Document Type

Discussion Paper

Publication Date


CFDP Number


CFDP Pages


Journal of Economic Literature (JEL) Code(s)

C73, L26, M13


We study a dynamic contribution game where investors seek private benefits that are offered in exchange for contributions and a single, publicly-minded donor values project success. We show that donor contributions serve as costly signals that encour-age socially-productive contributions by investors who face a coordination problem. Investors and the donor prefer different equilibria but all benefit in expectation from the donor’s ability to dynamically signal his valuation. We explore various contexts in which our model can be applied and delve empirically into the case of Kickstarter. We calibrate our model and quantify the coordination benefits of dynamic signaling in counterfactuals.

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