Institutional Change and Information Production
AbstractThe organization of information production is undergoing a deep transformation. Alongside media corporations, which have been for long time the predominant institutions of information production, new organizational forms have emerged, e.g. free software communities, open-content on-line wikis, collective blogs, distributed platforms for resource sharing. The paper investigates the factors that favoured the emergence of these alternative systems, called peer production. Differently from most of the previous literature, the paper does so by considering technology (i.e. digital code) as an endogenous variable in the process of organizational design. On this basis the paper argues that the diffusion of digital technology is a necessary but not sufficient condition to explain the emergence of peer production. A similarly important role has been played by the specific set of ethics that motivated the early adherents to the free software movement. Such an ethics indeed operated as a sort of “cultural subsidy” that helped to overcome the complementarities existing among distinct institutional domains, and let a new organizational species to emerge.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Economics, University of Siena in its series Department of Economics University of Siena with number 645.
Date of creation: Jul 2012
Date of revision:
peer production; organizational equilibria; institutional complementarities; transaction costs;
Other versions of this item:
- B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Institutional; Evolutionary
- D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
- K20 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - General
- L17 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Open Source Products and Markets
- O34 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property Rights
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-07-14 (All new papers)
- NEP-CUL-2012-07-14 (Cultural Economics)
- NEP-HIS-2012-07-14 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-ICT-2012-07-14 (Information & Communication Technologies)
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