Externalities in Knowledge Production: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment

51 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2019 Last revised: 23 Apr 2020

See all articles by Marit Hinnosaar

Marit Hinnosaar

University of Turin - Collegio Carlo Alberto; University of Nottingham

Toomas Hinnosaar

University of Nottingham - School of Economics

Michael E. Kummer

University of East Anglia (UEA)

Olga Slivko

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research - Information and Communication Technologies Research Group

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 5, 2020

Abstract

Are there positive or negative externalities in knowledge production? We analyze whether current contributions to knowledge production increase or decrease the future growth of knowledge. To assess this, we use a randomized field experiment that added content to some pages in Wikipedia while leaving similar pages unchanged. We find that adding content did not have a sizable impact on long-term content growth, neither in terms of quantity or quality. However, it increased editing activity in the first two years. Our results have implications for information seeding and incentivizing contributions. They imply that additional content may inspire future contributions in the short- and medium-term, but do not generate sizable externalities in the long-term.

Keywords: knowledge accumulation, user-generated content, Wikipedia, public goods provision, field experiment

JEL Classification: L17, L86, C93

Suggested Citation

Hinnosaar, Marit and Hinnosaar, Toomas and Kummer, Michael and Slivko, Olga, Externalities in Knowledge Production: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment (February 5, 2020). ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research Discussion Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3341630 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3341630

Marit Hinnosaar (Contact Author)

University of Turin - Collegio Carlo Alberto ( email )

Piazza Arbarello
8
Torino, Torino 10122
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://marit.hinnosaar.net/

University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

Toomas Hinnosaar

University of Nottingham - School of Economics ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
United Kingdom

Michael Kummer

University of East Anglia (UEA) ( email )

Norwich Research Park
Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7TJ
United Kingdom

Olga Slivko

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research - Information and Communication Technologies Research Group ( email )

D-68034 Mannheim
Germany

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