IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Copyleft vs Copyright: some competitive effects of Open Source


  • D. Lanzi


In this paper, we study oligopolistic competition between closed and open source softwares. By intersecting existing economic contributions on open source, we propose a two stage game with perfect information and product differetiation in which producers firstly set softwares quality, then they determine prices (constrained at zero for open source programs). In doing this, we explicitly model lock-in effects, network externality components of software quality as well as knowledge accumulation in software use and implementation. With respect to a monopolistic benchmark case, we argue that in duopoly a proprietary software producer facing an open source software will reduce its selling price whether: (i) its network of users is larger than open sources one and its consumers are largely experienced on its program, (ii) it has a small network of un-skilled consumers. In opposition, after open source softwares emergence, proprietary software price does augment if proprietary software users form a large, but poorly skilled network. Furthermore, we show that, in all above cases, proprietary software quality increases because of the existence of a open source alternative to a previouisly monopolistic program. Finally, by modeling knowledge accumulation processes through difference equations, we show that the ratio between closed and open source programs.opportunity costs of software learning and deployment plays a crucial role in shaping market outcomes. Until an open source software remains too complex and technical for unskilled or time-scarse users, a shared market solution in which both softwares are adopted is predicted. In contrast, if opportunity costs in learning and understanding open source programs are remarkably low, or at least equal to opportunity costs of a closed source software, then a open source dominance outcome (i.e. all software are open ones) phases out.

Suggested Citation

  • D. Lanzi, 2005. "Copyleft vs Copyright: some competitive effects of Open Source," Working Papers 541, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  • Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:541

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bergstresser, Daniel & Philippon, Thomas, 2006. "CEO incentives and earnings management," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 511-529, June.
    2. Burns, Natasha & Kedia, Simi, 2006. "The impact of performance-based compensation on misreporting," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 35-67, January.
    3. Brian J. Hall & Kevin J. Murphy, 2003. "The Trouble with Stock Options," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 49-70, Summer.
    4. Kevin J. Murphy & Brian J. Hall, 2000. "Optimal Exercise Prices for Executive Stock Options," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 209-214, May.
    5. Baruch Lev, 2003. "Corporate Earnings: Facts and Fiction," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(2), pages 27-50, Spring.
    6. Michael C. Jensen, 2004. "The Agency Costs of Overvalued Equity and the Current State of Corporate Finance," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 10(4), pages 549-565.
    7. Siew Hong Teoh & Ivo Welch & T.J. Wong, 1998. "Earnings Management and the Long-Run Market Performance of Initial Public Offerings," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(6), pages 1935-1974, December.
    8. Konan Chan & Louis K. C. Chan & Narasimhan Jegadeesh & Josef Lakonishok, 2006. "Earnings Quality and Stock Returns," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(3), pages 1041-1082, May.
    9. Degeorge, Francois & Patel, Jayendu & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1999. "Earnings Management to Exceed Thresholds," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72(1), pages 1-33, January.
    10. Teoh, Siew Hong & Welch, Ivo & Wong, T. J., 1998. "Earnings management and the underperformance of seasoned equity offerings," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 63-99, October.
    11. Brian J. Hall & Kevin J. Murphy, 2003. "The Trouble with Stock Options," NBER Working Papers 9784, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Murphy, Kevin J., 1999. "Executive compensation," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 38, pages 2485-2563 Elsevier.
    13. Goldman, Eitan & Slezak, Steve L., 2006. "An equilibrium model of incentive contracts in the presence of information manipulation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 603-626, June.
    14. Angelo Baglioni & Luca Colombo, 2009. "Managers' Compensation And Misreporting: A Costly State Verification Approach," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(2), pages 278-289, April.
    15. Michael C. Jensen, 2003. "Paying People to Lie: the Truth about the Budgeting Process," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 9(3), pages 379-406.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:541. 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: (Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.