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Chapter 4-government-intervention-in-the-markets
 

Chapter 4-government-intervention-in-the-markets

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    Chapter 4-government-intervention-in-the-markets Chapter 4-government-intervention-in-the-markets Document Transcript

    • Written by: Edmund Quek CHAPTER 4 GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION IN THE MARKETS LECTURE OUTLINE 1 INTRODUCTION 2 TAX 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Definition of tax Effects of an indirect tax on the supply curve Effects of a specific tax on price and quantity Incidence of tax 3 SUBSIDY 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Definition of subsidy Effects of a subsidy on the supply curve Effects of a subsidy on price and quantity Incidence of subsidy 4 MAXIMUM PRICE (PRICE CEILING) 4.1 4.2 Definition of maximum price Use and effects of maximum price 5 MINIMUM PRICE (PRICE FLOOR) 5.1 5.2 Definition of minimum price Use and effects of minimum price 6 PROBLEMS OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS 6.1 6.2 Wide fluctuations in the price of agricultural products in the short run Falling price of agricultural products over time References John Sloman, Economics William A. McEachern, Economics Richard G. Lipsey and K. Alec Chrystal, Positive Economics G. F. Stanlake and Susan Grant, Introductory Economics Michael Parkin, Economics David Begg, Stanley Fischer and Rudiger Dornbusch, Economics © 2011 Economics Cafe All rights reserved. Page 1
    • Written by: Edmund Quek 1 INTRODUCTION In a perfectly competitive market, the equilibrium price and the equilibrium quantity are determined by the market forces of demand and supply. However, the equilibrium price and the equilibrium quantity may not be the optimal price and the optimal quantity. Therefore, there is a role for the government in the markets. This chapter gives an exposition of government intervention in the markets. 2 TAX 2.1 Definition of tax A tax is a levy imposed on goods and services, income or wealth by the government. Taxes are often classified into direct taxes and indirect taxes. Direct taxes are taxes imposed on income and wealth. Indirect taxes are taxes imposed on goods and services. There are two types of indirect tax: specific tax and ad valorem tax. A specific tax is an indirect tax of a certain amount per unit sold (e.g. excise tax - $7.50 per packet of cigarettes). An ad valorem tax is an indirect tax of a certain percentage of the price of the good (e.g. GST - 7% of the price of a good). 2.2 Effects of an indirect tax on the supply curve An indirect tax will lead to a rise in the cost of production which will induce firms to increase the price by the amount of the tax at each quantity to maintain profitability. Specific Tax © 2011 Economics Cafe All rights reserved. Page 2
    • Written by: Edmund Quek In the above diagram, a specific tax leads to a vertical upward shift in the supply curve (S) from S0 to S1 because the amount of the tax is the same at all quantities. Ad Valorem Tax In the above diagram, an ad valorem tax leads to a pivotal upward shift in the supply curve (S) from S0 to S1 because the amount of the tax increases as the price and hence the quantity increases, although the tax rate remains unchanged. 2.3 Effects of a specific tax on price and quantity Consider the demand and the supply schedules of whisky over a week and the effect of a specific tax of $3 per bottle. Price Quantity demanded 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 © 2011 Economics Cafe All rights reserved. Quantity supplied (before tax) 15 13 11 9 7 5 3 1 Quantity supplied (after tax) 9 7 5 3 1 ------- Page 3
    • Written by: Edmund Quek In the above diagram, the initial price and quantity are $9 and 9 bottles. Firms pay $3 to the government for each bottle sold and this induces them to increase the price by $3 at each quantity to maintain profitability. However, the new price is not $12 but $11 because at the price of $12, the quantity supplied exceeds the quantity demanded. The tax revenue of $21 ($3 × 7) collected by the government is represented by the shaded area. 2.4 Incidence of tax Firms do not usually bear the full burden of a tax. In other words, when the government imposes an indirect tax, in most cases, firms and consumers each pay a fraction of the tax. The incidence of the tax is the distribution of the burden of the tax between firms and consumers. Consumers pay the tax in the sense that the price rises and firms pay the tax in the sense that the rise in the price is less than the amount of the tax. In the previous example, the per-unit tax of $3 leads to a vertical upward shift in the old supply curve (S0) by the amount of the tax to the new supply curve (S1). The vertical distance between S0 and S1 is the per-unit tax of $3. Consumers pay a higher price of $11 and firms receive a lower price of $8 after paying the per-unit tax of $3 to the government. Therefore, consumers pay two-thirds [($11  $9)/$3] of the tax and firms pay one-third [($9  $8)/$3] of the tax. In this instance, consumers pay a larger fraction of the tax. In general, whether consumers or firms will pay a larger fraction of an indirect tax depends on the elasticities of demand and supply. The side of the market which is less sensitive to a change in price will pay a larger fraction of the tax. In other words, if demand is less elastic than supply, consumers will pay a larger fraction of the tax. Conversely, if supply is less elastic than demand, firms will pay a larger fraction of the tax. © 2011 Economics Cafe All rights reserved. Page 4
    • Written by: Edmund Quek Demand is less elastic than supply In the above diagram, the demand curve (D) is steeper than the supply curve (S) and hence consumers pay a larger share of the tax (t). The fraction of the tax paid by consumers, (P1  P0)/t, is greater than the fraction of the tax paid by firms, [P0  (P1  t)]/t. Supply is less elastic than demand In the above diagram, the supply curve (S) is steeper than the demand curve (D) and hence firms pay a larger fraction of the tax (t). The fraction of the tax paid by firms, [P0  (P1  t)]/t, is greater than the fraction of the tax paid by consumers, (P1  P0)/t. © 2011 Economics Cafe All rights reserved. Page 5
    • Written by: Edmund Quek 3 SUBSIDY 3.1 Definition of subsidy A subsidy is a payment made by the government to a firm not in exchange for any good or service. 3.2 Effects of a subsidy on the supply curve A subsidy will lead to a fall in the cost of production which will allow firms to decrease the price by the amount of the subsidy at each quantity. Therefore, the supply curve will shift downwards vertically by the amount of the subsidy. 3.3 Effects of a subsidy on price and quantity Consider the demand and the supply schedules for rice over a week and the effect of a specific subsidy of $3 per sack. Price Quantity demanded 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 © 2011 Economics Cafe All rights reserved. Quantity supplied (before subsidy) 15 13 11 9 7 5 3 1 Quantity supplied (after subsidy) ------15 13 11 9 7 Page 6
    • Written by: Edmund Quek In the above diagram, the initial price and quantity are $9 and 9 sacks. Firms receive $3 from the government for each sack of rice sold and this allows them to decrease the price by $3 at each quantity. However, the new price is not $6 but $7 because at the price of $6, the quantity demanded exceeds the quantity supplied. The government expenditure of $33 ($3 x 11) on the subsidy is represented by the shaded area. 3.4 Incidence of subsidy Firms do not usually enjoy the full benefit of a subsidy. In other words, when the government gives a subsidy, in most cases, firms and consumers each receive a fraction of the subsidy. The incidence of the subsidy is the distribution of the benefit of the subsidy between firms and consumers. Consumers receive the subsidy in the sense that the price falls and firms receive the subsidy in the sense that the fall in price is less than the amount of the subsidy. In the previous example, the per-unit subsidy of $3 leads to a vertical downward shift in the old supply curve (S0) by the amount of the subsidy to the new supply curve (S1). The vertical distance between S0 and S1 is the per-unit subsidy of $3. Consumers pay a lower price of $7 and firms receive a higher price of $10 after getting the per-unit subsidy of $3 from the government. Hence, consumers receive two-thirds [($9  $7)/$3] of the subsidy and firms receive one-third [($10  $9)/$3] of the subsidy. In this instance, consumers receive a larger fraction of the subsidy. In general, whether consumers or firms will receive a larger fraction of a subsidy depends on the elasticities of demand and supply. The side of the market which is less sensitive to a change in price will receive a larger fraction the subsidy. In other words, if demand is less elastic than supply, consumers will receive a larger fraction of the subsidy. Conversely, if supply is less elastic than demand, firms will receive a larger fraction of the subsidy. 4 MAXIMUM PRICE (PRICE CEILING) 4.1 Definition of maximum price A maximum price, or a price ceiling, is the highest price that firms are legally allowed to charge. 4.2 Use and effects of maximum price The government may set a maximum price on a good to prevent the price from rising above a certain level to ensure that the good is affordable to consumers. Therefore, a maximum price will only be effective or binding if it is set below the equilibrium price. A maximum price will lead to a shortage. © 2011 Economics Cafe All rights reserved. Page 7
    • Written by: Edmund Quek In the above diagram, before the maximum price regulation, the price is equal to the equilibrium price (P0). A maximum price (PMAX) leads to a fall in the price from P0 to PMAX. At PMAX, the quantity demanded (QD) is greater than the quantity supplied (QS). When a shortage occurs, a black market may emerge. In other words, the good may be illegally sold at prices above the price ceiling which will render the maximum price regulation unsuccessful. Further, in the absence of government intervention, some consumers will be forced to go without the good and this is undesirable if the good is a necessity. To overcome these problems, the government can draw on its buffer stock. However, if the shortage persists, the government will exhaust its buffer stock eventually. Therefore, the long-term measure to solve a persistent shortage problem is to either reduce demand or increase supply. Demand can be decreased by developing more substitutes. Supply can be increased by direct government production or by giving a subsidy to firms. 5 MINIMUM PRICE (PRICE FLOOR) 5.1 Definition of minimum price A minimum price, or a price floor, is the lowest price that firms are legally allowed to charge. 5.2 Use and effects of minimum price The government may set a minimum price on a good to prevent the price from falling below a certain level to protect producers’ income. Therefore, a minimum price will only be effective or binding if it is set above the equilibrium price. A minimum price will lead to a surplus. © 2011 Economics Cafe All rights reserved. Page 8
    • Written by: Edmund Quek In the above diagram, before the minimum price regulation, the price is equal to the equilibrium price (P0). A minimum price (PMIN) leads to a rise in the price from P0 to PMIN. At PMIN, the quantity supplied (QS) is greater than the quantity demanded (QD). When a surplus occurs, firms may illegally sell the good at prices below the price floor to reduce their stocks which will render the minimum price regulation unsuccessful. To overcome this problem, the government can buy the surplus and keep it as buffer stock. However, if the surplus persists, this will lead to an over-accumulation of the buffer stock. Therefore, the long-term measure to solve a persistent surplus problem is to either increase demand or reduce supply. Demand can be increased by finding alternative uses for the good or by reducing the demand for substitutes. Supply can be decreased by restricting producers to particular output quotas. 6 PROBLEMS OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS 6.1 Wide fluctuations in the price of agricultural products in the short run The price of agricultural products fluctuates widely in the short run due to wide fluctuations in the supply and the price inelastic nature of both the demand and the supply. The supply of agricultural products depends to a large extent on weather conditions. When weather conditions become more favourable, the supply of agricultural products will rise and vice versa. Therefore, wide fluctuations in weather conditions lead to wide fluctuations in the supply of agricultural products. The demand for agricultural products is price inelastic due to the high degree of necessity and lack of close substitutes. Further, since the growing time of agricultural products is long and farmers cannot keep stocks due to the perishable nature of the goods, the supply is price inelastic. © 2011 Economics Cafe All rights reserved. Page 9
    • Written by: Edmund Quek In the above diagram, an increase in the supply of agricultural products (S) from S 0 to S1 leads to a huge fall in the price (P) from P0 to P1 and a decrease in the supply (S) from S0 to S2 leads to a sharp rise in the price (P) from P0 to P2. Since the demand for agricultural products is price inelastic, a fall in the price will lead to a smaller percentage increase in the quantity demanded resulting in a fall in farmers’ income. The converse is also true. Due to the positive relationship between the price of agricultural products and farmers’ income, wide fluctuations in the price of agricultural products leads to wide fluctuations in farmers’ income. 6.2 Falling price of agricultural products over time The price of agricultural products has been falling over time due to the rapid increase in the supply relative to the demand. The continual increase in agricultural productivity due to improvements in farming methods and inputs has led to a continual increase in the supply of agricultural products over time. However, due to the low income elasticity of demand for agricultural products, the demand has not increased at the same rate. © 2011 Economics Cafe All rights reserved. Page 10
    • Written by: Edmund Quek In the above diagram, a large increase in the supply of agricultural products (S) from S0 to S1 and a small increase in the demand (D) from D0 to D1 lead to a fall in the price (P) from P0 to P1. Due to the positive relationship between the price of agricultural products and farmers’ income, the falling price of agricultural products leads to falling farmers’ income. © 2011 Economics Cafe All rights reserved. Page 11