What is a free rider?

Free rider is an English expression used in economía, and comes to refer to those consumers of indivisible goods or services, especially public and who benefit from them without paying contraprestación any. In Spanish, it is also called the “stowaway problem”. In other words, this problem arises as when a person (stowaway) tries to receive a benefit for using a good or service but avoids paying for it.

The government tries to address these free rider problems through tax rules and regulations. Above all, they want to avoid an impact on the environment and an excessive use of resources. That is why stowaways are also known as "parasitic consumers", because most of the time they consume goods and services financed by others and for which they did not pay anything. For example, when there are public goods such as parks, lighting, police, etc., stowaways take advantage of the fact that they cannot be excluded from consumption, and then refuse to pay for them. Something that is not fair at all, and creates a problem of provisión, since although many consumers value these services that are delivered, there will be those who use them but do not help in their finance, and ultimately it is not fair for everyone.

In fact, given the above situation, the great part of public goods are supplied by the government and financed by impuestos mandatory that all consumers have to pay.

Another example of these free riders occurs when sellers go out of their way to deliver valuable product information to customers. This effort comes at a cost, since it requires the hiring of qualified salespeople. If the customer is not interested in the information, he will go to another store and the order will offer him information without any effort, then they act as stowaways since they take advantage of the effort and the customers of others.

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