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I'm trying to organize my thinking about differences among types of normal goods, and I'm sure that someone smarter than me has already done the necessary work.

Here's one sort of distinction that I have in mind:

A is willing to spend more money for a better graphics card because it improves his experience watching movies. He is not spending more money to gain any sort of competitive advantage over other users, and his streaming services never change the demands that they place on users' computers.

B is willing to spend more money for a better graphics card because it improves his experience watching movies. He is not spending more money to gain any sort of competitive advantage over other users, but, because other users' purchases affect what sort of demands streaming services place on users' computers, he's in something of an arms race.

C is willing to spend more money for a better graphics card because it confers a competitive advantage playing MMOs. He cares only about the performance of his gaming rig relative to other gaming rigs; he is otherwise indifferent to performance.

Imagine that people like A constitute the entire market for graphics cards. Separately, imagine that people like B constitute the entire market for graphics cards. Imagine that people like C constitute the entire market for graphics cards. Would graphics cards be different sorts of goods in these three scenarios?

A related question: Are there other sorts of goods than these:

  • club

  • common-pool

  • complementary

  • durable

  • excludable

  • free

  • Giffen

  • inferior

  • intangible

  • luxury

  • normal

  • nondurable

  • nonexcludable

  • nonrivalrous

  • public

  • private

  • rivalrous

  • substitute

  • superior

  • tangible

  • Veblen

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    $\begingroup$ 1. These two questions are only weakly related, so if you wish to ask both, you should do so separately. 2. I would just skip/delete the second question though; such a superlist is not useful, because several of these properties have nothing to do with each other. As Alecos points out, it is likely you can always add more adjectives that are used somewhere in economics, e.g., "neutral", "bad", "good", "is a negative externality for others", "contingent", "semi-durable", "tradeable", "indivisible", etc.... $\endgroup$
    – Giskard
    Aug 31 '20 at 6:53
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Would graphics cards be different sorts of goods in these three scenarios?

No. What we have is different sorts of consumers, with different utility functions. The good is the same, it is the demand function that changes.

In a dynamic setting of course, the preferences of consumers (and which are the predominant ones in terms of demand share) will possibly drive how graphics cards evolve as products.

As for the second question, I am pretty sure that somewhere in the vast and centuries old economics literature someone has defined yet one more subcategory of a good.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks, Alecos. Isn't it the case, though, that the utility functions of consumers sometimes define the sort of good? For instance, a Giffen good is a Giffen good only because of consumers' utility functions. Likewise for luxury goods, inferior goods, substitute goods, etc. There's every chance that I've missed something in your answer, of course. $\endgroup$ Aug 31 '20 at 2:52
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelSchwartz No you didn't miss something. But whether a good is Giffen, inferior, normal, luxury, is determined by the sign and the magnitude of the income elasticity of demand for that good, and the value/sign of this elasticity is a complicated combination of preferences for all goods in the utility function, of all prices of these goods, plus the income level per se. So, the situations you describe are so incomplete as regards the information we would need, that they cannot characterize the good itself. $\endgroup$ Aug 31 '20 at 11:25
  • $\begingroup$ If these examples were all different goods, would they be different sorts of goods? $\endgroup$
    – user253751
    Sep 2 '20 at 19:01

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