In economics, a good or service is said to be excludable when it is possible to prevent people who have not paid for it from having access to it, and non-excludable when it is not possible to do so.



An architecturally pleasing building, such as Tower Bridge, creates an aesthetic non-excludable good, which can be enjoyed by anyone who happens to look at it. It is difficult to prevent people from gaining this benefit (although people have tried, by forbidding amateurs from taking photographs of certain sites [1]).

A lighthouse acts as a navigation aid to ships at sea in a manner that is non-excludable.

The ease and availability of file sharing technology has made many forms of information, especially music, movies, e-books, and computer software non-excludable. If the content producers want to make their works excludable, they have sometimes resorted to either "Copy protection" schemes, or lobbying for the kinds of laws they prefer, in order to prevent one owner of a copy, from being able (or, from being allowed) to share with others. On the other hand, some content producers—(the authors and editors of Wikipedia, for example)—welcome (and even hope for) widespread sharing. The Free Software Foundation and others have noted that "Copy protection" schemes can often create inconvenience for authorized users, while failing to prevent "unauthorized" sharing by others. Those who want to share copy protected information or files, sometimes use technological methods to bypass the copy protection, and/or ignore certain laws.

An excludable good could be a magazine; people who do not pay for the subscription are mostly excluded from obtaining a copy directly from the publisher. Another case in point is a pay television subscription.


See also

Excludable Non-excludable
Rivalrous Private goods
food, clothing, cars, personal electronics
Common goods (Common-pool resources)
fish stocks, timber, coal
Non-rivalrous Club goods
cinemas, private parks, satellite television
Public goods
free-to-air television, air, national defense

Further reading

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • excludability — ikˌsklüdəˈbiləd.ē, (ˌ)ek , ətē, i noun ( es) : the condition of being excludable : suitability for exclusion the excludability of certain income for purposes of tax computation …   Useful english dictionary

  • excludability — noun see excludable …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • excludability — See exclude. * * * …   Universalium

  • excludability — noun The ability to be excluded …   Wiktionary

  • excludability — ex·clud·abil·i·ty …   English syllables

  • excludable — excludability, n. /ik sklooh deuh beuhl/, adj. 1. capable of being excluded. n. 2. something that is excluded or exempted. 3. (in U.S. immigration statutes) an undesirable alien who is not legally eligible to enter the country: Excludables… …   Universalium

  • Public good — For the egalitarian terms, see Common good and Public interest. In economics, a public good is a good that is nonrival and non excludable. Non rivalry means that consumption of the good by one individual does not reduce availability of the good… …   Wikipedia

  • Market failure — is a concept within economic theory wherein the allocation of goods and services by a free market is not efficient. That is, there exists another conceivable outcome where a market participant may be made better off without making someone else… …   Wikipedia

  • Common good (economics) — For the philosophical term, see common good. For other uses, see Common Good (disambiguation). Common goods are defined in economics as goods which are rivalrous and non excludable. Thus, they constitute one of the four main types of the most… …   Wikipedia

  • excludable — or excludible adjective Date: 1916 subject to exclusion < excludable income > • excludability noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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