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Motivation and Sorting in Open Source Software Innovation

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  • Belenzon, Sharon
  • Schankerman, Mark

Abstract

This paper studies the role of intrinsic motivation, reputation and reciprocity in driving open source software innovation. We exploit the observed pattern of contributions - the 'revealed preference' of developers - to infer the underlying incentives. Using detailed information on code contributions and project membership, we classify developers into distinct groups and study how contributions from each developer type vary by license (contract) type and other project characteristics. The central empirical finding is that developers strongly sort by license type, project size and corporate sponsorship. This evidence confirms the importance of heterogeneous motivations, specifically a key role for motivated agents and reputation, but less for reciprocity.

Suggested Citation

  • Belenzon, Sharon & Schankerman, Mark, 2008. "Motivation and Sorting in Open Source Software Innovation," CEPR Discussion Papers 7012, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7012
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    Cited by:

    1. Matthias Walther, 2010. "Corruption in Open-Source Software Organisations: A Theoretical Framework," Working Papers halshs-00690332, HAL.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    incentives; innovation; intrinsic motivation; motivated agents; open source software; reciprocity; reputation;

    JEL classification:

    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • L17 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Open Source Products and Markets
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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