What Is “Open”? An Economic Analysis of Open Institutions
By examining several different types of open institutions including open source software, open science, open square and (open) urban planning, this paper presents a general analysis of open institutional structure that is complementary to traditional proprietary mode. We argue that open institutions, in whatever forms, are essentially about decentralized production of a collective good (or “commons”) that relies on voluntary collaboration of highly variable human-related input. In addition to providing a general definition of open institutional structure, we submit there are two necessary conditions for open institutions. The first is the integration of consumers into production. The second condition is that the efficiency gain from “production” commons is the objective and the tragedy of anticommons becomes a serious problem. In this sense, open institutions represent a positive approach toward externality and uncertainty.
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