New Economics Papers
on Law and Economics
Issue of 2005‒08‒03
two papers chosen by
Jeong-Joon Lee, Towson University

  1. The Debate and the Community. The “Reflexive Identity” Concept and the FLOSS Community Case. By Francesco Rullani
  2. Pots and Kettles: Governance Practices of the Ontario Securities Commission By Joel Fried

  1. By: Francesco Rullani
    Abstract: The empirical studies relative to the Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) case stress the important role played by psychological and social motivations. However, the theories elaborated to cope with this dimension, such as “gift economy”, “epistemic community” or “community of practice”, are not combined into a unique structured framework. It is possible to draw inspiration from philosophical studies about language and from sociological studies about collective action in order to construct a mechanism –here called “reflexive identity”- able to bridge the analyzed theories and to explain the empirical evidences left aside by self-supply, reputation and signaling. The reflexive identity mechanism is triggered by the dialog between the members. In order to simply communicate, in fact, members have to “negotiate” the system of meanings they use to interface with the world and with the communitarian environment. But this means reshaping also their own vision of the world, redefining their identity. Community aims, principles and ethos act directly on members’ identity, making them internalize the communitarian structure of rules. The reflexive identity principle, then, merges the psychological and social dimension of the FLOSS phenomenon with the structure of rules adopted by the FLOSS community, and thus it constitutes together with self-supply, signaling, reputation and peer regard the basis upon which the FLOSS community is built.
    Keywords: Free, Open Source, Software, Motivation, Incentive, Social Interaction, Identity, Production Model, Innovation.
  2. By: Joel Fried (University of Western Ontario)
    Abstract: An analysis of the governance policies of the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) is undertaken in light of that institution's drive to improve governance practices in the private sector. It turns out that the Commission itself does not practice many of the governance practices required and/or advocated for the corporate sector. Furthermore it is argued that governance policies necessary to resolve the principal - agent problem for the corporate sector are necessary to resolve that problem for a public sector regulator, but they are not sufficient. This is the result of the greater difficulty in monitoring the regulator because the objectives of the principals/electorate are more difficult to measure than profits, and those objectives are only loosely correlated with cash flows. The insistence on publicly available cost-benefit analyses for new and existing OSC initiatives is one method to improve monitoring.
    Date: 2005

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