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Regulated Prices, Rent-Seeking, and Consumer Surplus

  • Paul Klemperer
  • Jeremy Bulow
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    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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    Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 595.

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    Date of creation: 01 Feb 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:595
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    1. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Rules: I. General Theory," Levine's Bibliography 506439000000000384, UCLA Department of Economics.
    2. Tatiana Kirsanova & Andrew P. Blake, 2010. "Discretionary Policy and Multiple Equilibria in LQ RE Models," 2010 Meeting Papers 789, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Tatiana Damjanovic & Vladislav Damjanovic & Charles Nolan, 2007. "Unconditionally Optimal Monetary Policy," CDMA Working Paper Series 200721, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
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