Sponsored Tasks and Solver Participation in Crowdsourcing Contests
37 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2019
Date Written: January 8, 2018
Crowdsourcing platforms provide a venue where firms looking for solutions (seekers) and individuals who can provide solutions (solvers) interact with each other. As crowdsourcing contest platforms have grown in popularity with numerous tasks being posted on a daily basis, a concern that has emerged is that many similar tasks compete for solver attention, with some tasks failing to attract sufficient solver participation. To alleviate such a concern, in addition to regular task listings, many crowdsourcing platforms offer sponsorship programs under which seekers pay an extra fee to highlight their tasks in order to draw the attention of solvers. We examine the effect of sponsorship on solver participation using a unique data set collected from a leading crowdsourcing platform. We find that, in sharp contrast to platforms’ claims on the effect of sponsorship on participation, sponsorship does not always boost participation in crowdsourcing contests; sponsorship increases the number of participants only when the prize amount for a task is already high. Furthermore, even when the number of participants increases, the increase primarily comes from low-ability solvers. We also find that when sponsorship increases the total number of submissions, it does so only through increasing the number of participants; in other words, sponsorship does not increase the number of submissions after solvers join the tasks.
Keywords: crowdsourcing contest, sponsorship, all-pay auctions, propensity score matching
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