Motivation and Sorting in Open Source Software Innovation

43 Pages Posted: 13 May 2009  

Sharon Belenzon

Duke University; NBER; Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Mark A. Schankerman

London School of Economics and Political Science; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 2008

Abstract

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.

JEL Classification: L14, L17, L41, O31, O32

Suggested Citation

Belenzon, Sharon and Schankerman, Mark A., Motivation and Sorting in Open Source Software Innovation (October 2008). LSE STICERD Research Paper No. EI47. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1401776

Sharon Belenzon (Contact Author)

Duke University ( email )

100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

NBER ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
(1) 617 588 1484 (Phone)

Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative ( email )

215 Morris St., Suite 300
Durham, NC 27701
United States

Mark A. Schankerman

London School of Economics and Political Science ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44 20 7955 7518 (Phone)
+44 20 7831 1840 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

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