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By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Explain price controls, price ceilings, and price floors
  • Analyze demand and supply as a social adjustment mechanism

Controversy sometimes surrounds the prices and quantities established by demand and supply, especially for products that are considered necessities. In some cases, discontent over prices turns into public pressure on politicians, who may then pass legislation to prevent a certain price from climbing “too high” or falling “too low.”

The demand and supply model shows how people and firms will react to the incentives provided by these laws to control prices, in ways that will often lead to undesirable consequences. Alternative policy tools can often achieve the desired goals of price control laws, while avoiding at least some of their costs and tradeoffs.

Price ceilings

Laws that government enacts to regulate prices are called Price controls . Price controls come in two flavors. A price ceiling    keeps a price from rising above a certain level (the “ceiling”), while a price floor    keeps a price from falling below a certain level (the “floor”). This section uses the demand and supply framework to analyze price ceilings. The next section discusses price floors.

In many markets for goods and services, demanders outnumber suppliers. Consumers, who are also potential voters, sometimes unite behind a political proposal to hold down a certain price. In some cities, such as Albany, renters have pressed political leaders to pass rent control laws, a price ceiling that usually works by stating that rents can be raised by only a certain maximum percentage each year.

Rent control becomes a politically hot topic when rents begin to rise rapidly. Everyone needs an affordable place to live. Perhaps a change in tastes makes a certain suburb or town a more popular place to live. Perhaps locally-based businesses expand, bringing higher incomes and more people into the area. Changes of this sort can cause a change in the demand for rental housing, as [link] illustrates. The original equilibrium (E 0 ) lies at the intersection of supply curve S 0 and demand curve D 0 , corresponding to an equilibrium price of $500 and an equilibrium quantity of 15,000 units of rental housing. The effect of greater income or a change in tastes is to shift the demand curve for rental housing to the right, as shown by the data in [link] and the shift from D 0 to D 1 on the graph. In this market, at the new equilibrium E 1 , the price of a rental unit would rise to $600 and the equilibrium quantity would increase to 17,000 units.

A price ceiling example—rent control

The graph shows a shift in demand with a price ceiling.
The original intersection of demand and supply occurs at E 0 . If demand shifts from D 0 to D 1 , the new equilibrium would be at E 1 —unless a price ceiling prevents the price from rising. If the price is not permitted to rise, the quantity supplied remains at 15,000. However, after the change in demand, the quantity demanded rises to 19,000, resulting in a shortage.
Rent control
Price Original Quantity Supplied Original Quantity Demanded New Quantity Demanded
$400 12,000 18,000 23,000
$500 15,000 15,000 19,000
$600 17,000 13,000 17,000
$700 19,000 11,000 15,000
$800 20,000 10,000 14,000

Questions & Answers

what is aggregate demand and the equation for Y(GDP)
Davido Reply
what is cost concept
Fatai Reply
who is the father of Economics
John Reply
i dont know
Suman
Adam Smith
deep
hi
Zafraan
Adam
Zafraan
smith
Zafraan
what is the formula for elasticity
Umar Reply
perc of qty chg/perc of price chg
Suman
ok
Umar
I need some help regarding economic numericals.
Hassan
Send your problems
Tandan
utility
Oppong
what is cobweb?
Solomon Reply
A spider's web, especially when old and dusty (The wooden carvings were almost obliterated by cobwebs)
huzaif
what is Economic
Mbarohey Reply
Economic is a social science that study human behavior in relationship with end and scarce means which have alternative uses
Agyenkwa
Economics is an inquiry into nature that causes wealth of nations.
Eric
what are the importance of economic
Mbarohey
it helps us use our limited resources to satisfy our unlimited wants
Daniel
economic is the science of wealth
Joseph
it's helps us to be current on what's going on in the world
Joseph
economics can be defined as the science of wealth
Joseph
what are the advantages of sole proprietorship
Mbarohey
is the study of mankind in the ordinary business
Awini
What is the formula for calculating elasticity?
Haruna Reply
(%change in quantity) / (%change in price)
Rahul
government spending increase will cause economic grew
Jia Reply
no
Helicia
what is trade by batter
Iko Reply
trade involves the transfer of good or services from one person to another, often in exchange for money.
musadique
Now trade by batter :it may define as form of trading in which good are exchange directly for other goods without the use of money as medium of exchange
musadique
is it good to trade with something with a value but given something which has no value
sandra
trade in batter means the exchange of goods and services without using money
Maa
It may be defined as an exchange of goods to satisfy the needs of two parties
Haruna
mention six factors that explain efficiency and productivity of labour
fanelchainz Reply
mention six factors that explain efficiency and productivity of labour
bohvy
factors that explain efficiency of labor are 1.population, 2.technology, 3.education, 4.working environment, 5.incentives (tax holidays) and 6.religious or cultural beliefs.
Solomon
What is demand
SoFIA Reply
is the abulity and willingness of a consumer to purchase goods and services at a particular peeiod of time in a given price
Fadhil
what is a central bank
Fadhil Reply
transactionsss with all banks of any country
Economics
what is elastic
fadoju Reply
changee
Economics
variation
Economics
how is equilibrium defined in financial market?
infinity Reply
what is the definition of money
infinity
Money is define as anything that is generally acceptable as a means of exchange nd settlement of dept
Simeon
what is elastic
fadoju
what is demand and supply
Osman
demand is ability of a consumer to purchase a particular good at a particular time
Maa
supply is the ability of a person to be able to provide his costumers with what they need
Maa
how do choices end up determining what, how and for whom goods and services are produced
Ayesha Reply
They end up by using the scale of preference
Maa

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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