Document Type

Discussion Paper

Publication Date


CFDP Number


CFDP Revision Date

January 31, 2021

CFDP Pages


Journal of Economic Literature (JEL) Code(s)

C73, L26, M13


We study reward-based crowdfunding, a new class of dynamic contribution games where a private good is produced only if the funding goal is reached by a deadline. Buyers face a problem of coordination rather than free-riding. A long-lived donor may alleviate this coordination risk, signaling his wealth through dynamic contributions. We characterize platform-, donor-, and buyer-optimal equilibrium outcomes, attained by Markov equilibria with simple donation strategies. We test the model’s predictions using high-frequency data collected from the largest crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter. The model fits the data well, especially for predictions concerning comparative statistics, donation dynamics, and properties of successful campaigns.

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