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Intrinsic Motivation versus Signaling in Open Source Software Development

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Author Info

  • Bitzer, Jürgen

    (Free University Berlin)

  • Schrettl, Wolfram

    (Free University Berlin)

  • Schröder, Philipp J.H.

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business)

Abstract

This papers sheds light on the puzzling fact that even though open source software (OSS) is a public good, it is developed for free by highly qualified, young, motivated individuals, and evolves at a rapid pace. We show that when OSS development is understood as the private provision of a public good, these features emerge quite naturally. We adapt a dynamic private-provision-of-public-goods model to reflect key aspects of the OSS phenomenon. Apart from extrinsic motives (namely signaling), the present model also contains intrinsic motives of OSS programmers, such as play value or homo ludens payoff, userprogrammers’ and gift culture benefits. Such intrinsic motives feature extensively in the wider OSS literature and contribute new insights to the economic analysis

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 06-7.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 01 Sep 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:aareco:2006_007

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Postal: The Aarhus School of Business, Prismet, Silkeborgvej 2, DK 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
Phone: +45 89 486396
Fax: +45 8615 5175
Web page: http://www.asb.dk/departments/nat.aspx
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Related research

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

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References

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  1. Bilodeau, Marc & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "Toilet cleaning and department chairing: Volunteering a public service," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 299-308, February.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Lerner, Josh & Tirole, Jean, 2003. "The Scope of Open Source Licensing," IDEI Working Papers 219, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  5. Jürgen Bitzer & Philipp J. H. Schröder, 2002. "Bug-Fixing and Code-Writing: The Private Provision of Open Source Software," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 296, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  6. 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.
  7. Lerner, Josh & Tirole, Jean, 2002. "Some Simple Economics of Open," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 197-234, June.
  8. David P. Myatt & Chris Wallace, 2002. "Equilibrium Selection and Public Good Provision," Economics Series Working Papers 103, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  9. 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.
  10. Lindenberg, Siegwart, 2001. "Intrinsic Motivation in a New Light," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2-3), pages 317-42.
  11. 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.
  12. Jürgen Bitzer & Philipp J.H. Schröder, 2005. "The Impact of Entry and Competition by Open Source Software on Innovation Activity," Industrial Organization 0512001, EconWPA.
  13. Josh Lerner & Parag A. Pathak & Jean Tirole, 2006. "The Dynamics of Open-Source Contributors," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 114-118, May.
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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.

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