New answers tagged

-1

The answer is different depending on which view you take. From an individual view, to some the act of contributing is comparable to any other hobby. I mean, people do not go fishing or do gardering or play the bassoon in order to gain economically from it. I tend to define a hobby as something where you spend surplus time and surplus money. The only problem, ...


-1

How do economists explain unpaid social activities? Sociologically. In the USA males contribute 85% of editing, and females 15%, even though women have higher education accolades in the USA than men. In the USSR, female contribution is much higher, about 30%. So, oddly, one of the motivations is masculine psychology. The reason for that is mostly supposed to ...


-1

Wikipedia in a sense is informal domestic production, in the sense that it is the sum of valuable work you could be paying for but provide for free. Usually, informal domestic production are directly consumed (such as cooking) and the economist summarize the incentive easily in the fact you'd be trading your time for something enjoyable or useful to you ...


-1

A competent economist has only one answer for this: Not everything is about money. Economics can't explain everything, and a good economist will recognize this. It's not a puzzle, any more than it is a puzzle why people have children, buy expensive cars, or go on vacation. Any explanations lie outside the field of economics, and so are off topic here.


8

Look at the data For starters, the obvious thing is to look at the data about the self-reported reasons for contributing to wikipedia (and I'm surprised that neither the question asker nor most of the answers have done so). For example, Wikipedia itself has a section on the motivation that refers to multiple studies - though many of them are behind a paywall ...


24

Voluntarily contributing to a public good (such as Wikipedia) is a strong social norm. The tendency to follow such norms even if this is costly in the short run has developed over humans' evolutionary history, as in small to medium-sized hunter-gatherer communities this behavior was adaptive, e.g. due to reputation effects ("community enforcement")....


25

I wouldn't underestimate the role of learning by answering. Drafting a significant text typically forces a person to put their thoughts in order, to engage in research, and then to structure the information for the purpose of recording and conveying it. It is not unusual that further insights or questions emerge during this process, the answerer certainly ...


13

tl;dr: There could be multiple explanations depending on how you want to treat Wikipedia. If you want to treat Wikipedia as public good where everyone contributes a small part towards its creation and that everyone then enjoys equality you can explain it as people trying to still satisfy their own preferences through consuming the final Wikipedia page. You ...


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