Price Controls

Definition of 'Price Controls'


Government mandated minimum or maximum prices that can be charged for specified goods. Governments sometimes implement price controls when prices on essential items, such as food or oil, are rising rapidly.

Also known as "price floors" or "price celings".

Investopedia explains 'Price Controls'


History has shown that price controls are, at best, effective only on a very short-term basis. Over the long term, they can lead to shortages, rationing, quality deterioration and black markets.

Consider the price controls placed by the Nixon and Carter administrations on gasoline, which led to long lines at the pump and restrictions on how much gas could be purchased during the 1970s.

Rent control provides another example of the ineffectiveness of price controls. Rent controls, such as those used in New York City, are intended to keep housing prices affordable. Instead, they decrease the supply of rental housing and thereby raise prices of existing rental housing. In a vicious cycle, rent controls discourage new landlords from entering the market and cause existing ones to leave, creating a supply of housing that is less than the free market would allow and causing further upward pressure on housing rental prices. Rent controls also reduce the financial incentives for landlords to maintain and improve their properties, leading to lower quality housing.



comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Federal Reserve Note

    The most accurate term used to describe the paper currency (dollar bills) circulated in the United States. These Federal Reserve Notes are printed by the U.S. Treasury at the instruction of the Federal Reserve member banks, who also act as the clearinghouse for local banks that need to increase or reduce their supply of cash on hand.
  2. Benchmark Bond

    A bond that provides a standard against which the performance of other bonds can be measured. Government bonds are almost always used as benchmark bonds. Also referred to as "benchmark issue" or "bellwether issue".
  3. Market Capitalization

    The total dollar market value of all of a company's outstanding shares. Market capitalization is calculated by multiplying a company's shares outstanding by the current market price of one share. The investment community uses this figure to determine a company's size, as opposed to sales or total asset figures.
  4. Oil Reserves

    An estimate of the amount of crude oil located in a particular economic region. Oil reserves must have the potential of being extracted under current technological constraints. For example, if oil pools are located at unattainable depths, they would not be considered part of the nation's reserves.
  5. Joint Venture - JV

    A business arrangement in which two or more parties agree to pool their resources for the purpose of accomplishing a specific task. This task can be a new project or any other business activity. In a joint venture (JV), each of the participants is responsible for profits, losses and costs associated with it.
  6. Aggregate Risk

    The exposure of a bank, financial institution, or any type of major investor to foreign exchange contracts - both spot and forward - from a single counterparty or client. Aggregate risk in forex may also be defined as the total exposure of an entity to changes or fluctuations in currency rates.
Trading Center