A Paternalist’s Mistake: Rent Control

Miguel ARIAS, Christine ANDERSON, Walter BLOCK

Abstract


Abstract

Rent control, to the economically uninitiated, sounds like a good idea. After all, given that poor people spend a disproportionate percentage of their incomes on housing, what policy could possibly be of more help to them than to lower their rents? Profit-seeking landlords can hardly be expected to do so on their own. Their inability to undertake so public-spirited a policy thus constitutes a “market failure,” and only government can ride to the rescue the suffering masses. This at least is the story widely told by journalists, clergy, teachers, etc. The present paper is an attempt to shed some light on the very opposite perspective: that rent controls lower the supply of residential rental housing, and thus hurt the poor, the very people supposedly helped by this unwarranted legislation.

 

Key words: Price control; rent control; housing; profits; shortages.

JEL: R31.

Keywords


Price control; rent control; housing; profits; shortages

Full Text:


References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1453/jepe.v3i4.1058

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