Competition and production of digital public goods

TitleCompetition and production of digital public goods
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsRadtke, NP, Janssen, MA
Secondary TitleInternational Journal of Intelligent Control and Systems
Start Page77
Keywordsdigital public goods, FLOSS, open source software, sourceforge, success metrics, wikipedia

With the Internet has come the phenomenon of people volunteering to work on digital public goods such as open source software and online encyclopedia articles. Presumably, the success of individual public goods has an effect on attracting volunteers. However, the definition of success is ill-defined. This paper explores the impact of different success metrics on a simple public goods model. The findings show that the different success metrics considered do have an impact on the behavior of the model, with the largest differences being between consumer-oriented and producer-oriented metrics. This indicates that many proposed success metrics may be mapped into one of these two categories and within a category, all success metrics measure the same phenomenon. We argue that the characteristics of producer-oriented metrics more closely match real world phenomena, indicating that public goods are driven by producer, and not consumer, interests.

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