the financing of public education.
Keywords: donation crowdfunding, donations, education, offline impact, student performance
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