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?

Consumer Complaints in Massachusetts fell in the first quarter of 2020

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

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

Alchian and Allen, opportunity cost, and the kid in the candy store

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

Richard Rhodes, “Energy: A Human History”

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”

Should your electricity distributor also be your electricity retailer?

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?