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Why develop open-source software? The role of non-pecuniary benefits, monetary rewards, and open-source licence type

  • Robert Sauer

    ()

    (University of Bristol, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies)

A review of the basic theory of optimal open-source software contributions points to three key factors affecting the decision to contribute to the open-source development process: nonpecuniary benefits, future expected monetary returns, and open-source licence type. This paper argues that existing large-scale software developer surveys are inadequate for measuring the relative importance of these three factors. Previous econometric studies that collect their own unique datasets also fall short because they generally measure the importance of only one supply factor in isolation. To fill the gap, I specify an estimable dynamic programming model of joint labour supply and open-source participation decisions that can provide empirical estimates of relative importance within a single unified framework of optimal decision-making.

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File URL: http://jimsisrael.org/pdf/OSSauer.pdf
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Paper provided by Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies (JIMS) in its series Working Papers with number 6.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 2007, 23, 605-619
Handle: RePEc:jms:wpaper:6
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.jims-israel.org
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  1. Lerner, Josh & Tirole, Jean, 2003. "The Scope of Open Source Licensing," IDEI Working Papers 219, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  2. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1997. "The Career Decisions of Young Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 473-522, June.
  3. Michael P. Keane & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1994. "The solution and estimation of discrete choice dynamic programming models by simulation and interpolation: Monte Carlo evidence," Staff Report 181, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Lerner, Josh & Tirole, Jean, 2002. "Some Simple Economics of Open," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 197-234, June.
  5. Lakhani, Karim R. & von Hippel, Eric, 2003. "How open source software works: "free" user-to-user assistance," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 923-943, June.
  6. Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2005. "The Economics of Technology Sharing: Open Source and Beyond," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 99-120, Spring.
  7. Harhoff, Dietmar & Henkel, Joachim & von Hippel, Eric, 2003. "Profiting from voluntary information spillovers: how users benefit by freely revealing their innovations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(10), pages 1753-1769, December.
  8. Bonaccorsi, Andrea & Rossi, Cristina, 2003. "Why Open Source software can succeed," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1243-1258, July.
  9. Justin Pappas Johnson, 2002. "Open Source Software: Private Provision of a Public Good," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(4), pages 637-662, December.
  10. Henkel, Joachim, 2004. "The Jukebox Mode of Innovation - A Model of Commercial Open Source Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 4507, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Chaim Fershtman & Neil Gandal, 2007. "Open source software: Motivation and restrictive licensing," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 209-225, August.
  12. Stephen M. Maurer & Suzanne Scotchmer, 2006. "Open Source Software: The New Intellectual Property Paradigm," NBER Working Papers 12148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Robert M. Sauer, 1998. "Job Mobility and the Market for Lawyers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(1), pages 147-171, February.
  14. 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.
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