Regulated Prices, Rent Seeking, and Consumer Surplus
Price controls lead to misallocation of goods and encourage rent seeking. The misallocation effect alone ensures that a price control always reduces consumer surplus in an otherwise-competitive market with convex demand if supply is more elastic than demand or with log-convex demand (e.g., constant elasticity) even if supply is inelastic. The same results apply whether rationed goods are allocated by costless lottery or whether costly rent seeking and/or partial decontrol mitigates the inefficiency. Our analysis exploits the observation that in any market, consumer surplus equals the area between the demand curve and the industry marginal revenue curve.
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References listed on IDEAS
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- Bagnoli, M. & Bergstrom, T., 1989.
"Log-Concave Probability And Its Applications,"
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- W. Kip Viscusi & Joseph E. Harrington & John M. Vernon, 2005. "Economics of Regulation and Antitrust, 4th Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 4, volume 1, number 026222075x, June.
- Filip Palda, 2001.
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Labor and Demography
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