Advantage of Liberal Republics 5

Liberal republics offer many advantages over other systems, including and beyond freedom.

They offer more amenities. Their elected officials feel more compelled by their citizens to provide more public goods, on average, than other governments.[1] Examples of public goods include universal education, preventative health care, safe drinking water, and non-tolled roads.[2]  Liberal republics also have less gender inequality.[3]

[1] A true public good is a product or service available to anyone and that can be consume without reducing its availability to others. Examples include national defense, the eradication of communicable diseases, and clean air. Knowledge is also often cited as an example, at least for those with access to books, media, or the internet.  Public goods tend to be under-produced because there is no way to fully recover the cost of production since there is no way to exclude people who consume the public good without paying for it.  For this reason, public goods are always produced by, or on behalf of, governments.  Conversely, public bads such as pollution tend to be over-produced because it is not possible to fully penalize firms for the damage they cause.

[2] Deacon, R. (2009). Public good provision under dictatorship and democracy. Public Choice, 139(1-2), 241-262.  Dictatorships usually need to please only a small fraction of the population with private rewards. That strategy is too expensive in democracies where all citizens expect some benefit. The solution is to provide public goods which reach all citizens.

[3] Holmberg and Rothstein (2014), page 24.

Excerpted from Democracy is Precious.

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