Some simple economics of open source

Josh Lerner, Jean Marcal Pierre Tirole

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1156 Scopus citations


There has been a recent surge of interest in open source software development, which involves developers at many different locations and organizations sharing code to develop and refine programs. To an economist, the behavior of individual programmers and commercial companies engaged in open source projects is initially startling. This paper makes a preliminary exploration of the economics of open source software. We highlight the extent to which labor economics, especially the literature on 'career concerns', and industrial organization theory can explain many of these projects' features. We conclude by listing interesting research questions related to open source software.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-234
Number of pages38
JournalJournal of Industrial Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics

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