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Motivation and sorting in open source software innovation

Belenzon, Sharon and Schankerman, Mark (2008) Motivation and sorting in open source software innovation. EDS Discussion Papers, EDS DP019. EDS Innovation Research Programme, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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This paper studies the role of intrinsic motivation, reputation and reciprocity in driving open source software innovation. We exploit the observed pattern of contributions – the ‘revealed preference’ of developers – to infer the underlying incentives. Using detailed information on code contributions and project membership, we classify developers into distinct groups and study how contributions from each developer type vary by license (contract) type and other project characteristics. The central empirical finding is that developers strongly sort by license type, project size and corporate sponsorship. This evidence confirms the importance of heterogeneous motivations, specifically a key role for motivated agents and reputation, but less for reciprocity.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2008 the authors
Library of Congress subject classification: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Journal of Economic Literature Classification System: O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O3 - Technological Change; Research and Development > O33 - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
Sets: Collections > Economists Online
Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Departments > Economics
Identification Number: EDS DP019
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2009 15:37

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