Update: innovate sequentially!

I have been busy working on the last paper of my PhD dissertation lately.

It is an experiment in the field of economics of innovation, and addresses one of the possible explanations to what incentives motivate innovators to forego copyright gains and use a copyleft – free licence instead.

The paper is based on theoretical work from Nobel prize Eric Maskin jointly with James Bessen (link to the paper about software patents, sequential innovation and copyright, here) and on the interesting literature on the ‘Anticommons’ problem by Heller (interestingly, Heller has a background in transition economics as I have: look here for basic info, original article about law and Moscow shops here) and Buchanan and Yoon (link here).

I created a custom experimental software for it, in python, using a couple of easy but powerful libraries: wxpython for the GUI and enchant for spellchecking – yes, it is a word game, and I need spellchecking extensively. Python is very easy to learn, flexible and powerful. It cost me a month of work to set up the experimental software, but it was my first, and if I ever need to set up a custom software and not use z-tree again, I will have to spend no more than a couple of weeks to have a perfectly fine-tuned software. I would not recommend using python for running experiments to a software newbie, but if you are only slightly software-literate (or plain beginners, as I am) it could be considered as one of the choices.

Compulsory screenshot follows…

wxpython in action!
wxpython in action!

After running the experiments I’ll be presenting in a very interesting conference in Jena on experimental methods within the economics of innovation (here). And then I will hopefully be graduating. And then, who knows…


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