should education be regarded as a public good or merit good

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Education can be defined as experiences that range from formal learning to the building of understanding and knowledge through day to day experiences. Many scolars have designated education as a lifelong process. Each one of us have different sources of informal education such as family members, peers, books and mass media etc.


It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace." (art.26 - Universal Declaration of Human Rights) This is a research paper to find out if education falls under public good or merit good. For this purpose it is important to define public good or merit good.
A public good in economics can be defined as a good that is non-rival which means consumption of the good by one individual does not reduce the amount of the good available for consumption by others (Varian, 1992). The term public good is often used to refer to goods that are non-excludable which means that it is not possible to exclude individuals from the good's consumption. If we take an example of a sweet, if it is consumed by a person it is not available for another person. Where as fresh air and clean drinking water may be considered a public good as it is not generally possible to prevent people from breathing and drinking it (Wikipedia, 2007a). There are very few absolutely public goods, but common examples include law, parks, street-lighting, defence, traffic light, etc.
The theory of public goods was first developed by the economist Paul A. Samuelson. ...
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