Pricecontrol
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  • August 27, 2010

Pricecontrol Pricecontrol Presentation Transcript

  • ECONOMICS: Price Controls
  • Price controls
    • Price controls are legal restrictions on how high or low a market price may go.
    • 2 kinds of price controls:
    • Price Ceilings : a maximum price sellers are allowed to charge for a good. It’s an upper limit for the price.
    • Price Floors : a minimum price buyers are required to pay for a good.It’s a lower limit for the price.
  • Price controls
    • Why Price controls?
    • During crisis times, emergencies or wars the government wants to protect the consumers from rapidly increasing prices.
    • If the equilibrium wage given by supply and demand for low skilled workers is below poverty level, the government can set a minimum wage for such category.
  • Price controls: price ceilings
    • Equilibrium
    • Price ceiling
    D Quantity Price 3 2 200 4 S 100 D Quantity Price 3 2 200 800 4 S 100 Shortage Price Ceiling
  • Price controls: price ceilings Another example
  • Price controls: price ceilings
    • After these 2 examples, we can see that in every case, when there is a price ceiling, there is a shortage.
    • The shortage will lead to inefficiencies :
    • A market or an economy is inefficient if there are missed opportunities: some people could be made better off without making other people worse off.
  • Price controls: price ceilings
    • Let’s take a look at the different possible inefficiencies:
    • Inefficient Allocation to Consumers
    • Wasted Resources
    • Inefficiently Low Quality
    • Black Markets
  • Price controls: price ceilings
    • Inefficient Allocation to Consumers
    • Price ceilings often lead to inefficiency in the form of inefficient allocation to consumers : people who really want the good and are willing to pay a high price don’t get it, and those who are not so interested in the good and are only willing to pay a low price do get it.
    • An efficient allocation would take into account such differencies, who really want the good will get it, who doesn’t need it so urgently will not.
    • Example : rent control. In such case people get the appartment usually through luck or personal connections.
  • Price controls: price ceilings
    • Wasted Resources
    • Price ceilings typically lead to inefficiency in the form of wasted resources : people spend money, time and expend effort in order to deal with the shortages caused by the price ceiling.
    • You waste a lot of time looking for a good (e.g. an appartment) in case of shortage, the time has it’s value! You can work or just rest, do something better than look for a good you’ can’t find.
    • If the market works efficiently, you can find quickly the goods you are looking for.
  • Price controls: price ceilings
    • Inefficiently Low Quality
    • Price ceilings often lead to inefficiency in that the goods being offered are of inefficiently low quality : sellers offer low-quality goods at a low price even though buyers would prefer a higher quality at a higher price.
    • In case of rent controls, the landlords will not improve the conditions of the appartments, there is no incentive since the rental fee is low but the main reason is that since there is a shortage, people are willing to rent the flat as it is, even in bad condition!
  • Price controls: price ceilings
    • Black Markets
    • A black market is a market in which goods or services are bought and sold illegally—either because it is illegal to sell them at all or because the prices charged are legally prohibited by a price ceiling.
    • If someone for example bribes (gives extra money) to the flat owners he will get the flat, but the honest people that don’t break the law will never find one this way!
  • Price controls: price ceilings
    • So many inefficiencies! But why are there price ceilings then?
    • They may benefit some people: someone can get the good cheaper. They benefit influential buyers.
    • When price ceilings have existed for long time (like in New York), people don’t know what will happen without them. Black market prices may be an indication, but such prices are usually higher than the price we would have with a fully free market.
    • Government officials don’t really understand supply and demand!
  • Price controls: price floors
    • Price Floors : a minimum price buyers are required to pay for a good.
    • The minimum wage is a legal floor on the wage rate, which is the market price of labor.
  • Price controls: price floors
    • Equilibrium
    • Price floor
    D Quantity of icecreams Price 3 2 200 4 S 100 D Quantity of icecreams Price 3 2 200 600 4 S 100 Surplus Price Ceiling
  • Price controls: price floors
    • Why a Price Floor Causes Inefficiency
    • Inefficient Allocation of Sales Among Sellers
    • Price floors lead to inefficient allocation of sales among sellers : those who would be willing to sell the good at the lowest price are not always those who actually manage to sell it.
    • Wasted Resources
    • Like a price ceiling, a price floor generates inefficiency by wasting resources .
  • Price controls: price floors
    • So Why Are There Price Floors?
    • The reasons are similar to those for the price ceilings.
    • Price floors may benefit some influential sellers.
    • Governments don’t understand the supply and demand model, or they think that it doesn’t describe reality well.