You should probably raise prices a bit during emergencies

At the Master Resource blog today: “In Defense of Price ‘Gouging’ (lines and shortages are uneconomic, discriminatory).” In the essay I emphasize the unintended bias that results when consumer demand surges and supplies are tight, as for example when winter storm forecasts lead consumers to rush to the grocery store for bread and milk. Because … More You should probably raise prices a bit during emergencies

When does state utility regulation distort costs?

I suspect the simplest answer to the title question is “always.” Maybe the answer depends on your definition of “distort,” but both the intended and generally expected consequences of state utility rate regulation has always been to push costs to be something other than what would naturally emerge in the absence of rate regulation. More … More When does state utility regulation distort costs?

The spin on wind, or, an example of bullshit in the field of energy policy

The Wall Street Journal recently opined against President Obama’s nominee for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman, Norman Bay, and in the process took a modest swipe at subsidies for wind energy. The context here is Bay’s action while leading FERC’s enforcement division, and in particular his prosecution of electric power market participants who manage to run afoul … More The spin on wind, or, an example of bullshit in the field of energy policy

A relatively thoughful view of libertarianism from a progressive-liberal perspective

Salon has published a lot of nonsense on libertarianism (e.g., anything by Michael Lind on the topic). So it was surprising, yesterday, to find that Kim Messick’s Salon essay on libertarianism was relatively thoughtful. No perfect, by any means, just better than most progressive-liberal attempts at criticizing libertarianism. The author at least gets basic points right and would surely score higher than … More A relatively thoughful view of libertarianism from a progressive-liberal perspective

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

Looking for renewable policy certainty in all the wrong places

From EnergyWire comes the headline, “In Missouri, industry wants off the ‘solar coaster’.” (link here via Midwest Energy News). A utility rebate program authorized by voters in 2008 is making Missouri into a solar leader in the Midwest. But $175 million set aside to subsidize solar installations is [nearly] fully subscribed … and the same small … More Looking for renewable policy certainty in all the wrong places