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?

Court Says No to Ferc’s Negawatt Payment Rule

Jeremy Jacobs and Hannah Northey at Greenwire report “Appeals court throws out FERC’s demand-response order“: A federal appeals court today threw out a high-profile Federal Energy Regulatory Commission order that provided incentives for electricity users to consume less power, a practice dubbed demand response. In a divided ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the … More Court Says No to Ferc’s Negawatt Payment Rule

New York Attorney General Grapples to Regulate New Web-based Businesses in Old Ways

The New York Attorney General (AG) had an op-ed in the New York Times presenting a curious mix of resistance to change, insistence on regulating new things in old way, acknowledgement that web-based businesses create some value and regulators can’t always enforce rules intelligently, and sprinkled now and again with the barely disguised threat that regulators will not … More New York Attorney General Grapples to Regulate New Web-based Businesses in Old Ways

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

Icle Letter to Gov. Christie Opposing Direct Vehicle Distribution Ban: Over 70 Economists and Law Professors

Geoff Manne of the International Center for Law and Economics has spearheaded a detailed, thorough, analytical letter to New Jersey Governor Christie examining the state’s ban on direct vehicle distribution and why it is bad for consumers. Geoff summarizes the argument in a post today at Truth on the Market: Earlier this month New Jersey … More Icle Letter to Gov. Christie Opposing Direct Vehicle Distribution Ban: Over 70 Economists and Law Professors

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

Public Choice Theory: Skwire’s First Law

Some time last spring, my friend and occasional KP contributor Sarah Skwire formulated on Facebook what’s now dubbed “Skwire’s First Law”, and we’ve been using it, kicking its tires, and discussing it all summer. In a timely manner (given what we’ve learned this summer about widespread, unwarranted government surveillance and the impending likelihood that yet … More Public Choice Theory: Skwire’s First Law

Raisin’ a Complaint Against Usda Marketing Orders

Can raisin growers pack and sell all of the raisins they grow? Yes, but only if the USDA permits it. Sometimes the USDA claims the right to take raisins off the market in the effort to keep the price to consumers higher. If a raisin grower doesn’t comply with the USDA’s demands, then the government’s … More Raisin’ a Complaint Against Usda Marketing Orders

Tacit Privilege and Social Order

Nathan Goodman, at the Liberty Minded blog, pulls the Hayekian knowledge problem out of the pricing field and applies it in the field of social relations. Well, technically speaking, Goodman employs just the tacit knowledge elements of Hayek’s “The Use of Knowledge in Society” article, but he uses it to make a good point: some … More Tacit Privilege and Social Order