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Geographic Allocation of OSS Contributions: The Role of Institutions and Culture


  • Sebastian v. Engelhardt

    () (Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, School of Economics and Business Administration)

  • Andreas Freytag

    () (Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, School of Economics and Business Administration)


We analyze the impact of institutional and cultural factors on the supply side of open source software (OSS). OSS is a privately provided public good: it is marked by free access to the software and its source code, and is developed in a public, collaborative manner by thousands of volunteers as well as profit-seeking firms. Our cross-country study shows that a culture characterized by interpersonal trust and self-determination/fulfillment values has a positive impact on OSS activities and the number of developers. The supply side of OSS also benefits from the enforcement of intellectual property rights. A low degree of regulation and openness towards scientific progress has a positive impact on the number of OSS developers, but the latter not on the number of active or core developers.

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastian v. Engelhardt & Andreas Freytag, 2009. "Geographic Allocation of OSS Contributions: The Role of Institutions and Culture," Jena Economic Research Papers 2009-051, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2009-051

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    More about this item


    Open source software; Institutions; Culture; Social capital; Individualism; Intellectual property rights;

    JEL classification:

    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • 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
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • Z19 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Other

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