“Public goods”: An exercise in calibration
This paper considers a measure of the “publicness” of goods and services implicit in responses that individuals make when asked about public sector spending. At the limit, all consumers consume equal amounts of a public good. Thus any differences between an individual's self-interest preferences and public-interest preferences cannot be based on differential provision, but only on differences in the individual's public- and self-interest utility functions. If we rule out the latter, self-interest and public-interest preferences for a pure public good are identical. Using sample survey data it is possible to calibrate the public good content of different public goods. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005
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