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Institutional Change and Information Production

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  • Fabio Landini

Abstract

The organization of information production is undergoing a deep transformation. Alongside media corporations, which have been for long time the predominant institutions of information production, new organizational forms have emerged, e.g. free software communities, open-content on-line wikis, collective blogs, distributed platforms for resource sharing. The paper investigates the factors that favoured the emergence of these alternative systems, called peer production. Differently from most of the previous literature, the paper does so by considering technology (i.e. digital code) as an endogenous variable in the process of organizational design. On this basis the paper argues that the diffusion of digital technology is a necessary but not sufficient condition to explain the emergence of peer production. A similarly important role has been played by the specific set of ethics that motivated the early adherents to the free software movement. Such an ethics indeed operated as a sort of “cultural subsidy” that helped to overcome the complementarities existing among distinct institutional domains, and let a new organizational species to emerge.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabio Landini, 2012. "Institutional Change and Information Production," Department of Economics University of Siena 645, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  • Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:645
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alchian, Armen A & Demsetz, Harold, 1972. "Production , Information Costs, and Economic Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 777-795, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Roberto Casarin & Niccolò Casnici & Pierpaolo Dondio & Flaminio Squazzoni, 2015. "Back to Basics! The Educational Gap of Online Investors and the Conundrum of Virtual Communities," Journal of Financial Management, Markets and Institutions, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 51-69, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    peer production; organizational equilibria; institutional complementarities; transaction costs;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary; Modern Monetary Theory;
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • K20 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - General
    • L17 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Open Source Products and Markets
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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