Why Economists Don't Think Price Gouging is a Problem

Nashville Public Radio - Charging flood victims $30 for a case of water or $10 for a gallon of gas doesn’t sit right.

On the demand side, laws that keep prices artificially low can encourage overbuying. They benefit the people who get to the store first.

"If prices don't rise," explained Texas Tech economics professor Michael Giberson, "they just get plenty."

If water is cheap, I might be tempted to buy as much as I can jam in my car — just in case. If, on the other hand, prices shoot up, Giberson said, "it encourages consumers to be a little more careful in using the goods."

There's also a supply-side argument that economists make.

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