Generalized Reciprocity in Peer-to-Peer Networks

8 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2007  

Jeffrey K. MacKie-Mason

University of Michigan

Lian Jian

University of Southern California - Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

Date Written: May 26, 2006

Abstract

Written with Lian Jian. Prior theory and empirical work emphasize the enormous free-riding problem facing peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing networks. Nonetheless, many P2P networks thrive. We explore two possible explanations: private provision of public goods and generalized reciprocity. We investigate a particular form of private incentives to share content: redistributing traffic in the network to the advantage of the sharing peer. Our preliminary model suggests that this incentive is likely insufficient to motivate equilibrium content sharing in large networks. We then approach P2P networks as a graph-theoretic problem and derive sufficient conditions for sharing and free-riding to co-exist in the absence of direct sharing benefits or an explicit incentive mechanism.

Suggested Citation

MacKie-Mason, Jeffrey K. and Jian, Lian, Generalized Reciprocity in Peer-to-Peer Networks (May 26, 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=973998 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.973998

Jeffrey K. MacKie-Mason (Contact Author)

University of Michigan ( email )

3246B SI North
1075 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1092
United States
734-647-4856 (Phone)
734-764-1555 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jmm/

Lian Jian

University of Southern California - Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism ( email )

3502 Watt Way, Suite 304
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www-bcf.usc.edu/~ljian/

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