ERIC Number: ED254433
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Education Is Not a Public Good.
The purpose of this essay is to show that education is not a public good, and that in contrast to a public good such as national defense, education can be provided through competitive suppliers in the private sector as well as through government enterprise. A public good differs from a private good in the nature of consumption. A public good possesses the characteristics of (1) simultaneous consumption, i.e., the benefits of the good flow simultaneously to many but not necessarily to all, and (2) nonexclusion, i.e., a supplier cannot exclude consumers from benefits once the good is provided. The public good situation requires governmental involvement. Examples of a public good include flood control and national defense. Education is not a public good because it does not necessarily involve government, and while education has an element of simultaneous consumption, it does not contain the characteristic of nonexclusion. Thus, education is a private good. Families can make different educational choices in the marketplace, and the United States has an educational system that offers households many alternative suppliers in a competitive market. Expanded private sector education is one way to solve many of the current educational problems in the United States. (RM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Private Sector; Public Sector
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southwestern Economics Association (Fort Worth, TX, March 24, 1984).