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?
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has been active fighting against price gouging during the pandemic emergency. Actually, she was on the case even before the governor issued a stay-at-home order on March 23, 2020. Three days prior to that AG Healey added anti-price gouging regulations to the state regulatory code under emergency powers. She has … More Consumer Complaints in Massachusetts Fell in the First Quarter of 2020
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
The new Alchian and Allen book Universal Economics is out. The publisher reports the authors have collaborated to produce a ”fresh, final presentation of the analytical tools” contained in their famous (among a certain kind of economics nerd) textbooks University Economics and Exchange and Production. In introducing the idea of opportunity cost in the new … More Alchian and Allen, Opportunity Cost, and the Kid in the Candy Store
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
Richard Rhodes has written an amazing book. He aspired to tell the tales of energy transitions over the past 400 years. His Energy: A Human History accomplishes that task. The book is daunting in size for non-required reading. It is filled with brief stories of this or that device or discovery or development, and almost overwhelming … More Richard Rhodes, “Energy: A Human History”
Maximilian Auffhammer explored the question, “How Local Should Your Energy Retailer Be?” at the Energy Institute at Haas blog. He said the issue had come up over lunch in the office. The distribution utility of the future is going to buy electrons in this reordered market (mostly renewables and some fossils) and sell them to its … More Should Your Electricity Distributor Also Be Your Electricity Retailer?
The Natural Resources committee of the U.S. House of Representatives recently held three hearings addressing oil and gas resources on federal lands and waters. On June 6 the committee considered several proposed drafts revising various aspects of the onshore oil and gas leasing and permitting processes. The second hearing, on June 14, concerned the proposed … More The Politicized World of Public Lands As Revealed in Hearings of the U.s. House Committee on Natural Resources
An article on federal oil and gas auctions by Natasha Geiling at ThinkProgress caught my eye. The ThinkProgress story mostly is concerned that quasi-anonymous companies can secure oil and gas leasing rights on federal land, and anonymity might make it harder to enforce regulatory protections and lead to environmental problems. The object of her concern is … More Is an Anonymous Energy Company Actually a Front for a Conservation Group? I Hope So!
Barry Smitherman has an op-ed in the Dallas Morning News, “How Texas used a free market to reduce electricity prices and pollution.” Smitherman is former chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission and before that of the Texas Public Utilities Commission. He highlights price reductions available to consumers as compared to prices immediately before the retail … More Barry Smitherman: How Texas Used a Free Market to Reduce Electricity Prices and Pollution