Open Source Software and Global Entrepreneurship

52 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2020 Last revised: 25 Aug 2022

See all articles by Nataliya Wright

Nataliya Wright

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Frank Nagle

Harvard Business School

Shane M. Greenstein

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Harvard University - Technology & Operations Management Unit

Date Written: August 2022

Abstract

This is the first study to consider the relationship between open source software (OSS) and entrepreneurship around the globe. This study measures whether country-level participation on the GitHub OSS platform affects the founding of innovative ventures, and where it does so, for what types of ventures. We estimate these effects using cross-country variation in new venture founding and OSS participation. We propose an approach using instrumental variables, and cannot reject a causal interpretation. The study finds that an increase in GitHub participation in a given country generates an increase in the number of new technology ventures within that country in the subsequent year. The evidence suggests this relationship is complementary to a country’s endowments, and does not substitute for them. In addition to this positive change in the rate of entrepreneurship, we also find a change in direction – OSS contributions lead to new ventures that are more mission- and global-oriented and are of a higher quality. Together, the results suggest that OSS can boost entrepreneurial activity, albeit with a human capital prerequisite. We consider the implications for policies that encourage OSS as a lever for stimulating entrepreneurial growth.

Keywords: open source software, GitHub, Software, Entrepreneurship, Global Range, Development Economics

Suggested Citation

Wright, Nataliya and Nagle, Frank and Greenstein, Shane M. and Greenstein, Shane M., Open Source Software and Global Entrepreneurship (August 2022). Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit Working Paper No. 20-139, Harvard Business School Strategy Unit Working Paper No. 20-139, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3636502 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3636502

Nataliya Wright

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Frank Nagle (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Shane M. Greenstein

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Harvard University - Technology & Operations Management Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States

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