Price Gouging and Market Failure

In Gerald Gaus, Julian Lamont & Christi Favor (eds.), ESSAYS ON PHILOSOPHY, POLITICS & ECONOMIC: INTEGRATION AND COMMON RESEARCH PROJECTS. Stanford University Press (2010)
Price gouging occurs when, in the wake of an emergency, sellers of a certain necessary goods sharply raise their prices beyond the level needed to cover increased costs. Most people think that price gouging is immoral, and most states have laws rendering the practice a civil or criminal offense. But the alleged wrongness of price gouging has been seriously under-theorized. This paper examines the argument that price gouging is morally objectionable and/or the proper subject of legal regulation because of the context of market failure in which it occurs. It argues that even if claims of market failure or true, they do not generate these normative conclusions.
Keywords Price Gouging  Exploitation  Distributive Justice
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