Business Ethics Quarterly:1-29 (forthcoming)

Ewan Kingston
Princeton University
SARS-CoV-2 has unleashed an unprecedented global crisis that has caused the demand for essential goods, such as medical and sanitation products, to soar while simultaneously disrupting the very supply chains that allow individuals and institutions to obtain those essential goods. This has resulted in stark price increases and accusations of price gouging. We survey the existing philosophical literature that examines price gouging and identify the key arguments for regulators permitting such behavior and for regulators restricting such behavior. We demonstrate how the existing accounts are designed for localized emergencies rather than global persistent crises such as the coronavirus pandemic. In light of this, we highlight an understudied justification for price gouging that is much more salient during global crises: incentivizing increased production of essential goods. Furthermore, we pinpoint three conditions that help determine whether authorities should restrict price gouging during the coronavirus pandemic and similar global crises.
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DOI 10.1017/beq.2021.15
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References found in this work BETA

Exploitation, Vulnerability, and Social Domination.Nicholas Vrousalis - 2013 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 41 (2):131-157.
The Ethics of Price Gouging.Matt Zwolinski - 2008 - Business Ethics Quarterly 18 (3):347-378.

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