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Pure Public Goods versus Commons: Benefit-Cost Duality

  • Todd Sandler
  • Daniel G. Arce M.

This paper utilizes benefit-cost duality to differentiate the problems associated with a pure public good from the problems associated with a commons. For the public good scenario, contributors’ benefits are public or available to all, while provision costs impact only the contributor. In a commons, crowding costs are public, while benefits affect only the user. Although both problems possess the same game form for their canonical representations, collective-action implications differ: for example, the relative positions of the Nash equilibrium and Pareto optimum, the form of the exploitation hypothesis, and the need for selective incentives or punishments.

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File URL: http://le.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/79/3/355
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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Land Economics.

Volume (Year): 79 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 355-368

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:79:y:2003:i:3:p:355-368
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://le.uwpress.org/

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  1. Cornes, Richard & Hartley, Roger & Sandler, Todd, 1999. "Equilibrium Existence and Uniqueness in Public Good Models: An Elementary Proof Via Contraction," Staff General Research Papers 1630, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  2. Jack Hirshleifer, 1983. "From weakest-link to best-shot: The voluntary provision of public goods," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 371-386, January.
  3. Andreoni, James & McGuire, Martin C., 1993. "Identifying the free riders : A simple algorithm for determining who will contribute to a public good," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 447-454, July.
  4. Haveman, Robert H, 1973. "Common Property, Congestion, and Environmental Pollution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 278-87, May.
  5. Keith Hartley & Todd Sandler, 2001. "Economics of Alliances: The Lessons for Collective Action," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(3), pages 869-896, September.
  6. Vicary, Simon & Sandler, Todd, 2002. "Weakest-link public goods: Giving in-kind or transferring money," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1501-1520, September.
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