Market Failure

1.0 Introduction

Market failure refers to a state of affairs whereby a freely-functioning market fails to apportion resources expeditiously or optimally ensuing in unwanted results. Main illustrations of market failures include market power, outwardnesss, unequal distribution of economic prosperity and unequal public goods.

Market power occurs when economic histrions are able to exercise considerable influence on market monetary values or the measure of goods sold doing concentration of power and imperfect competition. Outwardnesss are the unsalaried impact caused when the market disregard external costs of an economic activity on the wellbeing of a bystander. Outwardnesss diverge societal costs of benefit from the private optimum, taking to market failure every bit good. Unequal distribution of economic prosperity occurs as people are rewarded harmonizing to their ability in bring forthing high income by bring forthing things others are willing to pay off. Markets fail as important differences in income and wealth leads to a broad spread in life criterions between different groups in the economic system. Market besides fails when there are unequal public goods which are non provided by the market chiefly because of the free rider issue [ 1 ] .

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Hence public policies are required to rectify market failure and increase the efficiency and productiveness of the market. This ensures that the market is able to accomplish the highest entire societal public assistance, therefore leting a greater distribution of income and wealth and higher criterion of life.

2.0 Public Policies

Public policies are fundamentally described as efforts taken by the authorities as an attack towards public issues and are normally incorporated in statute laws, ordinances, determinations and actions ( Venus 2010 ) . Examples of public policies that can be taken to rectify market failure are statute laws and ordinances, execution of revenue enhancements, subsidies and monetary value controls.

2.1 Legislations and Regulations

Legislation is a jurisprudence which has been enacted by a regulating organic structure whereas ordinance is a regulation or limitation promulgated to command activities of concerns and consumers. There are two signifiers of ordinances, viz. industry ordinance which prevents houses from deriving and working inordinate market control ; and societal ordinance which protects consumers from societal costs like outwardnesss, socially unwanted goods and asymmetric information. Examples include monetary value ordinances or orders forbiding conniving patterns and monopolistic behavior which help cut down concentration of market power. Legislations sing the protection of the environment can besides be enforced to cut down outwardnesss like pollution.

Legislations and ordinance are besides an illustration of command-and-control policies which are specifically targeted at cut downing outwardnesss. Command-and-control policies correct outwardnesss by modulating behaviors straight, doing them either required or out. This is normally carried out by several environmental bureaus or committees of a state, for case the Environmental Protection Agency in United States which restrict degrees of pollution and emanations emitted by mills and industries.

2.2 Taxs

Taxs are a fiscal charge or levy imposed upon an person or entity. Taxs can be used to modulate the market, redistribute income and cut down outwardnesss through the use of the demand and supply curves in the market. Even so, the revenue enhancement imposed must be equal to the external cost or benefit to accomplish the optimum measure of end product.

A signifier of revenue enhancement is environment levy which is imposed on houses to do them pay for the negative outwardnesss they created. Taxs can besides be imposed on unwanted goods to increase their monetary value and cut down the measure demanded or even used to oblige people to pay for public goods to get the better of the free rider issue. Similarly, revenue enhancements imposed in conformity with income earned helps cut down the market failure of income derived functions. At the same clip, revenue enhancements besides helps increase authorities ‘s gross which can be spent on options such as direct proviso of public goods and services to counterbalance for the deficiency of corporate goods.

Tax is besides portion of market-based policies, developed specifically to cut down outwardnesss. Market-based policies internalise outwardnesss by supplying inducements so that private determination shapers will work out the outwardnesss themselves. An illustration disciplinary revenue enhancements used to carry private houses to take history of societal costs that arise from negative outwardnesss.

Consequence of revenue enhancement on the market can be seen in Diag. 1. Tax imposed on a merchandise would increase its monetary value, set uping both consumers and manufacturers. As production cost additions, the supply curve will switch to the left from S to S1 as manufacturers would diminish the merchandise ‘s supply. Since the monetary value of the good is now more expensive, the measure demanded by consumers would besides diminish as seen in the alteration from Q2 to Q1. However, should the demand of the good be inelastic, revenue enhancements would neglect to make any important decrease in the demand of the good as shown in the diagram. For illustration, coffin nails.

2.3 Subsidies

Subsidies, besides known as negative revenue enhancement, are fiscal aid provided to concerns or economic sectors. Subsidies are used to help little and possible houses by cut downing their production cost so that they are able to vie against larger houses. They can besides come in signifiers of loans or research and development grants to help houses in their research to bring forth merchandises of better quality. This reduces the barriers to entry and at the same time increases competition among houses in the market besides efficaciously work outing under ingestion of resources, a positive outwardness. Furthermore, subsidies can increase socially desirable goods and aid in the redistribution of income. Even so, the subsidy imposed must be equal to the external cost or benefit to accomplish the optimum measure of end product.

Consequence of subsidies on the market can be seen in Diag. 2. Subsidies imposed on a merchandise would cut down its monetary value, set uping both the consumer and manufacturer. Production cost lessening as manufacturers receive aid and the supply curve will switch to the right from S to S1 as manufacturers would increase supply. Since the monetary value of the good has now reduced, the measure demanded by consumers would besides diminish as seen in the alteration from Q to Q1.

2.4 Price Controls

Price control is a signifier of public policy where the authorities uses its law-making power to modulate monetary values of goods or services. The authorities may try to repair and implement exact monetary values of a peculiar good or service sold or set a ceiling monetary value or floor monetary value ( Johnson 2005 ) . Government will so be able to help consumers and manufacturers with the impact it has on consumer demand and production of the good or service.

Price ceiling is the legal upper limit monetary value which a good can be sold at but non any lower than that. An illustration would be rent control to assist hapless consumers which can non afford lodging. Price ceiling merely takes consequence when it is imposed below the equilibrium monetary value as shown in Graph A as manufacturers are forced to run into the maximal monetary value set. However, this may ensue in deficits ( Graph A ) as the lower monetary value will increase demand for the merchandise.

Price floor is the legal minimal monetary value that can be charged but minutess at higher monetary values are prohibited. An illustration is the minimal pay Torahs which increases workers ‘ criterion of life. Price floor merely takes consequence when it is imposed above the equilibrium monetary value as shown in Graph B as providers have to raise their monetary values to run into the authorities ‘s minimal monetary value. However, a excess may happen ( Graph B ) as the higher monetary value will diminish consumers ‘ demand.

3.0 Decision

As a decision, it can be seen that markets require public policies and authorities intercession in order to work efficaciously and accomplish the aims of manufacturers, particularly little and possible houses ; and consumers. Market failure can be redressed through enforcement of statute laws and ordinances, revenue enhancements and subsidies and monetary value control which are able to increase fight, redistribute income and cut down outwardnesss and socially unwanted goods. Although the execution of these policies are utile in cut downing negative impacts on the economic system and fundamentally have positive deductions, there are besides drawbacks. For case, statute laws and ordinances are hard and expensive to implement whereas subsidies requires a authorities to foremost hold sufficient fiscal agencies which prevents all states from transporting them out expeditiously. Price control besides consequences in excess and deficits of merchandises they are imposed on in the long tally which will besides take to inefficient allotment of resources. Hence, authoritiess should ever analyse the economic system carefully and critically and transport out policies consequently to forestall any farther deteriorating of the economic system.

4.0 Mentions


  • Mankiw, N. G. 2008, Necessities of Economics, 5th Edn, South West Cengage Learning, United States
  • Webster, N. 2005, Economics, 2nd Edn, Greg Eather, Adelaide

Web sites:

  • Johnson, P. M. 2005, Price Controls: A Glossary of Political Economy Footings, retrieved 16 March 2010,
  • The Smartacus Corportion 2009, Government Intervention: Price Ceiling, retrieved 17 March 2010,
  • The Smartacus Corportion 2009, Government Intervention: Price Floor, retrieved 17 March 2010,
  • Venus, D. 2010, What is Public Policy, retrieved 16 March 2010,
  • Watkins, T. n.d. , Impact of an Excise Tax on Subsidy on Price, retrieved 17 March 2010,

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