This paper reviews our understanding of the growing open source movement. We highlight how many aspects of open source software appear initially puzzling to an economist. As we have acknowledged, our ability to answer confidently many of the issues raised here questions is likely to increase as the open source movement itself grows and evolves. At the same time, it is heartening to us how much of open source activities can be understood within existing economic frameworks, despite the presence of claims to the contrary. The labor and industrial organization literatures provide lenses through which the structure of open source projects, the role of contributors, and the movement's ongoing evolution can be viewed.
The Journal of Economic Perspectives (JEP) attempts to fill a gap between the general interest press and most other academic economics journals. The journal aims to publish articles that will serve several goals: to synthesize and integrate lessons learned from active lines of economic research; to provide economic analysis of public policy issues; to encourage cross-fertilization of ideas among the fields of thinking; to offer readers an accessible source for state-of-the-art economic thinking; to suggest directions for future research; to provide insights and readings for classroom use; and to address issues relating to the economics profession.