Government Intervention

According to Hardin (1968), humans are selfish, and act out of their own self-interest. As such, governmental intervention is the most effective way to solve the tragedy of the commons. By making non-cooperation costly and cooperation beneficial, laws such as incentives and taxes can encourage prosocial behaviours and also inhibit negative behaviours. An example of government intervention would be the implementation of quotas or tax schemes on usage of the public good to ensure that the good is being used at a socially beneficial level.

As the ones in charge of looking at the big picture and running the country, a government is well placed to analyse data patterns and decide what is best for the common interest and implement laws and policies to ensure effective resolution. In addition, the financial capability of the government allows for large scale campaigns, infrastructure changes and incentives to encourage environmentally friendly behaviors among the public.

However, governments must have a clear and accurate understanding of the economic markets in which these public goods are a part of in order to accurately predict the socially optimum level of use.