Authority and Delegation in Online Communities

Jacopo Bregolin (Toulouse School of Economics)

September 21, 2021, 14:00–15:00

Zoom Meeting

Economics of Platforms Seminar


Many online platforms rely on user-generated content and need to incentivize free effort. With data from Stack Exchange, I investigate whether users provide more and better quality contributions when endowed with more autonomy and authority over actions. Using a dynamic discrete choice model, I show that authority has positive marginal value that is heterogeneous across different types of users. I simulate counterfactuals with different designs. The results show that the platform would lose an important share of production and quality of content in the absence of delegation. The trade-off depends on the composition of the community, as the sensitivity to the incentives is heterogeneous.