Northwestern University

Wed 12:00 PM

WED@NICO SEMINAR: Ágnes Horvát, Northwestern University "Early Signals for the Wisdom of Crowds in Crowdfunding"

Agnes Horvat

When: Wednesday, October 31, 2018
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM  

Where: Chambers Hall, Lower Level, 600 Foster St, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free

Contact: Yasmeen Khan   847.491.2527

Group: Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO)

Category: Academic

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Ágnes Horvát, Assistant Professor, School of Communications, Northwestern University


Early Signals for the Wisdom of Crowds in Crowdfunding


Crowds have been argued to possess transformative collective intelligence benefits that allow superior decision-making by untrained individuals working in low-information environments. Classic wisdom of crowds theories are based on the study of large groups of diverse and independent decision-makers. Yet, most human decisions are reached in arrangements that violate these criteria. This observation puts forth a key question: Are there new expressions of collective intelligence that enable better outcomes? In this talk, we explore whether crowds furnish collective intelligence benefits in crowdfunding systems. Crowdfunding has grown and diversified quickly over the past couple of years expanding from funding aspirant creative works and supplying pro-social donations to enabling large citizen-funded urban projects and providing commercial interest-based unsecured loans. In the latter setting we find evidence for collective intelligence signals in financing: Opinion diversity, herding patterns, and information aggregation speed predict who gets funded and who repays even after accounting for traditional measures of creditworthiness and differences in the novelty of projects. Most importantly, crowds work well in correctly assessing the outcome of high risk projects. Furthermore, collective intelligence indicators serve as early warning signals when inferring success based solely on the initial part of the crowdfunding campaign. These findings broaden on the one hand the field of crowd-aware system design and inform discussions about the augmentation of traditional financing systems with tech innovations. On the other hand, they contribute to the growing literature on the wisdom of crowds.

Speaker Bio:

Ágnes Horvát is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Northwestern University. She is also an affiliated faculty of the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO) and the Department of Management and Organizations of the Kellogg School of Management (by courtesy). Her current research focuses on measuring and forecast the collective behavior of interconnected crowds in peer-to-peer platforms. She develops empirical and theoretical methods to identify expressions of collective intelligence and opportunities for innovation in crowdsourcing communities, detect shared misconceptions and biases in online capital markets, as well as support creativity and predict success in creative industries. Horvát has been the recipient of many fellowships and academic excellence awards, most recently a CISE CRII award from the National Science Foundation.

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