nep-tid New Economics Papers
on Technology and Industrial Dynamics
Issue of 2005‒06‒05
three papers chosen by
Francesco Lissoni
Universita degli Studi di Brescia

  1. Why do Academic Scientists Engage in Interdisciplinary Research ? By Nicolas CARAYOL; Thuc Uyen NGUYEN THI
  2. Open knowledge disclosure, incomplete information and collective innovations. By Julien PENIN
  3. Open Source software development – just another case of collective invention? By Margit Osterloh; Sandra Rota

  1. By: Nicolas CARAYOL; Thuc Uyen NGUYEN THI
    Abstract: This article provides a first empirical study of the determinants of the propensity to which academic scholars tend to perform interdisciplinarity research. For that purpose we introduce a measure of interdisciplinarity as the diversity of their research production across scientific domains. Our dataset concerns more than nine hundred permanent researchers employed by a large French university which is ranked first among French universities in terms of Impact. As expected we find that the traditional academic career incentives do not stimulate interdisciplinary research while having connections with industry does. The context of work in the laboratory (size, colleagues’ status, age and affiliations) strongly affects the propensity to undertake interdisciplinary research.
    Keywords: Economics of science, Academic incentives, Interdisciplinary research, Laboratory, University.
    JEL: L31 O31 O32 O34 O38
    Date: 2004
  2. By: Julien PENIN
    Abstract: Why do firms decide sometimes to disclose widely part of their knowledge while they could have kept it secret ? We attempt to provide an original answer to this question by combining the literature in economics of innovation and in economics of incomplete information. We suggest that such practices of open knowledge disclosure can be deliberate strategies aiming at solving adverse selection problems that arise when firms try to find partners with whom to cooperate in R&D. Competent firms can sometimes think it a profitable strategy to disclose knowledge because this disclosure may allow them to display their differences with less competent firms, thus making it easier to start a profitable collaboration with other competent firms. We illustrate this intuition with the help of a signalling game under incomplete information.
    Keywords: open knowledge disclosure, signalling, adverse selection, innovation network, R&D collaboration, collective invention.
    JEL: L0
    Date: 2005
  3. By: Margit Osterloh; Sandra Rota
    Abstract: Does Open Source (OS) represent a new innovation model, and under what conditions can it be employed in other contexts? A look into history shows that OS isn’t a unique example of what is called “collective invention”. Other examples are blast furnaces in Britain’s Cleveland district, steam engine design, and more recently, the flat panel display industry. While OS shares many similarities with these cases of collective invention, there is a main difference: Other collective invention regimes did not survive after the development of a dominant design. It is argued that two factors can explain the difference. Firstly, OS licenses are important institutional innovations that make OS survive as a common property. Secondly, the second order social dilemma, which arises when it comes to developing and enforcing OS licenses, is overcome by the existence of intrinsically motivated contributors. It is asked under which conditions this kind of motivation is developed and sustained. We argue that it is the existence of certain selfgovernance- mechanisms which OS licenses are a part of. We conclude that OS differentiates itself from other cases of collective invention by its success in solving the second order social dilemma of rule development and enforcement.
    Keywords: Open source software; collective invention; intrinsic motivation; copyleft; conditional cooperation.
    Date: 2005–02

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