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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. Bilodeau, M. & Slivinsky, A., 1994. "Toilet Cleaning and Department Chairing: Volunteering a public service," Cahiers de recherche, Departement d'Economique de la Faculte d'administration à l'Universite de Sherbrooke 94-01, Departement d'Economique de la Faculte d'administration à l'Universite de Sherbrooke.
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  4. Bliss, Christopher & Nalebuff, Barry, 1984. "Dragon-slaying and ballroom dancing: The private supply of a public good," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 1-12, November.
  5. Aghion, P. & Howitt, P., 1989. "A Model Of Growth Through Creative Destruction," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics 8904, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  6. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. 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.
  8. Justin Pappas Johnson, 2002. "Open Source Software: Private Provision of a Public Good," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(4), pages 637-662, December.
  9. Bitzer, Jurgen, 2004. "Commercial versus open source software: the role of product heterogeneity in competition," Economic Systems, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 369-381, December.
  10. Ulrich, Karl, 1995. "The role of product architecture in the manufacturing firm," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 419-440, May.
  11. Franke, Nikolaus & Shah, Sonali, 2003. "How communities support innovative activities: an exploration of assistance and sharing among end-users," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 157-178, January.
  12. von Krogh, Georg & Spaeth, Sebastian & Lakhani, Karim R., 2003. "Community, joining, and specialization in open source software innovation: a case study," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1217-1241, July.
  13. 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, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1159-1177, July.
  14. 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, Department of Economics, University of Siena 424, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
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Citations

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

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