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Cooperation in a Peer Production Economy: Experimental Evidence from Wikipedia

Cooperation in a Peer Production Economy: Experimental Evidence from Wikipedia

Jerome Hergueux, Berkman Center Fellow

December 3, 2013 at 12:30pm ET
Berkman Center for Internet & Society, 23 Everett St, 2nd Floor


From Wikipedia to Open Source Software, Peer Production – a large-scale collaborative model of production primarily based on voluntary contributions – is emerging as an economically significant production model alongside firms, markets and governments. Yet, its impressive success remains difficult to explain through the assumptions of standard economic theory.

In this talk, Jerome Hergueux will engage the audience in a reflection about the prosocial foundations of cooperation in this new Peer Production economy, taking Wikipedia as one paradigmatic example. Based on the results from an online game-theoretic experiment in which hundreds of Wikipedia contributors took part, Jerome will assess economics’ traditional understanding of the other-regarding motives that can foster online cooperation. In this process, he will ask the question: how can we start to build a workable theory of individuals’ motivations to freely contribute time and efforts for the provision of global public goods?

About Jerome

Jerome is a Ph.D. candidate in Economics at Sciences Po (Department of Economics) and the University of Strasbourg (Institute of Political Studies) specialized in behavioral economics and experimental methods. He is a Research Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University (2011-2014), where he does most of his Ph.D. work.  At Berkman, Jerome couples tools from experimental economics and computational social science to uncover how social preferences shape our behavior over the Internet. He is strongly involved in Professor Yochai Benkler’s Cooperation project. He is also involved with the Mindsport Research Network, which he helped launch together with Professor Charles Nesson in 2011.

Jerome is primarily interested in applying the analytical tools of experimental and behavioral economics to the understanding of the evolution of culture, broadly defined as any set of norms of cooperation shared by a group of individuals trying to overcome particular collective action issues (be it in online or offline settings). He then tries to assess the relevance of those norms for determining a wide range of economic outcomes at the community level.  Jerome originates from the French region of Alsace. He holds a B.A. in Economics and Finance from the University of Strasbourg and Masters degrees in International Relations and Affairs and International Economics and Trade from Sciences Po. Jerome speaks French, English and Arabic, and is heavily interested in the Middle East's politics and culture.

Past Event
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM