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Reconfiguring essential and discretionary public goods


Bieber, Friedemann; de Jongh, Maurits (2023). Reconfiguring essential and discretionary public goods. URPP Equality of Opportunity Discussion Paper Series 29, University of Zurich.

Abstract

When is state coercion for the provision of public goods justified? And how should the social surplus of public goods be distributed? Philosophers approach these questions by distinguishing between essential and discretionary public goods. This article explains the intractability of this distinction, and presents two upshots. First, if governments provide configurations of public goods that simultaneously serve essential and discretionary purposes, the scope for justifiable complaints by honest holdouts is narrower than commonly assumed. Second, however, claims to distributive fairness in the provision of public goods also turn out to be more complex to assess.

Abstract

When is state coercion for the provision of public goods justified? And how should the social surplus of public goods be distributed? Philosophers approach these questions by distinguishing between essential and discretionary public goods. This article explains the intractability of this distinction, and presents two upshots. First, if governments provide configurations of public goods that simultaneously serve essential and discretionary purposes, the scope for justifiable complaints by honest holdouts is narrower than commonly assumed. Second, however, claims to distributive fairness in the provision of public goods also turn out to be more complex to assess.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Working Paper Series > URPP Equality of Opportunity Discussion Paper Series
08 Research Priority Programs > Equality of Opportunity
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Public goods, essential vs. discretionary public goods, honest holdout, distributive justice, economic efficiency
Scope:Discipline-based scholarship (basic research)
Language:English
Date:September 2023
Deposited On:09 Feb 2024 09:04
Last Modified:06 Mar 2024 14:41
Series Name:URPP Equality of Opportunity Discussion Paper Series
Number of Pages:22
OA Status:Green
Official URL:https://www.urpp-equality.uzh.ch/dam/jcr:021f8791-3960-4d07-8ea1-7de1b5ec3c1a/29_reconfiguring-essential-and-discretionary-public-goods.pdf
Related URLs:https://www.urpp-equality.uzh.ch/en/Discussion-Paper-Series.html
https://www.zora.uzh.ch/id/eprint/236201/
https://doi.org/10.1017/S0266267123000329
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:24417
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English