Goods and services

A good is a tangible item that consumers desire or own.[1] A service is not a tangible or physical entity but is still sought after by consumers. Often, a service can also be performed at a distance.[2] Together the term goods and services refers to what consumers are consuming and spending money on.

Goods and services often work together. For example, a consumer who purchases a book online also pays for the delivery of the book. In this case, the book is the good and the delivery of the book is the service.


  • Normal Good- With normal goods, as the income of an individual increase, the demand and consumption of a normal good increases. Luxury goods, such as sports cars, act as an example of a normal good. A person who has a mid-level vehicle might buy a sports car when their income increases.[3]
  • Inferior Good- As the income of a person rises, the demand for and consumption of an inferior good falls.[4] As the income of a household rises the family might begin to eat more meat and more expensive food items which decreases the demand for pre-packaged food. In this case the pre-packaged food is an inferior good.


  • Private Service- A private service is one that a consumer pays for as needed and is provided by a firm or another person. For example, once a consumer purchases a cell phone, they pay for the continued service of using the telecom network of their provider.[5]
  • Public Services- This is a service provided by a government to ensure a certain quantity of the service can be provided at a low cost to everyone. Usually the cost of a public service is funded through taxes. For example, emergency services such as the police, fire department and emergency healthcare are provided by the government (in Canada). This ensures that every person has the opportunity to access theses services. In contrast, not everyone can access the service of a private jet flight.[6]

See Also

Excludable Non-Excludable
Rival Private good Common resource
Non-Rival Club good Public good


  1. J.Black, N. Hashimzade, and G. Myles. (2009) "Goods." [Online], Available:, 2009 [Aug 30, 2016]
  2. J.Black, N. Hashimzade, and G. Myles. (2009) "Services." [Online], Available:, 2009 [Aug 30, 2016]
  3. J.Black, N. Hashimzade, and G. Myles. (2009) "Normal Good." [Online], Available:, 2009 [Aug 30, 2016]
  4. A. Goolsbee, S. Levitt and C. Syverson. Microeconomics. New York: Worth Publishers, 2013, pp. 168.
  5. M. Parkin and R. Bade. Economics: Canada in the Global Environment. Toronto: Pearson, 2013, pp. 3.
  6. A. Goolsbee, S. Levitt and C. Syverson. Microeconomics. pp. 86.

Authors and Editors

Lyndon G., Kier Oxnard, Jason Donev
Last updated: July 21, 2018
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