Digitization and new trends in consumption behaviour have brought forward new business models within the Sharing Economy (SE). While commercial online sharing platforms such as Uber and Airbnb have already received some attention by researchers, non-commercial online platforms have remained largely unexplored. At the same time, prosocial motives are playing an increasingly central role in participation in the SE, calling for a better understanding of prosocial factors influencing user behaviour. This paper aims to close this gap by assessing the effect of prosociality, via donation behaviour in previous and current transactions, on the likelihood to make a transaction on non-commercial online sharing platforms. We conduct a controlled online experiment and find a significant increase in trans-action likelihood in the presence of prosociality. Users who donated in previous transactions are twice as likely to make a transaction and three times more likely if they donate in current transactions. However, if simultaneously present they crowd each other out, suggesting a potential penalization of excessive prosociality. This paper contributes to the scarce Information Systems (IS) literature on non-commercial online sharing platforms by introducing prosociality as central design feature, and provides valuable insights into designing incentive schemes to foster traffic on online sharing platforms.

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