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Current PhD Projects

Essays on Crowdfunding Adoption and Behavior / Prince Baah-Peprah

Today, with the spread and affordability of internet access, lasting implications of the 2008 financial crises in traditional financial systems, and the current economic downturns, crowdfunding has become a catalyst of funding globally, either by complimenting, or partially replacing some traditional funding channels. Yet, there are several incidences of unsuccessful campaigns. Hence, it is intriguing to understand the drivers of crowdfunding adoption and development. Accordingly, with an overarching research question: which factors influence crowdfunding backers’ contribution intentions and behaviors,  this PhD project examines aspects of crowdfunding adoption and behavior with three different studies.

Study 1 (titled, A Trust-Based Crowdfunding Campaign Marketing Framework: Theoretical Underpinnings and Big-Data Analytics Practice) conceptually developed a trust-based framework for crowdfunding. It suggested a series of campaign strategies where each strategy is relevant to a unique configuration of trust conditions prevailing at campaign launch, with the aim to overcome trust deficits and to leverage trust surpluses towards greater adoption by prospective crowdfunding backers. Study 2 (titled, Explaining Reward Crowdfunding Backers’ Intentions and Behavior) empirically explains backers’ contribution intentions and behavior by testing the technology acceptance model – TAM. Here, the focus is on perceptions of crowdfunding’s usefulness and ease-of-use as an alternative funding mechanism as well as the respective antecedents of such usefulness and ease-of-use in explaining backers’ contributions and behaviors. The paper finds evidence that confirms the roles by some of these, as well as a lack of association with others. The latter highlight limitations for the relevance of some of the factors assumed to affect adoption intentions and behavior in the original TAM frameworks. Study 3 (titled, The Influences of Community Identification and Trust on Crowdfunding Campaign Information-Sharing Intentions and Behaviors builds and tests a new and alternative theoretical framework that draws on dimensions of community identification and trust for explaining backers’ contribution intentions and behavior. This theoretical framework argues for the centrality of community aspects for the well-functioning of online crowdfunding communities, which have largely been overlooked in earlier studies.

Investor Behavior in Crowdfunding / Daniel Berliner

Startup companies are a key player in the modern economy and are a valuable source of innovation, productivity growth, and an important factor for new job creation. Due to their nature, these young innovative ventures are usually unprofitable, thus suffering from lack of cash flows which limit their growth and threaten their survival. Traditionally, these ventures raised funds from business angel investors, venture capital funds, and IPO. Following the 2008 financial crises, these sources became harder to achieve, and even when available, come with higher interest rates. This situation has changed since the emergence of equity crowdfunding as an important alternative in the entrepreneurial finance landscape, in which companies draw funds from large groups of people in exchange to a prespecified amount of equity in the company. In this funding mechanism, entrepreneurs make an open call for funding on a crowdfunding platform, and investors make their decisions based on a mix of operational and financial criteria.

The research aims to disclose the criteria influencing investment decision making in equity crowdfunding of high-risk early-stage technological ventures, and whether it differs from other entrepreneurial finance mechanisms. In order to achieve this a comparative research will be conducted to assess the unique criteria, similarities, or differences between the various entrepreneurial finance tools. Accordingly,  this research will contribute to a better understanding of crowdfunding investment decision making and its implications for fundraiser and platform practices. Moreover, policymakers will find the results valuable due to their effect on the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Understanding Stakeholders of Crowdlending Markets / Fengya Zhu

Debt-based crowdfunding has aroused increasing research attention and experienced a surge of growth in both lending volumes and service providers in recent years. However, the uneven regional development of crowdlending has raised the concerns of platform survival and risk management. Based on these concerns, this PhD project explores factors affecting the borrowing behaviors of fundraisers and survival condition of platforms.

To get a holistic understanding of the research field, Study 1 (Review of global peer-to-peer lending platforms: A credit risk management perspective)  conducted a systematic literature review of P2P lending from a credit risk management perspective, including discovering recent research focuses and trends, as well as detecting theoretical and empirical gaps for developing future research agenda. Study 2 (Drivers of peer-to-peer consumer lending amounts: evidence from the Philippines) aims to investigate individual borrowing behavior from the angle of fundraisers’ self-perception of adopting P2P lending. By collecting self-reported data, this study also seeks to bridge the gap by applying technology acceptance model to get insights into cognitive perspectives of fundraisers, accompanied by their hard information that has been frequently used as signals to mitigate information asymmetry between involved parties. Study 3 attempts to shift research target to platforms, examining factors affecting the survival of P2P lending platforms in China, where the industrial evolvement once dominated the global development. Particular attention is paid to the macro drivers that may contribute to the massive collapse of platforms. Study 4 examines the post-borrowing behavior of fundraisers, exploring the drivers of individual default.

Former PhD Projects

Gender Aspects in Crowdfunding Behavior / Priscilla Serwaah


The dissertation includes a series of papers on gender issues and dynamics in crowdfunding decision and behavior in general, and with emphasis on female entrepreneurs and investors in particular. Through comparative studies, it will be examined how different cultures shape perceptions about gender and its effect on females’ access to finance and female investors decisions/behavior.


It is often claimed that crowdfunding provides a means to ‘democratize’ the entrepreneurial funding process. Gender and culture are critical elements in crowdfunding and other entrepreneurial financing sources. Yet, it is unexplored in the literature how the interplay between these two constructs affects the investor decisions in crowdfunding. By this, survey data will be collected from Norway and China in the initial paper as these two countries represent extreme ends on Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. As the variables to be studied are mostly unobserved, they will be analysed by using structural equation modelling, which helps to study latent constructs. The subsequent papers may compare different crowdfunding models or use different countries contexts.

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