Elasticity of supply reduces hotel price spikes

Major sporting events can substantially boost demand for hotel rooms and, given the difficulty of building new hotels on short notice, lead to price hikes and consumer complaints about price gouging. As I wrote four years ago, “Super Bowls usually produce price gouging complaints,” but the complaints were especially high that year given the selection … More Elasticity of supply reduces hotel price spikes

Smart meters help consumers avoid wasting money on energy efficiency

Analysis of a randomised-controlled trial on a sample of almost 2500 Irish households revealed one surprising result: compared to the control group, households provided with a smart meter, detailed feedback on usage, and time-of-use pricing reduced investment in energy efficiency projects. While this unexpected development appears treated by the researchers as an embarrassment to be overcome, the result should … More Smart meters help consumers avoid wasting money on energy efficiency

Jonathan Rauch on the uncomfortable necessity of middlemen in transactional politics

In his recent work Jonathan Rauch has been writing about what I’ve unwillingly concluded are some uncomfortable home truths about politics. In a lot of places, especially the U.S., politics is more counterproductively fraught and fractious than it has been in the past century. This is true despite a near century of Progressive and populist … More Jonathan Rauch on the uncomfortable necessity of middlemen in transactional politics

The Economist on adverse selection and moral hazard

The Economist is running a series on classic articles that have transformed economics, starting with George Akerlof’s 1970 “Market for Lemons” paper. Akerlof catalyzed the field of information economics by pointing out possible consequences of asymmetric information in the case where one party to a transaction has more complete information about product quality than the … More The Economist on adverse selection and moral hazard

Can regulated rates be designed to mimic competition?

Rather than attempting to “mimic competition,” Giberson suggested simply “to allow competition.” Cost-of-service rate regulation cannot be designed to mimic competition. If you want competitive results, then allow competition. At least that was my claim reported in a Megawatt Daily story, “Texas wires rate study draws mixed reactions.” (From Monday, June 27, 2106; articles are not … More Can regulated rates be designed to mimic competition?

Gaming the rankings on the Texas Power to Choose website: TPUC’s simple solution

The Texas Public Utility Commission has implemented a fix to the “gaming the rankings” problem. The fix itself can be gamed a bit – is already being gamed a bit – but the offers gaming the fix are less misleading than before. It is an improvement. Here is what is going on: Creative retail electric … More Gaming the rankings on the Texas Power to Choose website: TPUC’s simple solution