Multi-level governance and public goods
Title: Multi-level governance and public goods
Author: PETERSMANN, Ernst-Ulrich
Citation: Thomas COTTIER and Krista Nadakavukaren SCHEFER (eds), Elgar encyclopedia of international economic law, Northampton : Edward Elgar, 2017, pp. 571-574
ISBN: 9781784713546; 9781784713539
The term ‘governance’ refers to the multiple methods by which organized society directs, influences and coordinates public and private activities at local, national, regional and worldwide levels of decision-making in order to supply goods and services. Private goods tend to be produced and distributed spontaneously in private markets and communities in response to supply and demand by citizens and to their coordination by price mechanisms and other incentives. Private goods remain scarce in relation to consumer demand because private producers use their property rights for excluding consumers unless there is voluntary agreement on selling (or renting) private goods and services and transferring related property rights in exchange for payment of the agreed price. Public goods (PGs) are not provided in private, commercial markets and must be protected collectively because their consumption is open to all (‘non-excludable’) and/or does not reduce their availability to others (‘non-rival’). Apart from ‘intermediate PGs’ (like human rights, rule of law), non-excludable and non-rival ‘pure PGs’ (e.g. natural resources like sunshine, man-made goods like language) remain rare. Most PGs are ‘impure’ in the sense that their consumption is either non-rival but exclusive (e.g. ‘club goods’ like the World Trade Organization (WTO) legal system limited to WTO members) or non-exclusive but rival (e.g. common pool resources like fish in the High Seas).
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