Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Non rivalry and complementarity in computer software

Contents:

Author Info

  • Marengo, Luigi
  • Pasquali, Corrado

Abstract

In this paper we contend that – contrary to what argued by a vast part of the literature – computer software and, more in general, digital goods (i.e. symbolic strings on an electronic medium with some eco- nomic value) do not present the characteristics of a public good as they do not suffer from lack of rivarly and excludability any more than other durable goods which are regularly allocated on competitive markets. We argue instead that the “market allocation problem” – if any – with digital goods does not arise from their public nature but from some pe- culiar characteristics of the production technology. The latter presents the nature of a typical problem solving activity as far as the produc- tion of the first unit is concerned, this means that innovative activities in computer software are characterized by high degrees of interdepen- dencies, cumulativeness, sequentiality, path dependence and, more in general, sub-optimality arising from imperfect problem decompositions. As far as the production of further units is concerned, we observe in- stead high (but not infinite) expansibility and perfect codification (lack of any tacit dimension) which make diffusion costs rapidly fall. Given such claims, we argue that a standard “Coasian” approach to property rights, designed to cope with the externalities of semi-public goods may not be appropriate for computer software, as it may decrease both ex-ante incentives to innovation and ex-post efficiency of diffusion. On the other hand the institutional definition of property rights may strongly influence the patterns of technological evolution and division of labor in directions which are not necessarily optimal.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/25589/
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 25589.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:25589

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Schackstr. 4, D-80539 Munich, Germany
Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2219
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-3900
Web page: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Intellectual property; hierarchies; innovation; software; digital goods;

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Marengo, Luigi & Dosi, Giovanni, 2005. "Division of labor, organizational coordination and market mechanisms in collective problem-solving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 303-326, October.
  2. Michele Boldrin & David Levine, 2002. "The Case Against Intellectual Property," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 209-212, May.
  3. Danny Quah, 2003. "Digital Goods and the New Economy," CEP Discussion Papers dp0563, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Lu Hong & Scott E. Page, 1998. "Diversity and Optimality," Research in Economics 98-08-077e, Santa Fe Institute.
  5. Herbert A. Simon, 2002. "Near decomposability and the speed of evolution," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(3), pages 587-599, June.
  6. Hong, Lu & Page, Scott E., 2001. "Problem Solving by Heterogeneous Agents," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 123-163, March.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Francesco Rentocchini, 2010. "Sources and characteristics of software patents in the European Union: some empirical considerations," Openloc Working Papers 1022, Public policies and local development.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:25589. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.