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Bug-fixing and code-writing: The private provision of open source software

  • Bitzer, Jurgen
  • Schroder, Philipp J.H.

Open source software (OSS) is a public good. A self-interested individual would consider providing such software, if the benefits he gained from having it justified the cost of programming. Nevertheless each agent is tempted to free ride and wait for others to develop the software instead. This problem is modelled as a war of attrition with complete information, job signaling, repeated contribution to the public good and uncertainty in programming. The resulting game does not feature any delay: software will be provided swiftly, by young, low-cost individuals who gain considerably by signaling their programming skills; the startup (and collapse) of an OSS project displays bandwagon dynamics.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Information Economics and Policy.

Volume (Year): 17 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 389-406

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Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:17:y:2005:i:3:p:389-406
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505549

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  5. Bitzer, Jurgen & Schrettl, Wolfram & Schroder, Philipp J.H., 2007. "Intrinsic motivation in open source software development," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 160-169, March.
  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. Hendricks, Kenneth & Weiss, Andrew & Wilson, Charles, 1987. "The War of Attrition in Continuous Time with Complete Information," Working Papers 87-03, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
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