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9 Examples of an Economic Bad

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An economic bad is a result of business activity and consumption that is negative. This is the opposite of an economic good. Economic bads are often consequences of producing goods. Ideally, economic systems account for both economic goods and bads. The following are illustrative examples of an economic bad.


Pollution such as air pollution. For example, a factory that produces $1 million in goods per month and $7 million in damages to quality of life due to air pollution.

Loss of Resources

Loss of resources such as poorly managed agriculture that results in soil erosion.

Unhealthy Food

A food item that causes poor health and disease.


An economic process such as transport that results in noise pollution.


Risk such as a highly speculative investment product that constitutes a risk to the stability of a financial system.


Loss of privacy such as a company that loses confidential data about customers to a malicious entity.


Misinformation such as a promoter of an investment that spreads false rumors.

Destruction of Value

Incentives or systems that destroy value. For example, an executive who stands to make a great deal of money if a company is sold, even if the stock declines 90% before the sale occurs. An example of perverse incentives.

Quality of Life

Other impacts to quality of life such as loss of freedom, stress and fear. For example, a pollution emergency that restricts people's freedom of movement as it's dangerous to go outdoors.


Economic measurements such as GDP often don't account for economic bads. This can result in irrational decisions. For example, a war might boost GDP even if it results in a large debt, considerable loss of life, destruction of cities, pollution, shortages of necessities and a general state of unhappiness. This is an example of the broken window fallacy.
Overview: Economic Bad
A result of business activity and consumption that is negative.
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about goods.
Brown Goods
Business Goods
Capital Goods
Club Goods
Common Goods
Common Resources
Complementary Goods
Consumer Discretionary
Consumer Durables
Consumer Goods
Consumer Products
Consumer Staples
Digital Goods
Durable Goods
Economic Goods
Experience Goods
Fashion Goods
Final Goods
Finished Goods
Goods & Services
Inferior Good
Information Good
Intangible Goods
Intermediate Goods
Knowledge Product
Luxury Goods
Market Goods
Merit Good
Natural Resources
Necessity Goods
Perfect Substitute
Public Goods
Search Good
Social Goods
Soft Goods
Sporting Goods
Substitute Good
Superior Goods
Unsought Goods
Veblen Goods
Virtual Goods
White Goods
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