Heinz College PhD Student Wins Best Student Paper at CIST 2012

Nov 02, 2012


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Yan Huang, an information systems and management PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University’s H. John Heinz III College, was recently awarded the Best Doctoral Student Paper at the Seventeenth Conference on Information Systems and Technology (CIST) in Phoenix, AZ.  The conference featured panels, keynote speakers and research papers that explore economic, social, organizational, operational, technological and policy issues at the consumer, enterprise, group and societal levels.

Huang’s award winning paper, “How to Design Crowdsourcing Contests: A Structural Empirical Analysis”, was the product of joint work with Prof. Tridas Mukhopadhyay of the Tepper School of Business.  In the paper, Huang investigates the impact of incentive structure on solution quality in the context of crowdsourcing contests.  According to Huang, “The main finding of the study is that participants exert less effort as competition for the reward increases. Therefore, if the firm provides additional incentive to attract more individuals to participate in its contests and the additional incentive is given regardless of whether they win the contest or not, they will receive more submissions but of lower average quality.”

Huang continues, “However, if the firm increases the prize and make sure that the increase in the prize can offset the reduction in the probability of winning as a result of intensified competition, such that the expected payoff will be higher, it will be able to improve both the quantity and the quality of the designs the crowd produces.”  The paper is an insightful look into the nature of such contests and made it an obvious candidate for this prestigious award.

Previous winners of the CIST award include Heinz College’s own Laura Brandimarte and Vibanshu Abhishek.

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