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The Economics of Technology Sharing: Open Source and Beyond

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  • Josh Lerner
  • Jean Tirole

Abstract

This paper reviews our understanding of the growing open source movement. We highlight how many aspects of open source software appear initially puzzling to an economist. As we have acknowledge, our ability to answer confidently many of the issues raised here questions is likely to increase as the open source movement itself grows and evolves. At the same time, it is heartening to us how much of open source activities can be understood within existing economic frameworks, despite the presence of claims to the contrary. The labor and industrial organization literatures provide lenses through which the structure of open source projects, the role of contributors, and the movement's ongoing evolution can be viewed.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10956.

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Date of creation: Dec 2004
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Publication status: published as Lerner, Josh and Jean Tirole. "The Economics Of Technology Sharing: Open Source and Beyond," Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2005, v19(2,Spring), 99-120.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10956

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  1. Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Efficient Patent Pools," NBER Working Papers 9175, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kenneth Arrow, 1962. "Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention," NBER Chapters, in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 609-626 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Normal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 94-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Gilles Saint-Paul, 2003. "Growth Effects Of Nonproprietary Innovation," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 429-439, 04/05.
  5. Wouter Dessein, 2000. "Authority and Communication in Organizations," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1747, Econometric Society.
  6. James Bessen & Robert M. Hunt, 2004. "An empirical look at software patents," Working Papers 03-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  7. Schmidt, Klaus M. & Schnitzer, Monika, 2003. "Public Subsidies for Open Source? Some Economic Policy Issues of the Software Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 3793, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole & Marcin Strojwas, 2003. "Cooperative Marketing Agreements Between Competitors: Evidence from Patent Pools," NBER Working Papers 9680, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Joseph Farrell & Michael L. Katz, 2003. "Innovation, Rent Extraction, and Integration in Systems Markets," Development and Comp Systems 0303005, EconWPA.
  10. Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2002. "The Scope of Open Source Licensing," NBER Working Papers 9363, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Michael Waldman, 1984. "Job Assignments, Signalling, and Efficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 255-267, Summer.
  12. Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2004. "A Model of Forum Shopping, with Special Reference to Standard Setting Organizations," NBER Working Papers 10664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Alexandre Gaudeul, 2004. "Competition between open-source and proprietary software: the (La)TeX case study," Industrial Organization 0409007, EconWPA.
  14. Casadesus-Masanell, Ramon & Ghemawat, Pankaj, 2003. "Dynamic mixed duopoly: A model motivated by Linux vs. Windows," IESE Research Papers D/519, IESE Business School.
  15. Holmstrom, Bengt, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 169-82, January.
  16. Greenwald, Bruce C, 1986. "Adverse Selection in the Labour Market," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 325-47, July.
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