Public good refers to a product or service that is made accessible to all individuals, and there is no restriction to accessing them. Naturally, these services are controlled by governments and paid for jointly through taxation. Examples of public goods include law execution, national security, and the rule of law. The government cannot make consumers pay individually for a good or service and, at the same time, exclude those who are non-payers. Many consumers can use the product without deterring its benefits to a single customer.
The provision and access to public goods make the lives of citizens better in a certain way. Public goods cannot be provided in the market commodities like dams and roads. The market cannot produce and sell public goods and services such as healthcare and waste removal. These are services that only the government can produce, and the provision can only be to all citizens regardless of who pays or not. These amenities are systematized by the government to reach the whole society or community.
The private sector encounters many challenges in trying to offer and supply public goods and services. If it is impossible to exclude the accessibility of a national facility like national security, it becomes costly. If the public decides to buy public goods, there arises a challenge of free riding in which the more prominent public does not pay for the same but depends on those who have paid for it and enjoy the benefits equally. The government only ensures that the public at large pays equally for these goods and services without free-riding through a collection of taxes.
Public goods and services are only provided by the government and catered for using taxes. Markets cannot provide public goods and services since the use of those goods cannot be restricted to some individuals. If the private sector tries to provide these goods, they incur high costs rendering it impossible because of the irresistible free-riding. It is clear that a public good has two key characteristics: it is not competitive and cannot be excluded from a certain group.