Resource title

The economic properties of software

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Resource description

Software is a good with very special economic characteristics. Taking a general definition of software as its starting-point, this article systematically elaborates the central qualities of the commodity which have implications for its production and cost structure, the demand, the contestability of software-markets, and the allocative efficiency. In this context it appears to be reasonable to subsume the various characteristics under the following generic terms: software as a means of data-processing, software as a system of commands or instructions, software as a recombinant system, software as a good which can only be used in discrete units, software as a complex system, and software as an intangible good. Evidently, software is characterized by a considerable number of economically relevant qualitiesranging from network effects to a subadditive cost function to nonrivalry. Particularly to emphasise is the fact that software fundamentally differs from other information goods: First, from a consumer’s perspective the readability and other aspects concerning how the information is presented, is irrelevant. Second, the average consumer/user is interested only in the funtionality of the algorithms but not in the underlying information.

Resource author

Sebastian von Engelhardt

Resource publisher

Resource publish date

Resource language

eng

Resource content type

text/html

Resource resource URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10419/25729

Resource license

Adapt according to the presented license agreement and reference the original author.