Dynamic Effect of Digital Badges in User-Generated Content Platforms
61 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2020 Last revised: 13 Jan 2022
Date Written: July 1, 2019
User-generated content (UGC) platforms have increasingly adopted digital badges as a key mechanism to incentivize user engagement. Drawing from the extant literature, the authors theorize that digital badges can have an enduring effect on UGC consumption and generation beyond immediate effects because of the impact of digital badges on users’ underlying engagement states with the platform. To understand the dynamic effect of digital badges, the authors develop a bivariate Negative Binomial hidden Markov model of content consumption and generation, and estimate the model using a panel data set from a large UGC platform. The immediate effect of digital badges is positive on content generation and negative on content consumption, suggesting a double-edged short-term effect of digital badges. In the longer term, digital badges encourage both content generation and content consumption. This positive enduring effect applies to users in relatively engaged states but not those in the least engaged state.
Keywords: Online Community, User-Generated Content, Digital Badge, Gamification, Hidden Markov Model, Dynamic Choice Model
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