The Continua of Excludability and Rivalry

Source: EconLog
by Bryan Caplan

“The classic definition of a ‘public good’ is that it is both ‘non-excludable’ and ‘non-rival.’ Textbooks normally treat these traits as binary …. Yet in the real world, both excludability and rivalry lie on a continuum. Almost nothing is 0% excludable. If you spend enough effort, you can prevent non-payers from enjoying your product. At the same time, almost every good requires some effort to exclude non-payers. Hence, nothing is 100% excludable either.” (09/27/21)