Are N95 masks essential goods covered by state price gouging laws?

Should state laws prohibiting price gouging on essential goods and services apply to individual consumer purchases of N95 masks? The New York state law prohibits unconscionably excessive prices for “consumer goods and services vital and necessary for the health, safety and welfare of consumers.” My question arises because the CDC does not recommend that the … More Are N95 masks essential goods covered by state price gouging laws?

Against anti-anti-anti-price gouging

First let’s unpack the “against anti-anti-anti-price gouging” title to get oriented: Price gouging – a common name for price increases of goods in demand due to an emergency Anti-price gouging – common attitudes toward price gouging sometimes made into laws Anti-anti-price gouging – standard economics defenses of price gouging and opposition to such laws Anti-anti-anti-price … More Against anti-anti-anti-price gouging

Texas price gouging law is backfiring

Halea Walker and I have an op-ed appearing in the Dallas Morning News explaining that Texas’s anti-price gouging law comes with some unintended consequences. What I most want to say about price gouging laws is, in effect, “if you mess with price discovery, you’re going to have a bad time.” Unfortunately, that claim does not … More Texas price gouging law is backfiring

Giberson makes his mark on Wall Street and other notes on price gouging commentary

I get a mention in the September 12, 2017, Deal Book column in the New York Times: “Price caps discourage extraordinary supply efforts that would help bring goods in high demand into the affected area,” Michael Giberson, an instructor with the Center for Energy Commerce in the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University, … More Giberson makes his mark on Wall Street and other notes on price gouging commentary

Worstall: Hurricane Harvey Is When We Need Price Gouging

Tim Worstall reminds us of the value of relying on prices to help get resources to where they are most useful: The economics of this is really terribly, terribly, simple. As a result of the disaster–of any disaster that is–some things are in short supply. Perhaps because some of the supply got damaged, or perhaps … More Worstall: Hurricane Harvey Is When We Need Price Gouging

DOT’s airline price gouging investigation and a political economy-based prediction

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it had launched an investigation into possible “unfair practices (e.g., price gouging) affecting air travel during the period of time that Amtrak service along the Northeast Corridor was delayed or suspended as a result of the May 12th derailment.” Five airlines received letters from the agency seeking … More DOT’s airline price gouging investigation and a political economy-based prediction

Price gouging in a second language

Research on differences between decisions made in a person’s native tongue and decisions made in a second language reminded me of an unexplored idea in the social dynamics surrounding price gouging. I’ve devoted a few posts to the question of whether or not price gouging laws get applied in a discriminatory fashion against “outsiders,” primarily … More Price gouging in a second language

Price gouging-moral insights from economics

Dwight Lee in the current issue of Regulation magazine offers “The Two Moralities of Outlawing Price Gouging.” In the article Lee endorsed economists’ traditional arguments against laws prohibiting price gouging, but argued efficiency claims aren’t persuasive to most people as they fail to address the moral issues raised surrounding treatment of victims of disasters. Lee wrote, “Economists’ best hope … More Price gouging-moral insights from economics

Discrimination in West Virginia price gouging case?

Are West Virginia “outsiders” more likely to be accused of price gouging? From the March 8, 2014, Charleston Gazette, “Morrisey accused of discrimination in price gouging response“: CHARLESTON, W.Va. –A Putnam County storeowner accused of price gouging bottled water during the water crisis says Attorney General Patrick Morrisey discriminated against him because he is Lebanese, … More Discrimination in West Virginia price gouging case?

Anti-price gouging laws can increase economic welfare

An article by Robert Fleck of Clemson, forthcoming in the International Review of Law and Economics, presented a theoretical case that price gouging restrictions can be value-enhancing under certain conditions. I was skeptical, but Fleck is careful in building his case. The key qualifier above is under certain conditions. In “Can Prohibitions on ‘Price Gouging’ … More Anti-price gouging laws can increase economic welfare