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The Simple Economics of Open Source

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  • Josh Lerner
  • Jean Triole

Abstract

There has been a recent surge of interest in open source software development, which involves developers at many different locations and organizations sharing code to develop and refine programs. To an economist, the behavior of individual programmers and commercial companies engaged in open source projects is initially startling. This paper makes a preliminary exploration of the economics of open source software. We highlight the extent to which labor economics, especially the literature on career concerns,' can explain many of these projects' features. Aspects of the future of open source development process, however, remain somewhat difficult to predict with off-the-shelf' economic models.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7600.

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Date of creation: Mar 2000
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Publication status: published as "Some Simple Economics of Open Source," Journal of Industrial Economics, 52 (June 2002) 197-234.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7600

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  1. Ben Hermalin, 1996. "Toward an Economic Theory of Leadership: Leading by Example," Working Papers _006, University of California at Berkeley, Haas School of Business.
  2. Bengt Holmstrom, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," NBER Working Papers 6875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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