Monday, December 20, 2010

Economist's Notebook: The Free-Rider Problem

When economists talk about the problem of the provision of public goods they generally talk about the free-rider problem.  This is the private incentive to shirk contributions for such good in the belief that it will be provided anyway through the contribution of others.

This is a perfect example.


3 comments:

Cameron Mulder said...

What i always find funny is how the same people who tend to fight against things like this, are the same people who talk about "personal responsibility" and "paying your share".

BJCefola said...

Why not just close the bridge until all necessary funding is secured? Seems the quickest way to discover what the bridge is worth, not just to Clackamas but to everyone else on the hook for it. Not to mention prudent risk management...

jessibeaucoup said...

First, I have to note the bike rider in your picture. Both ends of the bridge have signs that clearly state that all bikes should be walked over the bridge. I regularly run on this bridge and those bikers who don't dismount and walk create a huge safety issue for themselves and pedestrians. But to your point...

Second, I am so frustrated by the people in Clackamas County who don't want to pay for this. I live in Clackamas County but I also use the bridge. I wonder how they'd change their tune if they or one of their loved ones were on the bridge when it finally plunges into the river. I heard the cost on the news just this morning - $5 on vehicle registration per year for 20 years. I'm sorry but that seems incredibly minor to me and well worth the convenience of a bridge between 205 and the Ross Island.

TANSTAFL - if you want services, public goods and infrastructure, you have to PAY for them.