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Externalities in Knowledge Production: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Hinnosaar, Marit
  • Hinnosaar, Toomas
  • Kummer, Michael
  • Slivko, Olga

Abstract

Do contributions to online content platforms induce a feedback loop of ever more user-generated content or will they discourage future contributions? To assess this, we use a randomized field experiment which added content to some pages in Wikipedia while leaving similar pages unchanged. We find that adding content has a negligible impact on the subsequent long-run growth of content. Our results have implications for information seeding and incentivizing contributions, implying that additional content does not generate sizable externalities, neither by inspiring nor by discouraging future contributions.

Suggested Citation

  • Hinnosaar, Marit & Hinnosaar, Toomas & Kummer, Michael & Slivko, Olga, 2019. "Externalities in Knowledge Production: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 13575, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13575
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gerald C. Kane & Sam Ransbotham, 2016. "Content as Community Regulator: The Recursive Relationship Between Consumption and Contribution in Open Collaboration Communities," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(5), pages 1258-1274, October.
    2. Slivko, Olga, 2018. ""Brain gain" on Wikipedia: Immigrants return knowledge home," ZEW Discussion Papers 18-008, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
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    9. Chaim Fershtman & Neil Gandal, 2011. "Direct and indirect knowledge spillovers: the “social network” of open‐source projects," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(1), pages 70-91, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    knowledge accumulation; User-generated content; Wikipedia;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • L17 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Open Source Products and Markets
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software

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