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Market Failures and Official Sector Interventions

Anna Kovner and Antoine Martin ()

No 20200923, Liberty Street Economics from Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Abstract: In the United States and other free market economies, the official sector typically has minimal involvement in market activities absent a clear rationale to justify intervention, such as a market failure. In this post, we consider arguments for official sector intervention, focusing on the market failure arising from externalities related to business closures. These externalities are likely to be particularly high for closures arising from pandemic-related economic disruptions. We discuss how the official sector, including institutions such as Congress and the Treasury, can increase social welfare by acting to minimize the fixed costs of business start-up and failure, including the costs associated with unemployment, beyond the level set by private markets alone.

Keywords: official sector interventions; COVID-19; pandemic (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I18 E32 D25 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-09-23
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mac
Note: In the United States and other free market economies, the official sector typically has minimal involvement in market activities absent a clear rationale to justify intervention, such as a market failure. In this post, we consider arguments for official sector intervention, focusing on the market failure arising from externalities related to business closures. These externalities are likely to be particularly high for closures arising from pandemic-related economic disruptions. We discuss how the official sector, including institutions such as Congress and the Treasury, can increase social welfare by acting to minimize the fixed costs of business start-up and failure, including the costs associated with unemployment, beyond the level set by private markets alone.
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