Prosocial Spectrum of Crowdfunding Projects

36 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2020

See all articles by Wanjiang Deng

Wanjiang Deng

National University of Singapore - NUS Business School

Ming Hu

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

Mengze Shi

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

Jiahua Wu

Imperial College Business School

Date Written: August 20, 2020

Abstract

In online reward-based crowdfunding platforms, backers often pledge more money than necessary. This paper studies the magnitude, types, and motivations of such prosocial funding behavior, using a pledge-level data set from Kickstarter. First, prosocial funding was common (22% of backers), substantial (19% of the total pledge amount), and essential to 43% of successful projects. Second, there were significant variations in prosocial funding across the projects. On average, the prosocial funding as a percentage of the total pledge amount for a project in dance/theatre categories exceeded that of a project in games/design categories by more than 20%. There were two types of prosocial backers: funders who pay extra for rewards and donors who pay without requesting a reward. We propose funders and donors act according to a fair-exchange and a communal relationship, respectively. The proposed social relationships are consistent with the funding behavior according to project and creator characteristics. Moreover, about 90% of the variations in prosocial funding across the product categories were driven by donors. Thus, the perceived needs in funding rather than the fair values of offerings is the main driver for the prosocial behavior in crowdfunding. Overall our results underscore the importance of prosocial funding and the need for creators to tailor their prosocial strategies according to the target (funders vs. donors).

Keywords: Crowdfunding, Prosocial Funding, Prosocial Spectrum, Communal Relationship, Fair-Exchange Relationship

JEL Classification: M31, L26, L17, O31

Suggested Citation

Deng, Wanjiang and Hu, Ming and Shi, Mengze and Wu, Jiahua, Prosocial Spectrum of Crowdfunding Projects (August 20, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3677790 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3677790

Wanjiang Deng (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore - NUS Business School ( email )

Kent Ridge Crescent
Singapore 119245
Singapore

Ming Hu

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George st
Toronto, ON M5S 3E6
Canada
416-946-5207 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://ming.hu

Mengze Shi

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4
Canada

Jiahua Wu

Imperial College Business School ( email )

Tanaka Building
South Kensington Campus
London, SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom
02075949851 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/people/j.wu

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