Fresh Air

One of the most important public goods is the access to air that is not completely contaminated with pollutants. When policy is drafted to help keep the air clean through restrictions and regulations, it often costs money and needs the support of the taxpayers. Since the government often pays for these things with tax money, this helps eliminate the “free rider” problem. It makes it so that everyone pays for their “share” of the environmental quality. If clean air had to be provided by the private sector then it would be under provided. That is why I think that air quality is a great example of the public sector providing a true non-rival, non-excludable public good that doesn’t have a free rider problem.

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2 Responses to Fresh Air

  1. hornechr says:

    I completely agree with you on this. The way that the government has set up the Clean Air Act is a perfect example of how the public sector provides a good that everyone can take advantage of. By forcing those polluting the air to be responsible for air quality rather than everyday consumers, the government has essentially gotten rid of the free-rider problem.

  2. morrisje says:

    Taxes may help to eliminate the free rider problem of clean air consumption, but I don’t think it’s completely efficient. Many households in the U.S. pay no taxes and instead receive refunds depending on their income level. Their contributions to air cleanliness are minimal or non existent. To truly eliminate the free rider problem I think a government would need to impose some sort of user fee based on the amount of air one consumed. Obviously this would silly and far too costly to administer.

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