Crowdsourcing contests are used widely by organizations as a means of accomplishing tasks. These organizations would like to maximize the utility obtained through worker submissions to the contest. If this utility is greater than that obtained through alternative means of completing the task (e.g. hiring someone), the task should be crowdsourced. We analyze the utility generated for different types of tasks and provide a rule-of-thumb crowdsourcing contest design. Knowledge about the relative strengths of the workers participating in the contest is an important factor in contest design. When the contest organizer is unsure about the strength of the workers, crowdsourcing contests deliver higher utility than would hiring or assignment. Disseminating worker strength information acts as a lever to influence participation and increase utility in the contest. Finally, while crowdsourcing is a good option for generic tasks, it might perform poorly for highly specialized tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCreating and Capturing Value through Crowdsourcing
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9780198816225
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Contest design
  • Contests
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Generic tasks
  • Specialized tasks
  • Worker strength

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


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