In a community with shared resources, such as a town, there are some people who use what they pay for and others who overuse resources. Others pay nothing and still use resources. Those who use more than they’ve paid for are called free riders.
The free rider problem is an essential dilemma in which those who contribute the least or nothing to the management, generation, or upkeep of a public resource are also most likely to overuse this same resource, thereby becoming free riders. This issue is common in many situations and it often falls to the managers of the public resource to figure out how to keep the resource public while also minimizing this effect as much as possible.
Shared resources include upkeep of roads, sidewalks, community centers, police services, etc. Especially when donations are involved, people will give to organizations that manage these entities. Others will give little or nothing and overly use the resource. This overuse can make the resource economically infeasible, creating a burden on the community in the form of higher fees.
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