Cooperation in a Peer Production Economy Experimental Evidence from Wikipedia.

32 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2016

See all articles by Yann Algan

Yann Algan

Sciences Po

Yochai Benkler

Harvard University

Mayo Fuster Morell

Open University of Catalunya - IN3; Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Jérôme Hergueux

Harvard University - Berkman Center for Internet & Society

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

The impressive success of peer production – a large-scale collaborative model of production primarily based on voluntary contributions – is difficult to explain through the assumptions of standard economic theory. The aim of this paper is to study the prosocial foundations of cooperation in this new peer production economy. We provide the first field test of existing economic theories of prosocial motives for contributing to real-world public goods. We use an online experiment coupled with observational data to elicit social preferences within a diverse sample of 850 Wikipedia contributors, and seek to use to those measures to predict subjects’ field contributions to the Wikipedia project. We find that subjects’ field contributions to Wikipedia are strongly related to their level of reciprocity in a conditional Public Goods game and in a Trust game and to their revealed preference for social image within the Wikipedia community, but not to their level of altruism either in a standard or in a directed Dictator game. Our results have important theoretical and practical implications, as we show that reciprocity and social image are both strong motives for sustaining cooperation in peer production environments, while altruism is not.

Keywords: Peer Production, The Internet, Public Goods, Field Experiments, Social Preferences

JEL Classification: H41, C93, D01, Z13

Suggested Citation

Algan, Yann and Benkler, Yochai and Fuster Morell, Mayo and Hergueux, Jérôme, Cooperation in a Peer Production Economy Experimental Evidence from Wikipedia. (2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2843518 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2843518

Yann Algan

Sciences Po ( email )

Yochai Benkler

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Mayo Fuster Morell (Contact Author)

Open University of Catalunya - IN3 ( email )

Parc Mediterrani de la Tecnologia (Edifici B3)
Barcelona, CA Barcelona 08860
Spain
+34 93 450 52 00 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uoc.edu/portal/en/in3/recerca/grups/digital_commons

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://cyber.harvard.edu/people/mfustermorell

Jérôme Hergueux

Harvard University - Berkman Center for Internet & Society ( email )

23 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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