Where and When Can Open Source Thrive? Towards a Theory of Robust Performance

OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE: NEW HORIZONS, pp. 156-176, P. Ågerfalk, C. Boldyreff, J. González-Barahona, G. Madey, J. Noll, eds., Springer Publishing, 2010

Posted: 16 Dec 2010 Last revised: 12 Sep 2017

See all articles by Sheen S. Levine

Sheen S. Levine

University of Texas at Dallas; Columbia University

Michael Prietula

Emory University - Goizueta Business School

Date Written: December 14, 2010

Abstract

While the economic impact of, and the interest in, open source innovation and production has increased dramatically in recent years, there is still no widely accepted theory explaining its performance. We combine original fieldwork with agent-based simulation to propose that the performance of open source is surprisingly robust, even as it happens in seemingly harsh environments with free rider, rival goods, and high demand. Open source can perform well even when cooperators constitute a minority, although their presence reduces variance. Under empirically realistic assumptions about the level of cooperative behavior, open source can survive even increased rivalry and performance can thrive if demand is managed. The plausibility of the propositions is demonstrated through qualitative data and simulation results.

Keywords: Innovation, Exchange, Performance, Agent-Based Modeling

Suggested Citation

Levine, Sheen S. and Prietula, Michael, Where and When Can Open Source Thrive? Towards a Theory of Robust Performance (December 14, 2010). OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE: NEW HORIZONS, pp. 156-176, P. Ågerfalk, C. Boldyreff, J. González-Barahona, G. Madey, J. Noll, eds., Springer Publishing, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1725665

Sheen S. Levine (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Dallas ( email )

2601 North Floyd Road
Richardson, TX 75083
United States

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Michael Prietula

Emory University - Goizueta Business School ( email )

1300 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322-2722
United States

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