Abstract

This study examines how project founder characteristics and social identity impact crowdfunding performance. In addition, we investigate the role of legitimacy within these relationships. Suchman (1995) proposes that legitimacy can be grouped into three distinctive subsets: pragmatic, moral, and cognitive. In applying this theory to crowdfunding, we expect moral legitimacy to have the greatest impact on fundraising outcomes. We hypothesize that project founder characteristics and social identity are crucial to funding performance. In addition, we posit that well known founders, such as celebrities, attract more media attention to their campaigns than founders who are less renowned. As a result, and because moral legitimacy involves people’s evaluations of entrepreneurial founders, celebrities are likely to receive increased moral scrutiny, both positive and negative.

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