The economic geography of civic crowdfunding

Daniel A. Brent, Katie Lorah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Civic crowdfunding combines the power of private crowdfunding with grassroots organization to directly fund local public projects. This article presents an empirical analysis of fine scale geographic data on 18,000 donations to roughly 800 campaigns from a leading civic crowdfunding platform. These features of the dataset allow us to empirically assess distributional impacts of crowdfunding and how policymakers should interpret donations. There are several findings that have implications for the role of civic crowdfunding in urban transformation. First, neighborhood characteristics of projects, including median household income, do not impact the ability to raise capital, which addresses the concern that civic crowdfunding will exacerbate inequality in neighborhood amenities. The average distance of a donor to a project is over 300 miles and the median distance is 8 miles, indicating that while projects elicit donations from outside their community local donations are very important. Donors' neighborhood income does not influence whether they contribute to projects in low-income or high-income neighborhoods. The findings serve as a guide to future research on civic crowdfunding and inform how the expansion of this new funding mechanism can integrate into local government policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-130
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Jul 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


Dive into the research topics of 'The economic geography of civic crowdfunding'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this