Chapter

Assessing the Optimal Provision of Public Goods: In Search of the Holy Grail

Todd Sandler

in Providing Global Public Goods

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780195157406
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199832965 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195157400.003.0006
 Assessing the Optimal Provision of Public Goods: In Search of the Holy Grail

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Develops two typologies of global public goods, and explains how issues of publicness relate to issues of production level and efficiency. It begins by examining the main classes of public goods from the viewpoint of how the nature of their benefits could affect the prognosis for their provision. It shows that judging provision efficiency becomes more complex when technologies of supply aggregation are taken into account. It then discusses two additional, special classes of public goods—club goods and joint products. On the basis of this analysis, the chapter suggests a few measures that could be employed in judging optimal provision, a discussion that leads to the two typologies, and is useful for supply prognoses. Finally, it searches for the Holy Grail: an empirical measure of optimality.

Keywords: club goods; efficiency; global public goods; joint products; optimality

Chapter.  8737 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Economics

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