From local to global public goods: How should externalities be represented?
The nature of public goods has changed through time and so has the literature on public goods provision which has experienced a significant increase since Samuelson's (1954) paper. The common goal is to allow the description of a more general class of non-rival goods. The literature proposes several approaches to describe the externality created by the public good which to some extent determine the results of the model. In this note we try to show the hypotheses underlying the different functions used. We argue that the different approaches are suitable only if used in the right framework and this should be kept in mind when choosing the function in relation to the type of public good to be studied.
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