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Measuring the effects of price controls using mixed complementarity models

Frederic Murphy, Axel Pierru () and Yves Smeers

European Journal of Operational Research, 2019, vol. 275, issue 2, 666-676

Abstract: Government involvement in managing domestic prices of energy and other commodities is a major issue in emerging economies. We examine one aspect of the problem, price controls, when governments set or cap prices. We show how a Mixed Complementarity Problem (MCP) formulation can be used to model and assess the impacts of price controls in multi-sector economic-equilibrium models. Both the gains from deregulation and the consequences of imposing new or altering existing regulations can thus be measured. We present three distinct models that capture different price-control situations: firms have to meet demand and receive an implicit subsidy, demand rationing occurs due to an associated price control constraint, and subsidies limit demand rationing. We present an approach to measuring the effects on the equilibrium in the first case and the levels of disequilibrium induced by price controls in the other cases. We also show how to determine the most efficient allocation program when a government engages in rationing. We illustrate the cases described by these models using markets that have or had price controls.

Keywords: OR in energy; Mixed complementarity problem; Price controls; Rationing; Subsidies (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Working Paper: Measuring the effects of price controls using mixed complementarity models (2019)
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ejor.2018.11.051

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ejores:v:275:y:2019:i:2:p:666-676