Public goods

From Encyklopedia Administracji Publicznej

PUBLIC GOODS – in normative (economic) terms, these are non-rational and non-rival goods, that is, goods that consumed by one person can be consumed simultaneously by others. P.g. are characterized by zero marginal cost of consumption by an additional person and a very high cost of excluding any individual from consumption. Due to the mentioned features, the use of them must be free, which gives them the character of non-market goods. Goods that meet the definition are referred to as pure public goods . Due to their features, these goods would not be effectively delivered by the private sector. There must therefore be a public sector that ensures their supply. An example of the p.p.g. is the light of a street lamp. One cannot divide it among passers-by or forbid anyone to use the light. P.g. can also be defined in positive terms, according to which the goods provided by public collective organisations (state, local government, international organisations) are considered public goods. The range of p.g. in positive terms is not determined only by economic factors but also by socio-historical factors. There are goods that are considered socially desirable or socially undesirable, depending on the development of civilization and the prevailing social doctrine. The catalogue of p.g. has no objective character and is dependent on time, place, civilization and social development, and in many cases extends to issues of current political and philosophical-ethical doctrine in a given place and time [ T. Strąk ].

Literature: Sektor publiczny w Polsce i na Świecie. Między upadkiem a rozkwitem [The public sector in Poland and in the world. Between falling and blooming], ed. J. Kleer, Warszawa 2005 ■ J.E. Stiglitz, Ekonomia sektora publicznego [The public sector economy], Warszawa 2004 ■ T. Strąk, Modele dokonań jednostek sektora finansów publicznych [Models of achievements of public finance sector entities], Warszawa 2012.