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Motivation and sorting in open source software innovation

  • Sharon Belenzon
  • Mark Schankerman
Registered author(s):

    This paper studies the role of intrinsic motivation, reputation, and reciprocity in driving open source software innovation. Unlike previous literature based on survey data, we exploit the observed pattern of contributions - the .revealed preference. of developers - to infer the underlying incentives driving the decision to contribute source code. Using detailed information on code contributions and project membership, we classify software developers into distinct types and study how contributions from each developer type vary according to the open source license type and other project characteristics. We find that developers strongly sort by license type, project size, and corporate sponsorship, and that reciprocity is important only for a small subset of projects. We also show that contributions have a substantial impact on the performance of open source projects.

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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/51594/
    File Function: Open access version.
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 51594.

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    Length: 53 pages
    Date of creation: 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:51594
    Contact details of provider: Postal: LSE Library Portugal Street London, WC2A 2HD, U.K.
    Phone: +44 (020) 7405 7686
    Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/

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    5. Jeffrey A. Roberts & Il-Horn Hann & Sandra A. Slaughter, 2006. "Understanding the Motivations, Participation, and Performance of Open Source Software Developers: A Longitudinal Study of the Apache Projects," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(7), pages 984-999, July.
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    17. Hertel, Guido & Niedner, Sven & Herrmann, Stefanie, 2003. "Motivation of software developers in Open Source projects: an Internet-based survey of contributors to the Linux kernel," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1159-1177, July.
    18. Frey, Bruno S & Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, 1997. "The Cost of Price Incentives: An Empirical Analysis of Motivation Crowding-Out," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 746-55, September.
    19. Canice Prendergast, 2008. "Intrinsic Motivation and Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 201-05, May.
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