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Economic Consequences of Risk Disclosures: Evidence From Crowdfunding

On September 20, 2012 the rewards-based crowdfunding platform added a "risks and challenges" section to all project pages. While the section header became a mandatory part of the platform, discussion of risks within that section is voluntary and unverified, making this setting particularly useful for identifying the effects of disclosure on both crowdfunders and entrepreneurs. Consistent with increased salience of risks, we find that backer support for high-risk projects decreases after the introduction of this section, but that lengthier risk disclosures mitigate this decrease in backer support. Further analysis reveals that creators who provide lengthier risk disclosures also increase other non-risk disclosures, and that these non-risk disclosures are primarily responsible for the increased backer support. Collectively, we provide evidence that the introduction of a voluntary and unverified risk disclosure reduced information asymmetry within this unregulated market.

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