Essays on Social Media Fundraising and E-Commerce
This dissertation has two components: social media fundraising and e-commerce. The first component of social media fundraising discusses social media users’ charitable content generation in essay 1 and charitable giving in essay 2. In essay 1, we examine how reciprocity of followees affects social influence on users’ charitable content generation. We find that within a specific charitable topic, reciprocal relationship has a positive impact on social influence, and non-reciprocal relationship has a negative impact on social influence that drives content generation following the topic. In essay 2, we investigate how individual donation decisions are influenced by reputation incentive design, peer effects, and popularity effects. We find that despite the platform designer’s desire to improve fundraising performance, higher visibility of donors’ contributions may have negative impact on fundraising. Peer effects are found to be positive and, hence, provide a potential solution to the free-rider problem. It is also observed that while most users crowd to popular projects, a group of users who exhibit leadership features crowd out from popular projects. E-commerce is the second component, and it also includes two essays. In essay 3, we use a game-theoretical model to understand how membership free shipping (MFS) differs from contingent free shipping (CFS). We find that in a duopoly competition, sellers’ choice between CFS and MFS resembles a prisoner’s dilemma. While they will both earn a higher profit when they both choose MFS, one seller may have an incentive to deviate from cooperation. In essay 4, we examined the role of live chatting tools in online marketplaces. We find that live chat can work as a substitution for reputation.