Journal Article

Why develop open-source software? The role of non-pecuniary benefits, monetary rewards, and open-source licence type

Robert M. Sauer

in Oxford Review of Economic Policy

Published on behalf of The Oxford Review of Economic Policy Ltd

Volume 23, issue 4, pages 605-619
Published in print December 2007 | ISSN: 0266-903X
Published online January 2007 | e-ISSN: 1460-2121 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxrep/grm034
Why develop open-source software? The role of non-pecuniary benefits, monetary rewards, and open-source licence type

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  • Mathematical Methods; Programming Methods; Mathematical and Simulation Modelling
  • Data Collection and Date Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs
  • Demand and Supply of Labour
  • Particular Labour Markets

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A review of the basic theory of optimal open-source software contributions points to three key factors affecting the decision to contribute to the open-source development process: non-pecuniary benefits, future expected monetary returns, and open-source licence type. This paper argues that existing large-scale software developer surveys are inadequate for measuring the relative importance of these three factors. Previous econometric studies that collect their own unique datasets also fall short because they generally measure the importance of only one supply factor in isolation. To fill the gap, I specify an estimable dynamic programming model of joint labour supply and open-source participation decisions that can provide empirical estimates of relative importance within a single unified framework of optimal decision-making.

Keywords: software; open source; labour supply; dynamic programming; C61; C80; J24; J44

Journal Article.  6815 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Mathematical Methods; Programming Methods; Mathematical and Simulation Modelling ; Data Collection and Date Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs ; Demand and Supply of Labour ; Particular Labour Markets

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