AskDefine | Define external

Dictionary Definition

external adj
1 happening or arising or located outside or beyond some limits or especially surface; "the external auditory canal"; "external pressures" [ant: internal]
2 coming from the outside; "extraneous light in the camera spoiled the photograph"; "relying upon an extraneous income"; "disdaining outside pressure groups" [syn: extraneous, outside]
3 from or between other countries; "external commerce"; "international trade"; "developing nations need outside help" [syn: international, outside(a)]
4 purely outward or superficial; "external composure"; "an external concern for reputation"- A.R.Gurney,Jr. n : outward features; "he enjoyed the solemn externals of religion"

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. outside of something



Extensive Definition

In economics, an externality is an impact (positive or negative) on any party not involved in a given economic transaction.
An externality occurs when a decision causes costs or benefits to third party stakeholders, often, although not necessarily, from the use of a public good. In other words, the participants in an economic transaction do not necessarily bear all of the costs or reap all of the benefits of the transaction. For example, manufacturing that causes air pollution imposes costs on others when making use of public air. In a competitive market, this means too much or too little of the good may be produced and consumed in terms of overall cost or benefit to society, depending on incentives at the margin and strategic behavior.
In the absence of significant externalities, parties to an economic transaction are assumed to benefit, improving the overall welfare of society. If third parties benefit substantially, such as in areas of education or safety, the good may be under-provided (or under-consumed); if costs to the public exceed costs to the economic decision makers, such as in pollution, the good may be over-provided, in terms of overall benefit or cost to society. Here, overall benefit and cost to society are defined as the collective economic utility for society.


  • Definition
  • Baumol, W.J. (1972), ‘On Taxation and the Control of Externalities’, American Economic Review, 62(3), 307-322.
external in Catalan: Externalitat
external in Czech: Externalita
external in Danish: Eksternaliteter
external in German: Externer Effekt
external in Spanish: Externalidad
external in Esperanto: Ekstera efiko
external in French: Externalité
external in Italian: Esternalità
external in Hebrew: השפעה חיצונית
external in Lithuanian: Eksternalitetas
external in Dutch: Externaliteit
external in Japanese: 外部性
external in Norwegian: Eksternaliteter
external in Polish: Efekty zewnętrzne
external in Portuguese: Externalidade
external in Russian: Экстерналия
external in Slovak: Externalita
external in Finnish: Ulkoisvaikutus
external in Swedish: Extern effekt
external in Vietnamese: Ảnh hưởng ngoại lai
external in Chinese: 外部性

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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