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Motivation and Sorting in Open Source Software Innovation

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  • Sharon Belenzon
  • Mark Schankerman

Abstract

This paper studies the role of intrinsic motivation, reputation and reciprocity in driving open source software innovation. We exploit the observed pattern of contributions - the 'revealed preference' of developers - to infer the underlying incentives. Using detailed information on code contributions and project membership, we classify developers into distinct groups and study how contributions from each developer type vary by license (contract) type and other project characteristics. The central empirical finding is that developers strongly sort by license type, project size and corporate sponsorship. This evidence confirms the importance of heterogeneous motivations, specifically a key role for motivated agents and reputation, but less for reciprocity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE in its series STICERD - Economics of Industry Papers with number 47.

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Date of creation: Oct 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cep:stieip:47

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Web page: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/default.asp

Related research

Keywords: open source software; innovation; incentives; intrinsic motivation; motivated agents; reputation; reciprocity.;

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Cited by:
  1. Matthias Walther, 2010. "Corruption in Open-Source Software Organisations: A Theoretical Framework," Working Papers halshs-00690332, HAL.

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