The dynamics of open-source contributors

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Citation: Josh Lerner, Parag A. Pathak, Jean Tirole (2006) The dynamics of open-source contributors. The American Economic Review (RSS)
DOI (original publisher): 10.2307/30034625
Semantic Scholar (metadata): 10.2307/30034625
Sci-Hub (fulltext): 10.2307/30034625
Internet Archive Scholar (search for fulltext): The dynamics of open-source contributors
Tagged: Economics (RSS) FLOSS (RSS)


In many ways, this article can be read as a sort of follow-on to Lerner and Tirole (2002). Although the previous article was largely speculative and theoretical, Lerner et al. tries to bring more solid empirical explorations to bear on some of the key issues that are raised. The article is very short and seems more structured as a set of very initial findings from a larger study and promises subsequent follow up work which, to date, remains unpublished.

The paper is built around a sample of 100 open source software projects which are stratified to over-represent larger projects. The paper publishes simple summary "demographic" statistics about projects including the size of the projects and the number and rate of contributors. The paper also makes an initial attempt to use email addresses to sort users to into commercial and non-commercial contributors and then to use this data to explain the distribution of corporate contributions to projects and to hint at a research project that will piece apart the different qualities of projects based on the differing degree of hobbyist versus paid/corporate labor.