Market failure and the role of government

About this unit

In this unit, we start exploring the arguments for and against government intervention in an otherwise competitive market. We examine the conditions for allocative efficiency, using the marginal social benefit and marginal social cost principle, and the ways in which externalities, public goods, and the market distribution of income create market failures even in competitive free-market economies. In addition, we study the effectiveness of government policies such as subsidies, taxes, quantity controls, and public provision of goods and services, which are designed to correct market failures and achieve allocative efficiency.