Global public goods

These are defined as goods and services that are ‘non-rival' and ‘non-excludable'. The converse ‘global public bads' are threats and negative influences that will affect all nations and possibly have an intergenerational impact. No one can be excluded from their benefits or disbenefits, and their consumption by one person does not diminish consumption by another.

Global public goods range from shared research findings to a clean environment. They are provided by non-market mechanisms, such as the state or, sometimes, voluntary organizations. Because the benefits of a public good are available to everyone, there are diminishing incentives for private sector provision. Consumption by one individual or group does not reduce availability for others, so a price is difficult to set in a market context (non-rivalry). Health knowledge and the monitoring of health threats are examples of global public goods in health, while global warming and new infectious diseases are global public bads.

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