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Contracts and Motivations. The Case of Open Source

Author

Listed:
  • Marcello Basili

    ()

  • Antonio Nicita

    ()

  • Maria Alessandra Rossi

    ()

Abstract

The literature on Open Source phenomenon has revealed the crucial role played by both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. However an analysis attempting to formally explore this interplay is still missing. In this paper, we try to fill the gap by introducing intrinsic motivations in standard principal-agent model, focusing on the case of Open Source Software (OSS). We show that, if developers’ intrinsic motivation is sufficiently high, paying developers to work on OSS projects allows the firm to induce a desired level of workers’ effort at a lower cost compared to the standard case of monetary incentives and sanctions coupled with costly monitoring.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcello Basili & Antonio Nicita & Maria Alessandra Rossi, 2008. "Contracts and Motivations. The Case of Open Source," Department of Economics University of Siena 544, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  • Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:544
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    File URL: http://repec.deps.unisi.it/quaderni/544.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Marcello Basili & Maurizio Franzini, 2009. "Cooperation, Reciprocity and Self-esteem: A Theoretical Approach," Chapters,in: The Economics of Ethics and the Ethics of Economics, chapter 11 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Bitzer, Jurgen & Schrettl, Wolfram & Schroder, Philipp J.H., 2007. "Intrinsic motivation in open source software development," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 160-169, March.
    3. Stephen M. Maurer & Suzanne Scotchmer, 2006. "Open Source Software: The New Intellectual Property Paradigm," NBER Working Papers 12148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    extrinsic and intrisic motivations; agency contracts; open-source software; open-source software developers;

    JEL classification:

    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation

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