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The Allocative Cost of Price Ceilings in the U.S. Residential Market for Natural Gas

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  • Lucas W. Davis
  • Lutz Kilian

Abstract

A direct consequence of restricting the price of a good for which secondary markets do not exist is that, in the presence of excess demand, the good will not be allocated to the buyers who value it the most. We demonstrate the empirical importance of this allocative cost for the U.S. residential market for natural gas, which was subject to price ceilings during 1954-89. Using a household-level, discrete-continuous model of natural gas demand, we estimate that the allocative cost in this market averaged $3.6 billion annually, nearly tripling previous estimates of the net welfare loss to U.S. consumers.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucas W. Davis & Lutz Kilian, 2011. "The Allocative Cost of Price Ceilings in the U.S. Residential Market for Natural Gas," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(2), pages 212-241.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/660124
    DOI: 10.1086/660124
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D45 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - 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
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy

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