Merit goods are goods which will be under-provided by the market, therefore they will be under-consumed. They are thought by the governments to be good for the populations and so the governments want them to be consumed to a great extent. They increase the private and social benefits and cause the social benefit be higher than the private one. The best examples of them, apart from all the public goods, can be the education, health care, sports facilities and the opera.
Although the majority of the merit goods is provided by the private sectors, not all the people can afford buying them, therefore they will be under-consumed. That is why the government is needed to destroy the market failure increasing the supply and consequently raising the consumption.
To explain the reasons for government to provide the merit goods, I need to apply some examples of them. The first one can be the education. It is significant for the governments to provide it so that the society would be well-educated. Governments determine the period of education required for people (the compulsory education) to maintain the proper level of education of the society. The governments find education an important aspect that should be available for everyone as it cause the whole country to have better both economic growth and economic development.
Considering another example such as health care, the situation is quite similar. The governments want to provide the population with it because they care about the high states of health of society in their country. To gain these, the countries need to have high quality of health care. Governments often offer people unpaid programs consisting of preventative medical examination which contribute to maintain the high number of healthy people. This is also connected with the problems of the labour market. The healthier people are, the more efficient their work is, the greater revenue firms have and countries are more developed because of taxations.
Other examples like sport facilities or the opera are meant for people to become physically and culturally developed but their availability is not as important as in the case of the previous examples. That is why they are not as much provided by the governments as the rest of the merit goods.
Although most of the merit goods provided by the governments are free, the fact is that they are paid through the taxes that the societies pay. The number of the merit goods of particular types that the governments provide or subsidize depends on the necessity of them. If they are provided, the societies’ benefits get higher and so is the public treasury of the countries.