For those interested in social work as a career, or who want to find new ways to improve the well-being of the public, and are eager to learn new skills that can be used to benefit society, the courses in this collection offer a wide array of opportunities to learn theories and techniques that advance the public good across many fields and sectors.

The concept of public goods has a fascinating and complicated history, with many theorists over the years debating the relative merits and challenges that public goods present, particularly in market-based economies. On the pro side are the facts that public goods promote community health, support social inclusion, and foster sustainable development. On the other hand, freely available goods can subvert market structures that depend on producers being able to restrict access to their goods and services to paying customers only.

In this collection, you’ll find a wide selection of online courses (many of them are free!) that cover economic theories of public goods, offer insights into how public policies are created, and make clear how communities and societies can benefit from public goods in market-based economies.

For those interested in social work as a career, or who want to find new ways to improve the well-being of the public, and are eager to learn new skills that can be used to benefit society, the courses in this collection offer a wide array of opportunities to learn theories and techniques that advance the public good across many fields and sectors.

The concept of public goods has a fascinating and complicated history, with many theorists over the years debating the relative merits and challenges that public goods present, particularly in market-based economies. On the pro side are the facts that public goods promote community health, support social inclusion, and foster sustainable development. On the other hand, freely available goods can subvert market structures that depend on producers being able to restrict access to their goods and services to paying customers only.

In this collection, you’ll find a wide selection of online courses (many of them are free!) that cover economic theories of public goods, offer insights into how public policies are created, and make clear how communities and societies can benefit from public goods in market-based economies.

Online Courses about Public Goods

Learn how public goods shape modern societies.

What is public good?

From the standpoint of economics, in order for goods and services to be classified as public goods, they must be both non-rivalrous, and non-excludable.

Goods and services are considered rivalrous if consumption by one party serves to prevent consumption by another party. Goods and services are considered excludable if they are only accessible to paying parties. Public goods, then, are those goods and services that are available to all, where the supply does not decrease to one party through consumption by another party.

In his landmark 1954 paper, The Pure Theory of Public Expenditure, Paul Samuelson defined collective consumption of good and services as “[goods] which all enjoy in common in the sense that each individual's consumption of such a good leads to no subtractions from any other individual's consumption of that good.”

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