IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wpa/wuwpdc/0505007.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Intrinsic Motivation in Open Source Software Development

Author

Listed:
  • Jürgen Bitzer

    (Free University Berlin Department of Economics & Institute for East European Studies)

  • Wolfram Schrettl

    (Free University Berlin Department of Economics & Institute for East European Studies)

  • Philipp J.H. Schröder

    (Aarhus School of Business)

Abstract

This papers sheds light on the puzzling evidence that even though open source software (OSS) is a public good, it is developed for free by highly qualified, young and motivated individuals, and evolves at a rapid pace. We show that once OSS development is understood as the private provision of a public good, these features emerge quite naturally. We adapt a dynamic private-provision-of-public-goods model to reflect key aspects of the OSS phenomenon. In particular, instead of relying on extrinsic motives (e.g. signaling) the present model is driven by intrinsic motives of OSS programmers, such as user- programmers, play value or 'homo ludens' payoff, and gift culture benefits. Such intrinsic motives feature extensively in the wider OSS literature and contribute new insights to the economic analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Jürgen Bitzer & Wolfram Schrettl & Philipp J.H. Schröder, 2005. "Intrinsic Motivation in Open Source Software Development," Development and Comp Systems 0505007, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpdc:0505007
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 29
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de/econ-wp/dev/papers/0505/0505007.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Josh Lerner, 2005. "The Scope of Open Source Licensing," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 20-56, April.
    2. Bitzer, Jürgen & Schrettl, Wolfram & Schröder, Philipp J.H., 2006. "Intrinsic Motivation versus Signaling in Open Source Software Development," Working Papers 06-7, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
    3. Justin Pappas Johnson, 2002. "Open Source Software: Private Provision of a Public Good," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(4), pages 637-662, December.
    4. Hertel, Guido & Niedner, Sven & Herrmann, Stefanie, 2003. "Motivation of software developers in Open Source projects: an Internet-based survey of contributors to the Linux kernel," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1159-1177, July.
    5. Lindenberg, Siegwart, 2001. "Intrinsic Motivation in a New Light," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2-3), pages 317-342.
    6. Bitzer, Jurgen & Schroder, Philipp J.H., 2005. "Bug-fixing and code-writing: The private provision of open source software," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 389-406, July.
    7. Hendricks, Ken & Weiss, Andrew & Wilson, Charles A, 1988. "The War of Attrition in Continuous Time with Complete Information," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 29(4), pages 663-680, November.
    8. Nitsch, Volker, 2005. "Zipf zipped," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 86-100, January.
    9. Bitzer, Jurgen, 2004. "Commercial versus open source software: the role of product heterogeneity in competition," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 369-381, December.
    10. David P. Myatt & Chris Wallace, 2002. "Equilibrium Selection and Public-good Provision: The Development of Open-source Software," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 446-461.
    11. Siegwart Lindenberg, 2001. "Intrinsic Motivation in a New Light," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2‐3), pages 317-342, May.
    12. Bilodeau, Marc & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "Toilet cleaning and department chairing: Volunteering a public service," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 299-308, February.
    13. Bliss, Christopher & Nalebuff, Barry, 1984. "Dragon-slaying and ballroom dancing: The private supply of a public good," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 1-12, November.
    14. Berger, Helge & Hefeker, Carsten, 2005. "One Country, One Vote? Labor Market Structure and Voting Rights in the ECB," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 20, pages 672-687.
    15. Mustonen, Mikko, 2003. "Copyleft--the economics of Linux and other open source software," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 99-121, March.
    16. David P. Myatt & Chris Wallace, 2002. "Equilibrium Selection and Public Good Provision," Economics Series Working Papers 103, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    17. Zeitlyn, David, 2003. "Gift economies in the development of open source software: anthropological reflections," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1287-1291, July.
    18. Muchlinski, Elke, 2004. "Kontroversen in der internationalen Währungspolitik: Retrospektive zu Keynes-White-Boughton & IMF," Discussion Papers 2004/1, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Bitzer, Jürgen & Schrettl, Wolfram & Schröder, Philipp J.H., 2006. "Intrinsic Motivation versus Signaling in Open Source Software Development," Working Papers 06-7, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
    2. Bitzer, Jürgen & Geishecker, Ingo, 2010. "Who contributes voluntarily to OSS? An investigation among German IT employees," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 165-172, February.
    3. Gauguier, Jean-Jacques, 2009. "L’industrialisation de l’Open Source," Economics Thesis from University Paris Dauphine, Paris Dauphine University, number 123456789/4388 edited by Toledano, Joëlle, July.
    4. Bitzer, Jurgen & Schroder, Philipp J.H., 2005. "Bug-fixing and code-writing: The private provision of open source software," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 389-406, July.
    5. Bitzer, Jurgen, 2004. "Commercial versus open source software: the role of product heterogeneity in competition," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 369-381, December.
    6. Engelhardt, Sebastian v. & Freytag, Andreas, 2013. "Institutions, culture, and open source," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 90-110.
    7. Stenborg, Markku, 2003. "Waiting for F/OSS: Coordinating the Production of Free/Open Source Software," Discussion Papers 884, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    8. Georg von Krogh & Eric von Hippel, 2006. "The Promise of Research on Open Source Software," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(7), pages 975-983, July.
    9. Jürgen Bitzer & Philipp J.H. Schröder, 2005. "The Impact of Entry and Competition by Open Source Software on Innovation Activity," Industrial Organization 0512001, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Robert M. Sauer, 2007. "Why develop open-source software? The role of non-pecuniary benefits, monetary rewards, and open-source licence type," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(4), pages 605-619, Winter.
    11. Volckart, Oliver & Wolf, Nikolaus, 2004. "Estimating medieval market integration: Evidence from exchange rates," Discussion Papers 2004/21, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    12. Cerquera Dussán, Daniel & Müller, Bettina, 2009. "Open Source, ICT infrastructure and firm performance," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-089, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    13. Bilodeau, Marc & Childs, Jason & Mestelman, Stuart, 2004. "Volunteering a public service: an experimental investigation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2839-2855, December.
    14. Dongryul Lee & Byung Kim, 2013. "Motivations for Open Source Project Participation and Decisions of Software Developers," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 41(1), pages 31-57, January.
    15. Giuri, Paola & Ploner, Matteo & Rullani, Francesco & Torrisi, Salvatore, 2010. "Skills, division of labor and performance in collective inventions: Evidence from open source software," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 54-68, January.
    16. Florian Morath, 2013. "Volunteering and the strategic value of ignorance," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 41(1), pages 99-131, June.
    17. Michael Schwarz & Yuri Takhteyev, 2010. "Half a Century of Public Software Institutions: Open Source as a Solution to Hold‐Up Problem," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 12(4), pages 609-639, August.
    18. David P. Myatt, 2005. "Instant Exit from the Asymmetric War of Attrition," Economics Series Working Papers 160, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    19. Boom, Anette, 2004. ""Download for Free" - When Do Providers of Digital Goods Offer Free Samples?," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 70, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    20. Stephane Verani, 2006. "Open Source Development in a Differentiated Duopoly," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 06-05, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    open source software; public goods; homo ludens; war of attrition;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Lists

    This item is featured on the following reading lists, Wikipedia, or ReplicationWiki pages:
    1. Economic Logic blog

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpdc:0505007. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: EconWPA (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.