Ben is in DC working as a congressional intern and Leslie takes the opportunity to head to Washington, D.C. to ask for federal funding the clean up the Pawnee River, which is a bit of a “fixer-upper.” This rent seeking behavior is common when entities are seeking federal funding for items that will only benefit their areas.
The Parks Department of Pawnee invites delegates from their sister city in Baraguá, Venezuela to attend a local townhall meeting. This particular townhall meeting includes complaints about various externalities associated with parks including frisbees and dog feces. The Baraguá delegate describes the command and control approach used by his country when citizens impose externalities on others.
Andy goes to the hospital for a broken nose, but it turns into a rant session for Ben. It turns out the roommate situation between Ben, April, and Andy hasn’t been ideal because Andy and April continue to use his things without his permission. Andy and Ben negotiate for ways to remedy the externality on their own. If property rights are well established (Ben does own his stuff!) then two parties can work out externalities without government intervention.
See more: bargaining, Coase Theorem, common resources, externalities, negative externalities, private costs, private goods, public goods, social benefits, social costs, transaction costs, types of goods
The citizens of Pawnee drink from a water fountain by placing their whole mouth on the nozzle. Ann correctly points out the externality in the situation that by kissing one water fountain drinker, you’re kissing them all.
The city is finally removing an old payphone and has decided to complete Indiana’s tiniest park. Leslie believes this investment will attract 5000 visitors to the city who would want to see the “Smallest Park in Indiana.”’
Leslie and Ben are holding a town forum for Indiana’s Smallest Park, but a town citizen brings up that she’s concerned about whether basketball will be played at this park because it brings undesirables to the park. Leslie then demonstrates all the possible problems that could come from this park, including grilling and fireworks.
Ann runs into Donna at a single’s event but is quickly sent away because she represents competition in “the jungle.” Dating markets work best whenever they are “thick,” but if there aren’t many available mates then it can be hard to match up.
Pawnee is going through a bit of a budget crises and they have decided to cut the Parks Department budget so that no parks will be open over the summer break. This also means that a previously-planned concert needed to be canceled as well. The citizens of Pawnee want to know what services the government will provide if they are shut down. Ron relishes in the fact that the services aren’t provided.
A soccer field is double-booked by the Parks Department and Leslie has to work out a solution for who gets the field. Because the field is rivalrous, both can’t use the field at the same time. One team’s use implies that the other cannot use the field.
Ron believes that the government should be operated by private enterprise (like Chuck E. Cheese) that uses a token system to participate, like taking a walk, going down a slide, or seeing a duck. This would take a previously nonexclusive good and turn it into one that must be purchased to be consumed.