How Rewarding are Your Rewards? A Value-based View of Crowdfunding Rewards and Crowdfunding Performance

In this study, we integrate the insights of consumption value theory and the crowdfunding literature to develop a value-based view of crowdfunding rewards to systematically theorize and synthesize the underlying mechanisms through which the various rewards offered by crowdfunding projects can incentivize crowdfunders’ backing decisions. Identifying three basic value dimensions carried by different crowdfunding rewards, utilitarian value, socioemotional value, and participatory value, our value-based view posits that these three values satisfy crowdfunders’ different needs and thus motivate them to back a project on distinct grounds and considerations. Through this view, the performance of a crowdfunding project can thus be shaped by the joint effects of the three values delivered by all of its offered rewards. Given their distinct incentivizing mechanisms, we further posit that socioemotional value and participatory value will potentially substitute the effects of utilitarian value, thus leading to an inverted U-shaped effect of the combination of the three values on crowdfunding performance. Evidence from a novel multimethod design that integrates field data, topic modeling, and a survey with crowdfunding professionals largely supports our theoretical predictions. Our theoretical framework and empirical findings have important implications for both theory and practice.