A Public Good Perspective on the Rural Environment: Theory and History

  • Martijn van der Heide
  • Wim HeijmanEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Advances in Bioeconomy: Economics and Policies book series (PABEP)


The literature on the theory of public goods is voluminous. This chapter provides an overview of public goods related to rural amenities. Many of these amenities tend to be non-exclusive and rival (e.g. forests and irrigation systems), exclusive and subject to some rivalry (e.g. nature reserves) or non-exclusive and non-rival (e.g. scenic views and clean air and water). Many beneficiaries of these amenities choose not to pay and will free ride on the efforts and activities of others (such as farmers and agro-foresters). This can present a problem for provision. Hence, rural amenities require collective action to be properly and efficiently provided since the logic of individual interests results in a socially less than optimum response.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food QualityThe HagueThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Agricultural Economics and Rural Policy GroupWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

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