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8: Market Regulation

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    • 8.1: Free Market Economies Versus Collectivist Economies
      Societies that primarily use centralized authorities to manage the creation and distribution of goods and services are called collectivist economies. The philosophy of communism is based on the prescription that centralized authority is the best means of meeting the needs and wants of its citizens.
    • 8.2: Efficiency and Equity
      There is a subfield of economics called “welfare economics” that focuses on evaluating the performance of markets. Two of the criteria used to assess markets are efficiency and equity.
    • 8.3: Circumstances in Which Market Regulation May Be Desirable
      When a market operates inefficiently, economists call the situation a market failure. In this chapter, we will address the generic types of market failure.
    • 8.4: Regulation to Offset Market Power of Sellers or Buyers
      In Chapter 7, we considered how monopolies and monopsonies would try to force changes in the price and quantity to move the market to their advantage, but at an even greater cost to the other side of the market. Again, this is not simply an equity concern that one party is getting most of the surplus created by the market (although that may be a legitimate concern) but rather the exertion of market power results in a net loss in total social surplus.
    • 8.5: Natural Monopoly
      In industries where the minimum efficient scale is very high, it may be that the lowest average cost is achieved if there is only one seller providing all the goods or services. Examples of such a service might be transmission and distribution of electric power or telephone service. This situation often occurs when total costs are very high but marginal costs are low. Economists call such markets natural monopolies.
    • 8.6: Externalities
      The second generic type of market failure is when parties other than the buyer and seller are significantly affected by the exchange between the buyer and seller. However, these other parties do not participate in the negotiation of the sale. Consequently, the quantities sold and prices charged do not reflect the impacts on these parties.
    • 8.7: Externality Taxes
      The most practiced economic instrument to address market externality is a tax. Those who purchase gasoline are likely to pay the sum of the price required by the gasoline station owner to cover his costs (and any economic profit he has the power to generate) plus a tax on each unit of gasoline that covers the externality cost of gasoline consumption such as air pollution, wear and tear on existing public roads, needs for expanding public roads to support more driving, and policing of roads.
    • 8.8: Regulation of Externalities Through Property Rights
      The economist Ronald Coase postulated that the problem of externalities is really a problem of unclear or inadequate property rights. If the imposition of negative externalities were considered to be a right owned by a firm, the firm would have the option to resell those rights to another firm that was willing to pay more than the original owner of the right would appreciate by keeping and exercising the privilege.
    • 8.9: High Cost to Initial Entrant and the Risk of Free Rider Producers
      Next, we will consider the third generic type of market failure, or the inability for a market to form or sustain operation due to free riders, by looking at two causes of this kind of failure in this section and the next section. Although the sources are different, both involve a situation where some party benefits from the market exchange without incurring the same cost as other sellers or buyers.
    • 8.10: Public Goods and the Risk of Free Rider Consumers
      In the case of rival goods, the party consuming the product is easily linked to the party that will purchase the product. Whether the party purchases the product depends on whether the value obtained is at least as high as the price. However, there are other goods that are largely nonrival. This means that several people might benefit from an item produced and sold in the market without diminishing the benefit to others, especially the party that actually made the purchase.
    • 8.11: Market Failure Caused by Imperfect Information
      Imperfect information can be due to ignorance or uncertainty. If the market participant is aware that better information is available, information becomes another need or want. Information may be acquired through an economic transaction and becomes a commodity that is a cost to the buyer or seller. Useful information is available as a market product in forms like books, media broadcasts, and consulting services.
    • 8.12: Limitations of Market Regulation
      Although regulation offers the possibility of addressing market failure and inefficiencies that would not resolve by themselves in an unregulated free market economy, regulation is not easy or cost free.

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