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The Determinants of Output Per Contributor in Open Source Projects: An Empirical Examination


  • Fershtman, Chaim
  • Gandal, Neil


Using a unique dataset we examine empirically which factors explain output per contributor in open source projects. We find that the output per contributor of open source programmes is much higher when licenses are less restrictive. Further examination suggests that the difference in output per contributor is in large part due to many more contributors for projects that employ restrictive licenses. The results suggest a status/signaling or ideological motivation for participation in open source projects with restrictive licenses.

Suggested Citation

  • Fershtman, Chaim & Gandal, Neil, 2004. "The Determinants of Output Per Contributor in Open Source Projects: An Empirical Examination," CEPR Discussion Papers 4329, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4329

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Fabio M. Manenti & Stefano Comino & Marialaura Parisi, 2005. "From Planning to Mature: on the Determinants of Open Source Take-Off," Industrial Organization 0507006, EconWPA, revised 29 Sep 2005.
    2. Giuri, Paola & Ploner, Matteo & Rullani, Francesco & Torrisi, Salvatore, 2010. "Skills, division of labor and performance in collective inventions: Evidence from open source software," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 54-68, January.
    3. Alexia Gaudeul, 2009. "Consumer Welfare and Market Structure in a Model of Competition between Open Source and Proprietary Software," International Journal of Open Source Software and Processes (IJOSSP), IGI Global, vol. 1(2), pages 43-65, April.
    4. Stefano Comino & Fabio M. Manenti & Maria Laura Parisi, 2005. "From Planning to Mature: on the Determinants of Open Source Take Off," Department of Economics Working Papers 0517, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    5. Comino, Stefano & Manenti, Fabio M. & Parisi, Maria Laura, 2007. "From planning to mature: On the success of open source projects," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 1575-1586, December.
    6. Paola Giuri & Matteo Ploner & Francesco Rullani & Salvatore Torrisi, 2004. "Skills, Division of Labor and Performance in Collective Inventions. Evidence from the Open Source Software," LEM Papers Series 2004/19, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.

    More about this item


    empirical study; open source; restrictive licenses; software;

    JEL classification:

    • D20 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - General
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software

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