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What are Common Goods?

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  • Written By: A.E. Simmons
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2016
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Common goods are those goods that are rivalrous and non-excludable. When consumed by one person, a rival good is a good that decreases the amount available to be consumed by everyone else. A non-excludable good is one which no one can be excluded from consuming. There are three main types of goods other than common goods. These are public goods, private goods, and club goods.

Common goods can include goods such as international fish stocks. Most international fishing areas do not impose limits on the number of fish that can be caught. Therefore, anyone can catch as much fish as he wishes, which makes the good non-excludable. If there are no limits, though, the fish stocks could potentially be depleted by the time other fishermen arrive later. This means the fish stocks are rivalrous.

Other common goods include water and animals for hunting. In many cases, renewable resources, such as land, are common goods. In regards to other types of goods, the most known type is public goods. Public goods are those which are non-excludable and non-rivalrous; this means anyone can consume as much of the good as he wants without impeding another person's ability to consume the good. These goods include air, national defense, and national parks.

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Likewise, there are private goods. Private goods are goods that are excludable, which prevents some consumers from consuming them, and rivalrous, meaning that consuming some of the good takes away the ability for another consumer to consume the good. Private goods are the most common types of goods, because they include any item you must purchase from a store. Such items include furniture, cars, food, clothing, and much more.

Finally, the last main type of common good is club goods or collective goods, which can only be attained with membership in a specific club or organization. Club goods are non-rivalrous and excludable; therefore, some people are excluded from being able to consume the good, but a person's consumption does not impede another person's ability to consume the good. Club goods can include cable television, golf courses, movie theaters, and any good that is provided to a member of a club. Economists have developed these categories for these types of goods and the effects that these goods have on the consumer. The government is usually responsible for public goods, and businesses and corporations are responsible for producing public goods.

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