Externalities in Knowledge Production: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment

51 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2019 Last revised: 5 Feb 2020

See all articles by Marit Hinnosaar

Marit Hinnosaar

University of Turin - Collegio Carlo Alberto

Toomas Hinnosaar

Collegio Carlo Alberto

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). 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/

Toomas Hinnosaar

Collegio Carlo Alberto ( email )

via Real Collegio 30
Moncalieri, Torino 10024
Italy

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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