Beni di cittadinanza e beni privati: una riflessione sui servizi pubblici ed il progetto europeo
In this paper I propose a definition of 'Citizenship goods'. Standard microeconomics distinguishes between purely private, purely public and mixed goods, based on the degree of non-rivalry and excludability. This is however a definition based on technical features of the goods that fails to capture the social conventions surrounding the establishment of a good. In general, a good is not well described by its physical characteristics alone , knowledge and social norms are needed to understand how it contributes to individual welfare. Under this view, what a good is is a matter of information on its potential social marginal utility. I suggest that deprivation of some goods is such that if somebody is excluded by their consumption, for example because of insufficient income,those deprived are considered as socially excluded. In a sense they do not enjoy full citizenship rights. The latter are variable over time and across countries. For example in many European they currently include access to some education levels, health care, some public services. In this context the paper discusses the public versus private provision of citizenship goods, and suggests that private provision is risky in terms of democratic legitimacy of the state
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