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Accessible Pareto-Improvements: Using Market Information to Reform Inefficiencies

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  • Michael Mandler

    (Royal Holloway College, University of London)

Abstract

We study Pareto improvements whose implementation requires knowledge of only market prices and traded quantities, not utility and demand functions. Quantity stabilization gives agents the right to repeat the net trades they previously conducted, but requires policymakers to have records of those trades. While reasonable in some partial equilibrium contexts, such an assumption is implausible in general equilibrium. To diminish informational requirements further, we also consider price stabilization, which holds constant the relative prices that consumers face. Although price stabilizations do not achieve first-best efficiency, they lead to Pareto-improvements and production efficiency. Moreover, the production efficiency advantage persists under price stabilization but not under quantity stabilization when some firms are not profit-maximizers; this difference can be critical in transition policies for planned economies. In addition to planning, we consider several other applications of quantity and price stabilization, both partial equilibrium and general equilibrium: removal of rent controls, deregulation of a cross-subsidizing public utility, and the entry of an autarkic economy into world trade.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1320.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1320

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Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

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Keywords: Pareto improvements; transition economies; rent control; deregulation;

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  1. Grandmont, J. M. & McFadden, D., 1972. "A technical note on classical gains from trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 109-125, May.
  2. CORDELLA, Tito & MINELLI, Enrico & POLEMARCHAKIS, Heracles, 1993. "Trade and Welfare," CORE Discussion Papers 1993033, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Lawrence J. Lau & Yingyi Qian & Gerald Roland, 1997. "Reform Without Losers: An Interpretation of China's Dual-Track Approach to Transition," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 137, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  4. Lawrence J. Lau & Yingyi Qian & Gerard Roland, . "Pareto-Improving Economic Reforms through Dual-Track Liberalization," Working Papers 97007, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  5. Edward L. Glaeser & Andrei Shleifer, 2001. "A Case for Quantity Regulation," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1909, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  6. Peter A. Diamond & J. A. Mirrlees, 1968. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production," Working papers 22, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Mandler, Michael, 1999. "Simple Pareto-Improving Policies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 120-133, January.
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