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What's in a (Missing) Name? Status and Signaling in Open Standards Development

Authors: Waguespack, Dave - University of Maryland
Simcoe, Tim - University of Toronto
Fleming, Lee - Harvard Business School
Issue Date: 2008
Series/Report no.: Net Institute Working Paper;08-31
Abstract: How much are we influenced by an author's identity? If identity matters, is it because we have a 'taste for status' or because it offers a useful shortcut — a signal that is correlated with the likely importance of their ideas? This paper presents evidence from a natural experiment that took place at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) — a community of engineers and computer scientists who develop the protocols used to run the Internet. The results suggest that IETF participants use authors' identity as a signal or filter, paying more attention to proposals from highstatus authors, and this has a surprisingly large impact on publication outcomes. There is little evidence of a 'taste' for status.
Appears in Collections:NET Institute Working Papers Series

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