Munich Personal RePEc Archive

A Refinement to the Typology of “Goods”

Howden, David (2016): A Refinement to the Typology of “Goods”. Published in: Journal of Prices & Markets No. 2 (2016): pp. 4-11.

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One of Carl Menger’s greatest contributions was to outline the nature of the problem under examination in economic science. Although it would take a further sixty years for Lionel Robbins to give a proper definition of the scope of economics as “the science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means that have alternative uses” (Robbins 1935: 16), it was Menger’s original groundwork in defining the characteristics that define an economic “good” that made possible these subsequent developments. The four-fold typology of goods provided here allows for one additional benefit. While it expands the scope of mutually exclusive goods, at the same time it must be apparent that the value of each is ultimately determined according to the standard market force of consumer preferences and values combined with the related concept of supply. When coupled with a novel method to look at the causal chain of how value is transmitted to various goods from its origin (at the value of consumers’ goods) one can gain insights into the scope of factors affecting the prices of goods beyond those apparent by way of the more standard consumers’ good/producers’ good dichotomy.

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