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The legal right and practical ability to prevent others from using a good. If a good is to be a private good it must be possible for its owner to exclude others from using it at reasonable cost. Exclusion is linked to the economic efficiency of competitive equilibrium. A public good has the property of non-excludability and, unless the conditions of the Tiebout hypothesis are satisfied, will not be supplied efficiendy without some form of government intervention.

Reference: Oxford Press Dictonary of Economics, 5th edt.