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CEP Public Events

BOOK LAUNCH: The Comingled Code - Open Source and Economic Development

Mark Schankerman (LSE), joint with Josh Lerner (Harvard)

Tuesday 07 December 2010 18:00 - 20:00

Meeting Room, LRB 532, 5th Floor, Lionel Robbins Building, LSE, entrance in 10 Portugal Street, London WC2A 2HD

About this event

The MIT Press and Centre for Economic Performance are delighted announce the launch of The Comingled Code: Open Source and Economic Development

MIT Press & CEP Book Launch

The Comingled Code
Open Source and Economic Development

Buy The Comingled Code

by Josh Lerner & Mark Schankerman

Date: Tuesday 7 December 2010
Time: 6.00pm for 6.30pm
Venue: STICERD, 5th Floor, LSE Research Laboratory, Lionel Robbins Building, Portugal St, London WC2A 2HD. Link to map

RSVP by Friday 3 December to Jo Cantlay,, +44 (0) 20 7955 7285

Published October 2010
6 x 9, 264 pp., 17 illus
$35.00 / 25.95
ISBN-10: 0-262-01463-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-262-01463-2

Overview: Discussions of the economic impact of open source software often generate more heat than light. Advocates passionately assert the benefits of open source while critics decry its effects. Missing from the debate is rigorous economic analysis and systematic economic evidence of the impact of open source on consumers, firms, and economic development in general. This book fills that gap. In The Comingled Code, Josh Lerner and Mark Schankerman, drawing on a new, large-scale database, show that open source and proprietary software interact in sometimes unexpected ways, and discuss the policy implications of these findings.

The new data (from a range of countries in varying stages of development) documents the mixing of open source and proprietary software: firms sell proprietary software while contributing to open source, and users extensively mix and match the two. Lerner and Schankerman examine the ways in which software differs from other technologies in promoting economic development, what motivates individuals and firms to contribute to open source projects, how developers and users view the trade-offs between the two kinds of software, and how government policies can ensure that open source competes effectively with proprietary software and contributes to economic development.

About the Authors:

Josh Lerner is Jacob H. Schiff Professor of Investment Banking at Harvard Business School, with a joint appointment in the Finance and Entrepreneurial Units. He is the author of The Boulevard of Broken Dreams: Why Public Efforts to Boost Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Have Failed and What to Do About It.

Mark Schankerman is Professor of Economics and Research Associate at the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics and Research Fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research in London


The great challenge in all fields of technology is to design institutions and laws that both provide incentives for innovation and ensure that the fruits of that innovation are widely shared. Often, these goals seem incompatible. In the field of software, the advocates of ‘open source’ development claim not only to have resolved the tension but to have done so in a way that has myriad collateral economic and social benefits. Are they right? This book brings deep knowledge and careful analysis to bear on that crucial question. The answers it offers deserve close attention from programmers, business leaders, and policy makers everywhere.”
—William Fisher, Wilmer Hale Professor of Intellectual Property Law and director, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University

"For anyone who thought the open source movement was a passing fancy, this is the book to read. Written by two experts in innovation and patent policy, it presents important evidence on the scope and complexity of how firms and public authorities have embraced open source software. The reader will learn which nations and which types of firms use open source most heavily, and may be surprised at the extent to which open source code is blended with code and products that are kept proprietary. The authors provide a rich foundation for yet another wave of thinking on the subject."
—Suzanne Scotchmer, University of California, Berkeley, author of Innovation and Incentives

“How does software impact growth? Should the government favor open source over proprietary software, and how should companies choose between them? How will the comingling between open source and proprietary software evolve? If you are looking for answers to these questions and others related to the software industry, The Comingled Code, written by two giants of software economics and empirical industrial organization, will provide you with an original, rigorous, and yet eminently accessible analysis. Essential for all researchers, students, and practitioners interested in this crucial industry.”
—Jean Tirole, Toulouse School of Economics

Participants are expected to adhere to the CEP Events Code of Conduct.


This event will take place in Meeting Room, LRB 532, 5th Floor, Lionel Robbins Building, LSE, entrance in 10 Portugal Street, London WC2A 2HD.

The building is labelled LRB on the LSE campus map. You can also find us on Google Maps. For further information, go to contact us.