March 14, 2009
The Frontier Goods & Services Interactive InfoMap
Frontier’s interactive goods map illustrates different kinds of goods according to the theory of public and private goods.
This theory holds that all goods and services have inherent properties of being either rivalrous or non-rivalrous, and either excludable or non-excludable.
Rivalrous goods are goods where one person’s consumption takes away from another’s, so food is a rivalrous good because once a piece of food is eaten it is no longer available for anyone else. Radio transmissions are non rivalrous, because many people can tune into a transmission without affecting each other.
Excludable goods are goods where it is possible to exclude people who refuse to pay for a good from its benefits. It is easy to exclude people from consuming household electronics, (theft aside) they cannot be accessed without payment. It is very difficult, however, to exclude people from the benefits of lighthouses.
Putting rivalry and exclusion together there are four logical combinations:
No real life goods are quite 100% or 0% rivalrous or excludable. By passing your cursor over the map you will see examples of real goods. Their location on the map shows what kind of good the are depending on their rivalry and exclusion.
These classifications have important public policy implications. Generally speaking:
Click here to access this Goods & Services Interactive InfoMap.
The Frontier Centre for Public Policy
is an independent public policy think tank whose mission is "to broaden the debate on our future through public policy research and education and to explore positive changes within our public institutions that support economic growth and opportunity."