Acton Institute Powerblog

Why do governments enact price controls?

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Note: This is post #29 in a weekly video series on basic microeconomics.

If price controls have negative consequences—and they do—then why do governments enact them? In this video by Marginal Revolution University, economist Alex Tabarrok looks at the example of President Nixon’s wage and price controls in the 1970s. These price controls were popular, because the American public didn’t think that the price controls were to blame for things such as long lines at the fuel pump. Without knowledge of the economics behind price controls, says Tabarrok, the public blamed foreign oil cartels and oil companies for the shortages.

(If you find the pace of the videos too slow, I’d recommend watching them at 1.5 to 2 times the speed. You can adjust the speed at which the video plays by clicking on “Settings” (the gear symbol) and changing “Speed” from normal to 1.25, 1.5 or 2.)

Previous in series: Why government regulation of airline fares created ‘quality waste’

Economic Shalom: A Reformed Primer

Economic Shalom: A Reformed Primer

This Reformed Christian primer on work and faith champions the glory of God in all of life’s endeavors by tracing four key themes of economics in Christian confession and commitment and examining markers for human flourishing in the real world of economics, commerce, and markets. With scholarly passion and pastoral wisdom, tempered by the insight of economists, John Bolt presents a winsome case for how God uses the market economy to meet human needs.

Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).