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Olson’s Paradox Revisited: An Empirical Analysis of Incentives to Contribute in P2P File-sharing Communities

Author

Listed:
  • Thierry Pénard

    (University of Rennes 1 - CREM-CNRS)

  • Sylvain Dejean

    (CREM-CNRS, Marsouin)

  • Raphaël Suire

    (University of Rennes 1 - CREM-CNRS)

Abstract

This article aims to examine how the size of file-sharing communities affects their functioning and performance (i.e. their capacity to share content). Olson (1965) argued that small communities are more able to provide collective goods. Using an original database on BitTorrent file-sharing communities, our article finds a positive relationship between the size of a community and the amount of collective goods provided. But, the individual incentives to contribute slightly decrease with community size. These results seem to indicate that Peer to Peer file-sharing communities provide a pure (non rival) public good. We also show that specialized communities are more efficient than general communities to promote cooperative behavior. Finally, the rules designed by the administrators of these communities play an active role to manage voluntary contributions and improve file-sharing performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Thierry Pénard & Sylvain Dejean & Raphaël Suire, 2011. "Olson’s Paradox Revisited: An Empirical Analysis of Incentives to Contribute in P2P File-sharing Communities," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201105, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
  • Handle: RePEc:tut:cremwp:201105
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    File URL: https://crem-doc.univ-rennes1.fr/wp/2011/201105.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Wojciech Hardy & Michal Krawczyk & Joanna Tyrowicz, 2015. ""Thou shalt not leech" Are digital pirates conditional cooperators?," Working Papers 2015-26, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    2. Martin Kolmar & Hendrik Rommeswinkel, 2011. "Technological Determinants of the Group-Size Paradox," CESifo Working Paper Series 3362, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Olson’s paradox; collective goods; Peer-to-Peer; File-sharing; community;

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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