Online Contributions During Crisis

Dr. Wesley W. Koo, Assistant Professor of Strategy, INSEAD
Chaired by
Dr Stanley KOK, Assistant Professor, School of Computing

  05 Mar 2021 Friday, 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM

 Via Zoom

Online contributions, such as posts on online knowledge communities, are an essential resource for platform companies. By encouraging innovation and promoting social exchange, they are also important for society at large. The recent lockdowns across the world, induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, poses an open question: How do crisis and lockdowns affect online contributions? We study users on a popular question-and-answer online community and exploit a natural experiment using the staggered lockdowns across Chinese cities. We find that, compared to pre-lockdown period, lockdowns are associated with a 7% decrease in community contributions (number of answers). Moreover, users who are more likely to work from home are especially likely to reduce their contributions. This paper contributes to our knowledge of online communities and patterns of participation. It also contains strategic implications for platform companies.

Wesley W. Koo is an Assistant Professor of Strategy at INSEAD. In his research, Wesley examines how digitization affects business strategy and entrepreneurship. He is particularly interested in the "offline interface" - how a business's offline environment shapes its online strategy and performance. For instance, he looks at how rural entrepreneurs' local information environment affects their ability to navigate algorithmic changes on digital platforms. During his Ph.D. at Stanford, Wesley's research was supported by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, Stanford SEED, Accel Partners, Strategic Management Society, and Alibaba Group. Prior to Stanford, Wesley was a tech entrepreneur and received degrees in Environmental Engineering and Finance from MIT.