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Project Title

Optimal Design of the Legal System Governing the Production of Information Goods


Alexandre Gaudeul, University of East Anglia

Thang To, University of East Anglia

Project Abstract

The aim of this project is to verify empirically the theoretical conclusions from two papers on the topic of competition in the software industry ("Public provision of a private good: What is the point of the BSD license?" and "Competition between open-source and proprietary organizations", both Guadeul, 2005). The general issue is that of the optimal design of the legal system governing the production of information goods.

Software, an example of such goods, is a potentially excludable public good. It can be made private through the use of a proprietary license or made a pure public good through the use of an open source license. The choice by a developer between those options is going to determine the dynamics and orientation of the development of the software. It is also going to determine the nature of competition in that specific software's development areas as well as the pace of innovation and distribution of welfare between the participants in the market.

This research is thus at the confluence of several areas of academic research, the economics of innovation in information good industries, the dynamics of competition in the IT industries, and the optimal regulation and legal setting for production in the knowledge economy.