The Simple Economics of Open Source

39 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2000  

Jean Tirole

University of Toulouse 1 - Industrial Economic Institute (IDEI); University of Toulouse 1 - Groupe de Recherche en Economie Mathématique et Quantitative (GREMAQ); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Josh Lerner

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit; Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 2000

Abstract

There has been a recent surge of interest in open source software development, which involves developers at many different locations and organizations sharing code to develop and refine programs. To an economist, the behavior of individual programmers and commercial companies engaged in open source projects is initially startling. This paper makes a preliminary exploration of the economics of open source software. We highlight the extent to which labor economics, especially the literature on "career concerns," can explain many of these projects' features. Aspects of the future of open source development process, however, remain somewhat difficult to predict with "off-the-shelf" economic models.

JEL Classification: L22, L31, L86

Suggested Citation

Tirole, Jean and Lerner, Josh, The Simple Economics of Open Source (October 2000). HBS Finance Working Paper No. 00-059. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=224008 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.224008

Jean Tirole

University of Toulouse 1 - Industrial Economic Institute (IDEI) ( email )

Place Anatole France
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F-31042 Toulouse Cedex
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University of Toulouse 1 - Groupe de Recherche en Economie Mathématique et Quantitative (GREMAQ) ( email )

Manufacture des Tabacs
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Toulouse, 31000
France

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

Josh Lerner (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School - Finance Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6065 (Phone)
617-496-7357 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.people.hbs.edu/jlerner/

Harvard University - Entrepreneurial Management Unit

Cambridge, MA 02163
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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