Vaccines as a Positive Externality

A science-based example of a positive externality is vaccinations. Vaccinations work based on the number of people in the population who are vaccinated. Once a certain threshold is reached, the disease can't spread effectively and is essentially eliminated. As long as enough people are vaccinated, others who choose not to be still get to enjoy that positive externality at no cost. These are what economists call freeloaders. Economists like the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. They don't like externalities because they represent inefficiencies in the marketplace that skew the real value of transactions and so are implicitly unfair. By reducing choice, they reduce freedom. Those who suffer by exposure to external costs do so involuntarily. while those who enjoy external benefits do so at no cost. Friedman thought that overcoming neighborhood effects "widely regarded as sufficiently important to justify government intervention" was one of the key roles of government.^


People who don't get vaccines benefit from those who do because of the lower rates of disease.

Folksonomies: economics public health externalities vaccines

/health and fitness/disease (0.553283)
/law, govt and politics/government (0.500645)
/health and fitness/disease/cold and flu (0.499656)

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Friedman:Person (0.785327 (negative:-0.558678))

Externality (0.983131): dbpedia | freebase

 Fool Me Twice
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Otto , Shawn Lawrence (2011-10-11), Fool Me Twice, Rodale Press, Retrieved on 2013-01-08
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