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Submitted by Shanta on

Helenka, I think there is some difference of definition here. A public good is a good that is both non-rival (my consuming it does not prevent you from consuming it--think of national defense) and non-excludable (I cannot restrict your entering and consuming it). None of the characteristics of girls education make it a public good in this definition. There is an externality associated with girls education, as we have been discussing. But that externality is independent of whether there is a government policy to provide free health care or not. I think what you have in mind is what economists call second-best effects. That is, when there is a distortion in another market (in this case the market for health care), then increasing girls' education may reduce the size of that distortion. That is certainly a possibility, but the question that needs to be asked is: if there is a distortion in the market for health care, why not fix it directly, rather than try to fix it indirectly?