Defining Global Public Goods

Inge Kaul, Isabelle Grunberg and Marc A. Stern

in Global Public Goods

Published in print July 1999 | ISBN: 9780195130522
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199867363 | DOI:
 Defining Global Public Goods

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People need both private and public goods for their well‐being. This chapter focuses on public goods, introducing the generic concept of public goods first, refining this generic definition, and identifying the distinguishing characteristics of global public goods. The main properties and distinguishing features of international public goods, including regional and global public goods can be grouped into two sets. The first is that their benefits have strong qualities of publicness – i.e., they are marked by nonrivalry in consumption and nonexcludability. These features place them in the general category of public goods. The second criterion is that their benefits are quasi universal in terms of countries (covering more than one group of countries), people (accruing to several, preferably all population groups), and generations (extending to both current and future generations, or at least meeting the needs of current generations without foreclosing development options for future generations). This property makes humanity as a whole the publicum, or beneficiary of global public goods.

Keywords: cooperation; externalities; global public goods; international cooperation; private goods; public goods; regional public goods

Chapter.  6878 words. 

Subjects: Public Economics

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