Institutions, Culture, and Open Source

Posted: 12 Feb 2011 Last revised: 11 Oct 2013

See all articles by Sebastian von Engelhardt

Sebastian von Engelhardt

University of Jena - Economics Department

Andreas Freytag

University of Jena - Department of Economics

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

We analyze the impact of institutional and cultural factors on the supply side of open source software (OSS). OSS is a privately provided public good: it is marked by free access to the software and its source code, and is developed in a public, collaborative manner by thousands of volunteers as well as profit-seeking firms. Our cross-country study shows that a culture characterized by interpersonal trust and self-determination/fulfillment values has a positive impact on OSS activities and the number of developers. The supply side of OSS also benefits from the enforcement of intellectual property rights. A low degree of regulation and openness towards scientific progress has a positive impact on the number of OSS developers, but the latter not on the number of active or core developers.

Keywords: Open source software; Institutions; Culture; Social capital; Individualism; Intellectual property rights

JEL Classification: B52, L17, L86, O34, Z13, Z19

Suggested Citation

Engelhardt, Sebastian von and Freytag, Andreas, Institutions, Culture, and Open Source (2013). Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Vol. 95, 2013, pp. 90-110, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1760020 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1760020

Sebastian von Engelhardt (Contact Author)

University of Jena - Economics Department ( email )

Carl-Zeiss-Str. 3
07743 Jena
Germany

Andreas Freytag

University of Jena - Department of Economics ( email )

Carl-Zeiss-Str. 3
07743 Jena
Germany

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