Business & Information Systems Engineering

Document Type

Research Paper


In smart city contexts, voluntary citizen reporting can be a particularly valuable source of information for local authorities. A key question in this regard is what motivates citizens to contribute their data. Drawing on motivation research in social psychology, the paper examines the question of whether self-concern or other-orientation is a stronger driver of citizen reporting engagement. To test their hypotheses, the authors rely on a sample of users from the mobile application “Zurich as good as new” in Switzerland, which enables citizens to report damages in and other issues with the city’s infrastructure. Data was collected from two different sources: motivation was assessed in an online user survey (n = 650), whereas citizen reporting engagement was measured by the number of reports per user from real platform-use data. The analysis was carried out using negative binomial regression. The findings suggest that both self-concern and other-orientation are significant drivers of citizen reporting engagement, although the effect of self-concern appears to be stronger in comparison. As such, this study contributes to a better understanding of what motivates citizens to participate in citizen reporting platforms, which are a cornerstone application in many smart cities.