Price Control

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Price Controls

Econ 360-002

Sonia Parsa


Word Count: 1540


This paper examines how, in the United States, the government imposes several forms of taxes and price controls and how all individuals are required to pay direct and indirect taxes. It looks at how the approach of taxation and how the constraints of taxation on goods and price controls affect the U.S. economy. Introduction

Regulations have played a huge role in the political and economic world for centuries. There are various different types of regulation. One regulation that the government imposes under its tax policy is price control, which is not considered to be voluntary. Price control can play two different roles, a price ceiling or a price floor. A price ceiling is the maximum price that can be charged in the market for a certain good, causing shortages, and a price floor is the minimum price that can be charged in the market, which then causes surpluses. Measures are usually taken by a government under its regulatory policy to control wages and prices in an attempt to check cost-push inflation and wage-push inflation[1]. However, these policies never help the economy. Instead, it worsens the situation. Governments also impose price controls as an indirect mechanism for taxation. The most well-known price controls enforced by the United States government today are: the policy of minimum wage, rent control, and oil price control. Having enforced price controls generate opportunities for economy failure, i.e. shortages and surpluses, as well as opportunities within the black market, and international arbitrage. The Economic Philosophy

When a price control is forced by the government, it’s usually imposed to help or protect particular parts of the population which would be treated inequitably by the unfettered price system. But one must wonder which part of the population, the consumers or the producers? Is it not true that the consumers always feel as if the prices of a good are much higher than their actual value, while producers always feel as if the prices are too low? Price controls are usually justified as a way to help consumers, but whether they actually do is open to debate. Imposed price controls by the government are not only an absolute disaster, but have resulted in dislocating many economies in the past. The key is to recognize that when governments impose price controls; it does not only affect their nation, but also affects parallel imports with their trade partners because of a price “discrimination,” in regards to tariffs. The Economic Logic

The effect of taxation and price controls on the economy vary from the decrease of the supply of goods to an increase in costs and can be demonstrated by a supply-demand analysis (Figure 1).

In a free market, the equilibrium selling prices are shown by an upward sloping supply curve (S) with respect to price. The maximum buying prices on the part of the consumer is then shown by a downward sloping demand curve (D) with respect to price. After a quantity of a good is acquired by a consumer, the less important the desire is than before. Therefore, the supplier has to lower the price for each unit as it is sold. Where the supply and demand curve intersects at the margin is called the equilibrium price. In a maximum price control, a deadweight loss occurs in the triangle of a, b, c. [pic]

For example, when there is a tax imposed on a good like tobacco, there is an increase in the price of the product. This is called minimum price control and the price is not legally allowed to fall below the minimum. This shifts the supply curve of the product to the left. In other words, there are fewer goods available at the same prices than there were before. There is then a decline in the quantity demanded and a new equilibrium between demand and supply is reached. On the other hand when price controls are imposed there is an artificial...
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