Does Open Source Software influence economic growth?

Tadeusz Chełkowski


Open Source Software (OSS) community is challenging the traditional meaning of property rights. The way the OSS products are developed and distributed is questioning the right to exclude others from using the goods and introduces the right to distribute and modify software for free. The economic impact of the Open Source Software contribution is significant, it has been estimated that it represents c.a. 30% of the software market. There is an increasing interest in studying OSS communities, however there have been a small number of studies investigating the general role of the OSS in the economic growth. Therefore the lack of theory linking the economic growth and OSS contribution represents the main theoretical problem of this paper. The goal of this article is to prove that the existence of OSS communities increases the quantity of non-rival and non-excludable goods, which - according to endogenous model of growth - leads to economic growth. Additionally the study findings undermine the neoclassical theory of property rights in terms of non-rival and non-excludable goods. The structure of the paper is organized as follows. In section 1 the article focuses on the literature addressing the role of the non-rival and non-excludable goods in the theory of growth and theory of property rights. Section 2, contains the literature review of the OSS socio-economic phenomena and argues that the neoclassical theory of rights is inadequate to explain OSS market existence. Section 3 of the paper summarizes the main conclusions and discusses the general motivation behind the creation of the non-excludable and non-rival goods as well as the diminishing role of the egoism as the origin of the economic growth. From the methodological point of view the paper represents a literature review and a critical analysis of the endogenous growth theory and the theory of property rights.


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Tadeusz Chełkowski

Kozminski University

About the article


The article is in the printed version on pages 69-75.

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How to cite

T. Chełkowski, Czy wolne i otwarte oprogramowanie może przyczyniać się do wzrostu gospodarczego?, "e-mentor”" 2015 , nr 2(59), s. 69-76,