NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Governing the Anticommons: Institutional Design for Standard-Setting Organizations

Timothy Simcoe

Chapter in NBER book Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 14 (2014), Josh Lerner and Scott Stern, editors (p. 99 - 128)
Conference held April 23, 2013
Published in June 2014 by University of Chicago Press
© 2014 by the National Bureau of Economic Research
in NBER Book Series Innovation Policy and the Economy

Shared technology platforms are often governed by standard setting organizations (SSOs), where interested parties use a consensus process to address problems of technical coordination and platform provision. Economists have modeled SSOs as certification agents, bargaining forums, collective licensing arrangements and R&D consortia. This paper integrates these diverse perspectives by adapting Elinor Ostrom’s framework for analyzing collective self-governance of shared natural resources to the problem of managing shared technology platforms. There is an inherent symmetry between the natural resource commons problem (over-consumption) and the technology platform anti-commons problem (over-exclusion), leading to clear parallels in institutional design. Ostrom’s eight principles for governing common pool resources illuminate several common SSO practices, and provide useful guidance for resolving ongoing debates over SSO intellectual property rules and procedures.

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This paper was revised on July 2, 2013

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1086/674022

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