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Types of goods in economics.

In macroeconomics and accounting, a good is contrasted with a service. In this sense, a good is defined as a physical (tangible) product, capable of being delivered to a purchaser and involves the transfer of ownership from seller to customer, say an apple, as opposed to an (intangible) service, say a haircut. A more general term that preserves the distinction between goods and services is 'commodities,' like a flashlight. In microeconomics, a 'good' is often used in this more inclusive sense of the word.


Utility characteristics of goods

A good is any object that increases the utility of the consumer/ product directely or indirectely. Goods are usually modeled as having diminishing marginal utility. Some things are useful, but not scarce enough to have monetary value, such as the Earth's atmosphere, these are referred to as 'free goods'.

In economics, a bad is the opposite of a good. Ultimately, whether an object is a good or a bad depends on each individual consumer and therefore, it is important to realize that not all goods are good all the time and not all goods are goods to all people.

Types of goods

Goods can be defined in a variety of ways, depending on a number a characteristics. These are listed in the box at the bottom of this article.

See also



  • Bannock, Graham et al. (1997). Dictionary of Economics, Penguin Books.
  • Milgate, Murray (1987), "goods and commodities," The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, v. 2, pp. 546–48. Includes historical and contemporary uses of the terms in economics.


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