Public goods

Public goods

Public Goods are goods and services that are beneficial to the public and are thus highly desired by society but not readily traded on the market. PGs focus primarily on aspects of management and governance, such as the type of provision and societal demand of goods, and are strongly related to the concept of Ecosystem Services. The focus of Ecosystem Services (e.g. water quality regulation, soil nutrient regulation, pollination, biological control) lies purely on the benefits for and dependence of humans on ecosystems.
Public Goods within agriculture and forestry are often acknowledged as ‘the simultaneous consideration of the various positive and negative effects of agriculture’. This means that especially within agriculture and forestry, it is particularly ecosystem services that inhere the characteristics of Public Goods and Services and reflect positive and negative effects of agricultural production processes.

Biodiversity and
Habitat

 

 

 

Soil Functionality and Climate Regulation

 

 

 

Water Availability, Quality and Retention

 

 

 

Landscape, Scenery and Recreation

 

 

 

Rural Vitality and Development

 

 

 

Over time, the notion of Public Goods has evolved from a strictly economic concept towards a term that includes broader societal categories such as rural vitality or social well-being (Novo et al., 2017). Within the neoclassical economic approach, Public Goods are described as goods that are highly desired by society but not readily traded on the market due to certain inherent characteristics of these goods such as non-excludability or non-rivalry (Dwyer et al., 2015). Non-rivalry means that the consumption of one person does not influence the consumption of another. Non-excludability means that provision of a good cannot be divided: when a good is provided to one person it is automatically available to others as well (Novo et al., 2017). Within the socio-political context, Public Goods are mainly described as goods and services with specific attributes and values that are beneficial to the public (Dwyer et al., 2015).
Public Goods within agriculture and forestry are often acknowledged as ‘the simultaneous consideration of the various positive and negative effects of agriculture’ (OECD, 2001). This means that especially within agriculture and forestry, it is particularly ecosystem services that inhere the above-mentioned characteristics of Public Goods and Services and reflect positive and negative effects of agricultural production processes. However, a main difference between Public Goods and Ecosystem Services is that Ecosystem Services add to our understanding of the relationships between natural and human elements of an ecosystem, while Public Goods focus on the type of provision of and the societal demand for these elements; they also address the question how effectively these elements combine within altering circumstances.

 

Literature:

Dwyer, J., Short, C., Berriet, Solliec, M., Gael, Lataste, F., Pham, H-V., Affleck, M., Courtney, P., and Déprès, C.(2015) Public Goods and Ecosystem Services from Agriculture and Forestry a conceptual approach. Deliverable WP1.1, PEGASUS, EU Horizon 2020

Paula Novo, Bill Slee, Anja Byg, Rachel Creaney and Michela Faccioli (2017) Conceptual paper on the ‘unpacked’ notion of public goods. Deliverable 2.2, PROVIDE, EU Horizon 2020