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The Architecture of Participation: Does Code Architecture Mitigate Free Riding in the Open Source Development Model?

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Author Info

  • Carliss Y. Baldwin

    ()
    (Harvard Business School, Baker Library, Boston, Massachusetts 02163)

  • Kim B. Clark

    ()
    (Brigham Young University-Idaho, Rexburg, Idaho 83460)

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    Abstract

    This paper argues that the architecture of a codebase is a critical factor that lies at the heart of the open source development process. We define two observable properties of an architecture: (1) modularity and (2) option value. Developers can often make informed judgments about modularity and option value from early, partially implemented code releases. We show that codebases that are more modular or have more option value (1) increase developers' incentives to join and remain involved in an open source development effort and (2) decrease the amount of free riding in equilibrium. These effects occur because modularity and option value create opportunities for the exchange of valuable work among developers, opportunities that do not exist in codebases that are not modular or have no option value.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1060.0546
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 52 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 7 (July)
    Pages: 1116-1127

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:52:y:2006:i:7:p:1116-1127

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    Related research

    Keywords: architecture; modularity; option value; public goods; nonrival goods; free riding; open source; software development; prisoners' dilemma game; institutional economics; organizational economics;

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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Haeussler, Carolin, 2009. "The Economics of Knowledge Regulation: An Empirical Analysis of Knowledge Flows," Discussion Papers in Business Administration 8971, University of Munich, Munich School of Management.
    2. Gächter, Simon & von Krogh, Georg & Haefliger, Stefan, 2010. "Initiating private-collective innovation: The fragility of knowledge sharing," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 893-906, September.
    3. Jeroen de Jong & Eric von Hippel, 2010. "Open, distributed and user-centered: Towards a paradigm shift in innovation policy," Scales Research Reports H201009, EIM Business and Policy Research.
    4. Ramon Casadesus-Masanell & Gastón Llanes, 2011. "Mixed Source," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(7), pages 1212-1230, July.
    5. de Jong, Jeroen P.J. & von Hippel, Eric, 2009. "Transfers of user process innovations to process equipment producers: A study of Dutch high-tech firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1181-1191, September.
    6. M. Markus, 2007. "The governance of free/open source software projects: monolithic, multidimensional, or configurational?," Journal of Management and Governance, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 151-163, May.
    7. Subramanyam, Ramanath & Xia, Mu, 2006. "Free/Libre Open Source Software Development in Developing and Developed Countries: An Exploratory Study," Working Papers 06-0110, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business.
    8. Franzoni, Chiara & Sauermann, Henry, 2014. "Crowd science: The organization of scientific research in open collaborative projects," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 1-20.
    9. Baldwin, Carliss & Hienerth, Christoph & von Hippel, Eric, 2006. "How user innovations become commercial products: A theoretical investigation and case study," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 1291-1313, November.
    10. Landini, Fabio, 2012. "Technology, property rights and organizational diversity in the software industry," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 137-150.
    11. Blecker, Thorsten & Abdelkafi, Nizar & Raasch, Christina, 2008. "Enabling and Sustaining Collaborative Innovation," MPRA Paper 8964, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Paola Giuri & Matteo Ploner & Francesco Rullani & Salvatore Torrisi, 2009. "Skill, division of labor and performance in collective inventions: Evidence from open source software," KITeS Working Papers 017, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Jul 2009.
    13. Francesco Rullani & Francesco Zirpoli, 2013. "Coordination of joint search in distributed innovation processes: Lessons from the effects of initial code release in Open Source Software development," Working Papers 20, Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia.
    14. Rullani, Francesco & Haefliger, Stefan, 2013. "The periphery on stage: The intra-organizational dynamics in online communities of creation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 941-953.

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