This chapter examines societal demand for infrastructure resources. It aims to identify and evaluate infrastructural resources functionally from a systems perspective and to understand better how individuals who obtain access to infrastructure resources both realize and create social value. It identifies and examines three economic criteria common to traditional infrastructure, such as transportation systems and telecommunications networks; and nontraditional infrastructure, such as the atmosphere and basic research. It develops a typology of different infrastructure (commercial, public, social, and mixed infrastructure) based on the types of systems dependent on the infrastructural resource and the distribution of productive activities it facilitates. It also discusses how both the resource set delineated by the three criteria and the subsets delineated by the typology are dependent on demand, and how resources may evolve into or out of the set or subsets. Throughout, the chapter explains how different types of demand-side market failures arise when spillovers from public or social goods are prevalent.
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