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The Dynamics of Open Source Software Communities and Industrial Districts : the Role of Market and Non-Market Interactions


  • Mario A. Maggioni


[eng] The phenomenon of open-source software development has already stimulated a wide debate within different academic communities (economists, information scientists, business strategists, operational researchers, etc.) and research approaches. Aim of this paper is to add a new and complementary perspective on the existing economic analysis of open-source software by comparing the structure and evolution of open-source software communities and of industrial districts, a peculiar organisational form of production based on a large number of interacting small and medium sized enterprises. The comparison between open-source software communities and industrial districts, in spite of some major differences (such as the role of geographical proximity) allows the recognition of the role played by agglomeration economies, an explicit analysis of the incentives structure - governing the private provision of complex public goods - and an in depth study of the governance structure and evolution of these phenomena. The paper presents some simple simulations which show the dependence of the governance structure's evolution on transaction costs dynamics. [fre] Le phénomène du logiciel libre a déjà fait l'objet de larges débats dans différentes communautés académiques (économie, science de l'information, recherche opérationnelle...) et de différentes approches. L'objet de cet article est d'ajouter une perspective nouvelle et complémentaire aux analyses économiques existantes du logiciel libre en comparant la structure et l'évolution des communautés du logiciel libre à celles des districts industriels, une forme particulière d'organisation de la production fondée sur l'interaction d'un grand nombre de petites et moyennes entreprises interdépendantes. La comparaison entre les communautés du logiciel libre et les districts industriels, en dépit de différences importantes (comme la proximité géographique) permet la mise en évidence du rôle joué par les économies d'agglomération, une analyse explicite des structures d'incitation et de gouvernance de biens complexes publics et de leur évolution. L'article présente quelques simulations simples qui montrent que l'évolution de la structure de gouvernance dépend de la dynamique des coûts de transaction.

Suggested Citation

  • Mario A. Maggioni, 2004. "The Dynamics of Open Source Software Communities and Industrial Districts : the Role of Market and Non-Market Interactions," Revue d'Économie Industrielle, Programme National Persée, vol. 107(1), pages 127-150.
  • Handle: RePEc:prs:recind:rei_0154-3229_2004_num_107_1_3052
    Note: DOI:10.3406/rei.2004.3052

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    Cited by:

    1. Paul A. David & Francesco Rullani, 2008. "Dynamics of innovation in an “open source” collaboration environment: lurking, laboring, and launching FLOSS projects on SourceForge," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(4), pages 647-710, August.
    2. Paul A. David & Francesco Rullani, 2006. "Micro-dynamics of Free and Open Source Software Development. Lurking, laboring and launching new projects on SourceForge," LEM Papers Series 2006/26, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    3. Mario Maggioni & Teodora Uberti, 2011. "Networks and geography in the economics of knowledge flows," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 45(5), pages 1031-1051, August.
    4. Mario Maggioni & Teodora Uberti & Mario Nosvelli, 2014. "Does intentional mean hierarchical? Knowledge flows and innovative performance of European regions," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 53(2), pages 453-485, September.

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