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A Theory of Crowdfunding - a mechanism design approach with demand uncertainty and moral hazard

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  • Roland, Strausz

Abstract

Crowdfunding provides the innovation that, before the investment, entrepreneurs contract with consumers. Under demand uncertainty, this improves a screening for valuable projects. Entrepreneurial moral hazard threatens this benefit. Focusing on the trade-off between value screening and moral hazard, the paper characterizes optimal mechanisms. Current crowdfunding schemes reflect their salient features. Efficiency is sustainable only if returns exceed investment costs by a margin reflecting the degree of moral hazard. Constrained efficient mechanisms exhibit underinvestment. Crowdfunding blurs the distinction between finance and marketing, but complements rather than substitutes traditional entrepreneurial financing. As a screening tool for valuable projects, crowdfunding unambiguously promotes social welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Roland, Strausz, 2015. "A Theory of Crowdfunding - a mechanism design approach with demand uncertainty and moral hazard," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 527, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:527
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Crowdfunding; finance; marketing; demand; uncertainty; moral hazard;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship

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