Anti-price gouging laws get rulemaking process in New York

James Hanley and I have an op-ed on New York’s price gouging law appearing this week in Crain’s New York Business.

The New York attorney general’s office has initiated a rulemaking process intended to better ground the state’s price gouging law enforcement practices. The New York rulemaking may be the first time a state took seriously the idea that price gouging law enforcement requires careful thought. Here we take the occasion of the rulemaking process to suggest ways the state can improve its enforcement practice and reduce the compliance burden.

Sure, our favorite improvement would be simple repeal. However, as that is not on the table in New York, so we offer a few more modest suggestions.

(Plenty of economists have op-eds on price gouging that lay out the basic “supply and demand” arguments against them. I wholly endorse the standard economist’s op-ed against price gouging laws: basic economic literacy is important and and the lessons bear repetition. But many economists have written such pieces, including me. And I’ve had a longer piece on price gouging laws published in Regulation magazine. In the Crain’s op-ed we try another approach.)