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Bug-Fixing and Code-Writing: The Private Provision of Open Source Software

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  • Jürgen Bitzer
  • Philipp J. H. Schröder

Abstract

Open source software (OSS) is a public good. A self-interested individual would consider providing such software, if the benefits he gained from having it justified the cost of programming. Nevertheless each agent is tempted to free ride and wait for others to develop the software instead. This problem is modelled as a war of attrition with complete information, job signaling, repeated contribution to the public good and uncertainty in programming. The resulting game does not feature any delay: software will be provided swiftly, by young, low-cost individuals who gain considerably by signaling their programming skills; the startup (and collapse) of an OSS project displays bandwagon dynamics.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.38515.de/dp296.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 296.

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Length: 22 p.
Date of creation: 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp296

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Keywords: open source software; war of attrition; public goods;

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References

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  1. Bitzer, Jürgen & Schrettl, Wolfram & Schröder, Philipp J. H., 2004. "Intrinsic motivation in open source software development," Discussion Papers 2004/19, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  2. Hendricks, Ken & Weiss, Andrew & Wilson, Charles A, 1988. "The War of Attrition in Continuous Time with Complete Information," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 29(4), pages 663-80, November.
  3. Aghion, P. & Howitt, P., 1989. "A Model Of Growth Through Creative Destruction," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 8904, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  4. Maria Alessandra Rossi, 2004. "Decoding the "Free/Open Source(F/OSS) Software Puzzle" a survey of theoretical and empirical contributions," Department of Economics University of Siena 424, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  5. Justin Pappas Johnson, 2002. "Open Source Software: Private Provision of a Public Good," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(4), pages 637-662, December.
  6. Marc Bilodeau & Al Slivinski, . "Toilet Cleaning and Department Chairing: Volunteering a Public service," Public Economics 9405001, EconWPA.
  7. Bitzer, Jurgen, 2004. "Commercial versus open source software: the role of product heterogeneity in competition," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 369-381, December.
  8. Ulrich, Karl, 1995. "The role of product architecture in the manufacturing firm," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 419-440, May.
  9. Franke, Nikolaus & Hippel, Eric von, 2003. "Satisfying heterogeneous user needs via innovation toolkits: the case of Apache security software," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1199-1215, July.
  10. Hertel, Guido & Niedner, Sven & Herrmann, Stefanie, 2003. "Motivation of software developers in Open Source projects: an Internet-based survey of contributors to the Linux kernel," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1159-1177, July.
  11. Bliss, Christopher & Nalebuff, Barry, 1984. "Dragon-slaying and ballroom dancing: The private supply of a public good," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 1-12, November.
  12. Franke, Nikolaus & Shah, Sonali, 2003. "How communities support innovative activities: an exploration of assistance and sharing among end-users," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 157-178, January.
  13. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. von Krogh, Georg & Spaeth, Sebastian & Lakhani, Karim R., 2003. "Community, joining, and specialization in open source software innovation: a case study," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1217-1241, July.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jürgen Bitzer & Wolfram Schrettl & Philipp J.H. Schröder, 2005. "Intrinsic Motivation in Open Source Software Development," Development and Comp Systems 0505007, EconWPA.
  2. Bitzer, Jürgen & Schrettl, Wolfram & Schröder, Philipp J.H., 2006. "Intrinsic Motivation versus Signaling in Open Source Software Development," Working Papers 06-7, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  3. Schmidtke, Richard, 2006. "Private Provision of a Complementary Public Good," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 134, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  4. Jürgen Bitzer & Philipp J.H. Schröder, 2005. "The Impact of Entry and Competition by Open Source Software on Innovation Activity," Industrial Organization 0512001, EconWPA.
  5. Maria Alessandra Rossi, 2004. "Decoding the "Free/Open Source(F/OSS) Software Puzzle" a survey of theoretical and empirical contributions," Department of Economics University of Siena 424, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  6. Bitzer, Jürgen & Geishecker, Ingo, 2010. "Who contributes voluntarily to OSS? An investigation among German IT employees," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 165-172, February.
  7. Poul Houman Andersen & Ina Drejer, 2006. "Systemic Innovation in a Distributed Network Paradox or Pinnacle?," DRUID Working Papers 06-13, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  8. Casadesus-Masanell, Ramon & Ghemawat, Pankaj, 2003. "Dynamic mixed duopoly: A model motivated by Linux vs. Windows," IESE Research Papers D/519, IESE Business School.
  9. Noriaki Matsushima & Ryusuke Shinohara, 2012. "Private Provision of Public Goods that are Complements for Private Goods: Application to Open Source Software Developments," ISER Discussion Paper 0830, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  10. Nordine Benkeltoum, 2012. "Open source et systèmes critiques : le cas Thales," Post-Print hal-00905919, HAL.
  11. Gauguier, Jean-Jacques, 2009. "L’industrialisation de l’Open Source," Economics Thesis from University Paris Dauphine, Paris Dauphine University, number 123456789/4388 edited by Toledano, Joëlle, November.
  12. Schmidtke, Richard, 2006. "Private Provision of a Complementary Public Good," Discussion Papers in Economics 964, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  13. Jürgen Bitzer & Philipp J. H. Schröder, 2003. "Competition and Innovation in a Technology Setting Software Duopoly," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 363, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  14. Bitzer, Jurgen, 2004. "Commercial versus open source software: the role of product heterogeneity in competition," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 369-381, December.
  15. Stenborg, Markku, 2003. "Waiting for F/OSS: Coordinating the Production of Free/Open Source Software," Discussion Papers 884, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.

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