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On Price Caps Under Uncertainty

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  • Robert Earle
  • Karl Schmedders
  • Tymon Tatur

Abstract

This paper shows how standard arguments supporting the imposition of price caps break down in the presence of demand uncertainty. In particular, though in the deterministic case the introduction or lowering of a price cap (above marginal cost) results in increased production, increased total welfare, decreased prices, and increased consumer welfare, we show that all of the above comparative statics predictions fail for generic uncertain demand functions. For example, for price caps sufficiently close to marginal cost, a decrease in the price cap always leads to a decrease in production and total welfare under certain mild conditions. Under stronger regularity assumptions, all of the monotone comparative statics predictions from the deterministic case also do not hold for a generic uncertain demand if we restrict attention to price caps in an arbitrary fixed interval (as long as the price caps are binding for some values in that interval). Copyright 2007, Wiley-Blackwell.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Earle & Karl Schmedders & Tymon Tatur, 2007. "On Price Caps Under Uncertainty," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 93-111.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:74:y:2007:i:1:p:93-111
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-937X.2007.00415.x
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    Cited by:

    1. Laszlo Goerke & Frederik Herzberg & Thorsten Upmann, 2014. "Failure of ad valorem and specific tax equivalence under uncertainty," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 10(4), pages 387-402, December.
    2. Grimm Veronika & Zöttl Gregor, 2010. "Price Regulation under Demand Uncertainty," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-34, June.
    3. Yiquan Gu & Tobias Wenzel, 2017. "Consumer confusion, obfuscation and price regulation," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 64(2), pages 169-190, May.
    4. Marcos, Félix & Corchón Díaz, Luis Carlos, 2010. "Price regulation in oligopoly," UC3M Working papers. Economics we100101, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
    5. Roques, F.A. & Savva , N.S., 2006. "Price Cap Regulation and Investment Incentives under Demand Uncertainty," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0636, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    6. Reynaud, Arnaud & Thomas, Alban, 2013. "Firm's profitability and regulation in water and network industries: An empirical analysis," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 48-58.
    7. repec:oup:jcomle:v:4:y:2008:i:4:p:1065-1096. is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Antonio Estache & L. Wren-Lewis, 2008. "Towards a Theory of Regulation for Developing Countries: Following Laffont's Lead," Working Papers ECARES 2008_018, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    9. Alfredo Garcia & Ennio Stacchetti, 2011. "Investment dynamics in electricity markets," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 46(2), pages 149-187, February.
    10. Lemus, Ana B. & Moreno, Diego, 2017. "Price caps with capacity precommitment," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 131-158.
    11. Marcos, Félix & Corchón Díaz, Luis Carlos, 2011. "Price regulation in oligopolistic markets," UC3M Working papers. Economics 13443, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
    12. Zöttl, Gregor, 2011. "On optimal scarcity prices," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 589-605, September.
    13. Okumura, Yasunori, 2015. "Volume and share quotas in Cournot competition," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 137-144.
    14. de Frutos, Maria-Angeles & Fabra, Natalia & Von der Fehr, Nils-Henrik M, 2008. "Investment Incentives and Auction Design in Electricity Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 6626, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Roques, Fabien A. & Savva, Nicos, 2009. "Investment under uncertainty with price ceilings in oligopolies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 507-524, February.

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