Pénard, Dejean and Suire (2011)
|Pénard, Dejean and Suire (2011)|
|Title:||Olson’s Paradox Revisited: An Empirical Analysis of Incentives to Contribute in P2P File-sharing Communities|
|Author(s):||Pénard, T., Dejean, S., Suire, R.|
|Citation:||Pénard, T., Dejean, S., & Suire, R. (2011). Olson’s Paradox Revisited: An Empirical Analysis of Incentives to Contribute in P2P File-sharing Communities (No. 201105). Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:|| The data is drawn from tracking activity on 42 P2P file-sharing communities that can be either general or specialized in a type of content (music, movies, sport, adult, video games, and e-learning). All of them are “private” and “semi-private” trackers which contrary to “public trackers” (or open P2P communities) require every user to be registered.
These communities were randomly selected on the directory TorrentKing that listed several hundred communities at this time. Between December 17, 2007, and February 17, 2008 the study gathers 5,097 observations (42 communities observed during 125 periods with 153 missing values)
The mean of community size is of 101,721 members, and the mean of seeders (those that make content available) and leechers (those that download content) is respectively 28,600 and 12,967.
|Data Type:||Secondary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
This article aims to examine how the size of file-sharing communities affects their functioning and performance (i.e. their capacity to share content). Olson (1965) argued that small communities are more able to provide collective goods. Using an original database on BitTorrent file-sharing communities, our article finds a positive relationship between the size of a community and the amount of collective goods provided. But, the individual incentives to contribute slightly decrease with community size. These results seem to indicate that Peer to Peer file-sharing communities provide a pure (non rival) public good. We also show that specialised communities are more efficient than general communities to promote cooperative behaviour. Finally, the rules designed by the administrators of these communities play an active role to manage voluntary contributions and improve file-sharing performance.
Main Results of the Study
The main results of this study are:
- The collective provision in these P2P communities can be analysed as a pure public good.
- The amount of collective good increases with the number of registered users whereas the individual propensity to contribute decreases with community enlargement.
- Specialised communities seem to encourage voluntary contribution. Moreover, the catalog of content tends to be larger in specialised communities.
- A community that relies on public search engine to promote its catalog (an advertised community) has a higher proportion of contributors, but a more limited catalog of content.
- The rules designed by the administrators of these communities have a significant impact on their performance and their sustainable size. We find that stricter monitoring schemes have a positive impact on the incentives to contribute.
- The amount of unique files shared is lower in a private community. The provision of a large catalog (or a long tail) of contents that match individual preferences cannot be disconnected from the design and management of these virtual communities.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||P2P Communities|
|Period of material under study:||2007-2008|