Why are shelves already empty? Because NC outlaws “gouging”

Here’s a screenshot from WRAL today:

Look at these two headlines back-to-back from WTVD. An economist can see how they’re related:

Why are we seeing water shortages before Hurricane Florence even hits? Because North Carolina outlaws “price gouging”; i.e., raising prices during natural disasters.

Economist Art Carden illustrates Mike Munger’s example from Raleigh after Hurricane Fran, “They Clapped: Can Price-Gouging Laws Prohibit Scarcity?“:

If higher prices are signal flares saying, Bring supplies from where they’re plentiful to where they aren’t!, then anti–”price gouging” laws are signal flares saying, Stay away from there! 

Jon Sanders / Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...