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Institutions, Culture, and Open Source

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  • Andreas Freytag

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

  • Sebastian von Engelhardt

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

Abstract

The paper analyzes the impact of institutional and cultural factors on a remarkable economic activity: the production of so-called open source software (OSS). OSS is marked by free access to the software and its source code. Copyright-based OSS licenses permit users to use, change, improve and redistribute the software, which is designed and developed in a public, collaborative manner. OSS seems to be an example of a 'private provision of a public good'. While the supply-side microeconomics of OSS (individual characteristics of OSS developers, role of firms etc.) are well explored, it is not known which institutional and cultural factors explain different OSS activities across countries. For this reason, we perform a cross-country study analyzing how the number of OSS developers per inhabitants and the level of OSS activity of a country depend on institutional and cultural factors. Our findings are that a culture characterized by individualism/self-determination, abundance of social capital interpreted as interpersonal trust, an optimistic view of scientific progress, a low degree of regulation as well as good protection of intellectual property rights is favoring OSS activities. Our study thus contributes to the understanding of the role of cultural and nstitutional factors in general as well as in particular with respect to OSS. Additionally, it improves the understanding of the supply-side of OSS.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Freytag & Sebastian von Engelhardt, 2010. "Institutions, Culture, and Open Source," Jena Economics Research Papers 2010-010, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2010-010
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    2. van Hoorn, André, 2014. "Individualism and the cultural roots of management practices," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 53-68.
    3. Sebastian von Engelhardt & Andreas Freytag & Christoph Schulz, 2013. "On the Geographic Allocation of Open Source Software Activities," International Journal of Innovation in the Digital Economy (IJIDE), IGI Global, vol. 4(2), pages 25-39, April.
    4. Shuanping Dai & Guanzhong Yang, 2020. "Does Social Inducement Lead to Higher Open Innovation Investment? An Experimental Study," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(5), pages 1-17, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Open Source; Culture; Institutions; Social Capital; Trust; Regulation; Entrepreneurial Spirit; Individualism; Intellectual Property Rights;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary; Modern Monetary Theory;
    • 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

    NEP fields

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