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Economics explained


Market failure

Public goods

Public goods

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Another collection of market failures go by the name 'externalities and public goods'.


Public goods are non-excludable. This implies that once one consumer has purchased the product, all other consumers cannot be prevented from benefiting from that product


That one person's consumption does not diminish the availability of the good for other consumers, and that it is impossible to prevent the consumption of it. Example: lighting and broadcast TV

The free-rider problem

The free market may also not be able to produce public goods because of the free-rider problem.

Public goods are impossible to provide to just one person; if you provide them to one person, you have to provide them to everybody. (Think of a fireworks display, for example.) The problem is that most people try to get the benefit without paying for it.

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