Description (short summary):
This study analyses under which circumstances it may be desirable for the government to stimulate open source software as a response to market failures in software markets. To consider whether policy intervention can increase dynamic efficiency, the document discusses the differences between proprietary software and open source software with respect to the incentives to innovate and market failures that may occur. The document proposes guidelines to determine which types of policy intervention may be suitable.
The most important finding is that directly stimulating open source software, e.g. by acting as a lead customer, can improve dynamic efficiency if (i) there is a serious customer lock-in problem, while (ii) to develop the software, there is no need to purchase specific, complementary inputs at a substantial cost, and (iii) follow-on innovations are socially valuable but there are impediments to contractual agreements between developers that aim at realizing such innovations.
Number of pages:
ISBN Number: ISBN 978-90-5833-397-1
Nature of documentation: Independent reports and studies