Spontaneous social innovations: Emerging control mechanisms in crowdfunding

By Mathieu-Claude Chaboud, Guillaume Biot-Paquerot, Alexandre Pourchet

This paper aims at discussing the mechanisms at play in crowdfunding as well as spontaneous social and institutional innovations resulting from them. The regulation mechanisms classically debated inside the framework of control theories seem ineffective here due to the limited financial involvement of the resource-providing communities, their lack of access to relevant information, as well as their atomicity. These traditional mechanisms are replaced by spontaneous innovations resulting in standards, behaviors, and emerging social institutions that are supposed to be effective while ensuring the generation of the social capital necessary to the success of projects. This article deals with the phenomenon of crowdfunding through the concepts emerging from the new institutionalist approach in particular through the notion of institutional work. This exploration leads us to propose a framework linking the actions of crowdfunding stakeholders (platforms, crowds, and entrepreneurs) through the link between social capital and institutional work. JEL Codes: G39, M14, G21, O16


  • crowdfunding
  • emerging institutions
  • social innovations
  • social capital
  • corporate governance
  • institutional entrepreneurs
  • efficiency
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