The Allocative Cost of Price Ceilings: Lessons to be Learned from the US Residential Market for Natural Gas
AbstractFollowing a Supreme Court decision in 1954, natural gas markets in the U.S. were subject to 35 years of intensive federal regulation. Several studies have measured the deadweight loss from the price ceilings that were imposed during this period. This paper concentrates on an additional component of welfare loss that is rarely discussed. In particular, when there is excess demand for a good such as natural gas for which secondary markets do not exist, an additional welfare loss occurs when the good is not allocated to the buyers who value it the most. We quantify the overall size of this allocative cost, its evolution during the post-war period, and its geographical distribution, and we highlight implications of our analysis for the regulation of other markets. Using a household-level, discrete-continuous model of natural gas demand we estimate that the allocative cost averaged $8.1 billion annually in the U.S. residential market for natural gas during 1950-2000, effectively doubling previous estimates of the total welfare losses from natural gas regulation. We find that these allocative costs were borne disproportionately by households in the Northeast, Midwest, and South Atlantic states. Costs were largest in New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts with 70% of all costs borne by the ten states affected most.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6142.
Date of creation: Feb 2007
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D45 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure and Pricing - - - Rationing; Licensing
- L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
- L71 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Mining, Extraction, and Refining: Hydrocarbon Fuels
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-03-03 (All new papers)
- NEP-ENE-2007-03-03 (Energy Economics)
- NEP-HIS-2007-03-03 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-REG-2007-03-03 (Regulation)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Train,Kenneth E., 2009.
"Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation,"
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521766555, December.
- Jeffrey A. Dubin & Allen K. Miedema & Ram V. Chandran, 1986. "Price Effects of Energy-Efficient Technologies: A Study of Residential Demand for Heating and Cooling," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(3), pages 310-325, Autumn.
- Bernard, J.T. & Bolduc, D. & Belanger, D., 1993.
"Quebec Residential Electricity Demand: A Microeconometric Approach,"
9334, Laval - Recherche en Energie.
- Jean-Thomas Bernard & Denis Bolduc & Donald Belanger, 1996. "Quebec Residential Electricity Demand: A Microeconometric Approach," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(1), pages 92-113, February.
- Paul W. MacAvoy & Robert S. Pindyck, 1973.
"Alternative Regulatory Policies for Dealing with the Natural Gas Shortage,"
Bell Journal of Economics,
The RAND Corporation, vol. 4(2), pages 454-498, Autumn.
- MacAvoy, Paul W. & Pindyck, Robert S., 1973. "Alternative regulatory policies for dealing with the natural gas shortage," Working papers 659-73., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
- Edward L. Glaeser & Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2003.
"The Misallocation of Housing Under Rent Control,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1027-1046, September.
- Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1998. "The Effects of the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency Standards in the US," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 1-33, March.
- Sweeney, James L, 1984. "The Response of Energy Demand to Higher Prices: What Have We Learned?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 31-37, May.
- Nesbakken, Runa, 2001. " Energy Consumption for Space Heating: A Discrete-Continuous Approach," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(1), pages 165-84, March.
- MacAvoy, Paul W, 1971. "The Regulation-Induced Shortage of Natural Gas," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 167-99, April.
- Dubin, Jeffrey A & McFadden, Daniel L, 1984. "An Econometric Analysis of Residential Electric Appliance Holdings and Consumption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 345-62, March.
- Luttmer, Erzo F. P., 2007.
"Does the Minimum Wage Cause Inefficient Rationing?,"
Working Paper Series
rwp07-018, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
- Luttmer Erzo F.P., 2007. "Does the Minimum Wage Cause Inefficient Rationing?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-42, October.
- Erzo F.P. Luttmer, 2007. "Does the Minimum Wage Cause Inefficient Rationing?," NBER Working Papers 13012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Luttmer, Erzo F.P., 2007. "Does the Minimum Wage Cause Inefficient Rationing?," IZA Discussion Papers 2713, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Edelstein, Paul & Kilian, Lutz, 2007. "Retail Energy Prices and Consumer Expenditures," CEPR Discussion Papers 6255, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.