Saturday, January 15, 2011

An Interesting Market Failure

Will the market mechanism evacuate efficiently? George Stigler says yes; Tyler Cowen is not so sure.
If you are evacuating a city suddenly, along a constrained road or path, ideally (at least by economic standards, which may or may not be your final moral theory) you wish to favor the people who are young, productive to others, and people who value their own lives highly and are risk-averse. A market auction tends to favor the wealthy and in this context many of the first leavers in line will be inefficiently old

TC also notes that the old may also have a higher discount factor for spendig their current wealth, adding to the dilemma.

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