The Impact of Open Source Software on Job Creation in the United States.
Open Source Software (OSS) is well established in sectors as diverse as aviation, health, telecommunications, finance, publishing, education, and government. As nations increasingly rely on knowledge assets to grow, the adoption of OSS will have profound economic consequences. This paper identifies the mechanisms inherent to OSS production that help fuel innovation in knowledge-based economies. As a collaborative and open production model, OSS is conceptualized as a prototype of open innovation. Drawing on US employment projections for 2008-2018, the authors’ analysis predicts OSS will have a positive impact on employment growth in well-paid salary jobs across multiple sectors of the US economy. OSS-related software development jobs are widely diffuse throughout the economy, help build a skilled labour force and offer wages significantly above the national average. OSS is thus believed to be a strong contributor to growth in high-value employment in the US. The authors also posit that, as industries are exposed to the benefits of OSS as a result of the broad diffusion of OSS-related jobs, open innovation processes outside software development may be adopted through a process of learning and imitation.