Public bad

Public bad

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A public bad, in economics
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

, is the symmetric of a public good
Public good
In economics, a public good is a good that is non-rival and non-excludable. Non-rivalry means that consumption of the good by one individual does not reduce availability of the good for consumption by others; and non-excludability means that no one can be effectively excluded from using the good...

. Air pollution
Air pollution
Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or cause damage to the natural environment or built environment, into the atmosphere....

 is the most obvious example since it is non-excludable and non-rival, and negatively affects welfare.

Whereas public goods are typically under-provided by decentralized decision making (the market), public bad will generally be over-provided, since the parties generating the public bad do not account for the negative effects (or externality
Externality
In economics, an externality is a cost or benefit, not transmitted through prices, incurred by a party who did not agree to the action causing the cost or benefit...

) imposed on others. One possibility to mitigate the existence of public bad is the intervention of a third party, typically the state.

In "green economics", it is a good that produces socially undesirable results (or an externality in standard economics). Most "green economists" advise measuring such impacts back to the present from the seventh generation
Seven generation sustainability
Seven generation sustainability is an ecological concept that urges the current generation of humans to live sustainably and work for the benefit of the seventh generation into the future....

. Thus in the golf course example, both the recreation and the negative impacts from deforestation, associated habitat
Habitat (ecology)
A habitat is an ecological or environmental area that is inhabited by a particular species of animal, plant or other type of organism...

 and biodiversity
Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions...

 loss, and pesticide
Pesticide
Pesticides are substances or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.A pesticide may be a chemical unicycle, biological agent , antimicrobial, disinfectant or device used against any pest...

 toxicity would be estimated across those generations and some amortization
Amortization
Amortization is the process of decreasing, or accounting for, an amount over a period. The word comes from Middle English amortisen to kill, alienate in mortmain, from Anglo-French amorteser, alteration of amortir, from Vulgar Latin admortire to kill, from Latin ad- + mort-, mors death.When used...

 applied to determine whether the golf course was a public benefit or a public bad from the point of view of that seventh generation.

Green economists argue that the costs of public bads are hidden as externalities
Externality
In economics, an externality is a cost or benefit, not transmitted through prices, incurred by a party who did not agree to the action causing the cost or benefit...

 from the businesses that cause them — meaning the market is not working correctly. The legal challenge is to create a system that takes into account these costs. The United States Environmental Protection Agency
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

is an example of an attempt to make sure the costs of public bads are taken into account, although some groups on the right and left have criticized the value of its efforts.