What Is a Public Good?

This lecture introduces the idea of public goods and why they might be hard to produce in international relations.

Takeaway Points

  1. A good is non-rival if one person’s consumption of the good does not interfere with another’s consumption of it.
  2. A good is non-excludable if a person, group, government, etc. cannot adequately deny a person access to it.
  3. A non-rival, non-excludable good is a public good. Clean air is the classic example.
  4. A rival, non-excludable good is a common pool good. A fishery is the classic example.
  5. Non-excludable goods are prone to over-consumption and underproduction.