Encyclopedia of Business and Professional Ethics

Living Edition
| Editors: Deborah C Poff, Alex C. Michalos

Public Goods

  • Rakesh C. GuptaEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-23514-1_80-1



In current economic thought public goods are those that have the following two characteristics:
  • Non-rivalrous – a good that once produced can be consumed by anyone and still is available for consumption by others [without diminishment].

  • Non-excludable – there is no reasonable way to prevent anyone from consuming it, whether they have contributed to its production or not.

Historical Context

“Public goods” have been an important part of the social fabric since humans, as social animals, began to form collectives, groups, and communities in the Paleolithic era, about 75,000 years ago. Through the ages these collectives have grown in size and complexity to the point where we now have seven billion people on the planet organized in myriad formal and informal groupings.

One common element of any societal group is the give-and-take between and among groups and their members....

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Willumstad School of BusinessAdelphi UniversityGarden CityUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Anthony F. Libertella
    • 1
  • Samuel M. Natale
    • 2
  1. 1.Robert. B. Willumstad School of BusinessAdelphi UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Robert. B. Willumstad School of BusinessAdelphi UniversityNew YorkUSA