Price Gouging In A Hurricane: Do Free Market Forces Circumvent Price Controls?

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Jesse T. Wright
Raymond L. Placid
Marcus T. Allen


Price Gouging, Free Market Forces, Government Price Controls, Gasoline Prices, Emergency, Hurricane


This study analyzes gasoline prices in Florida and Georgia before and after Hurricane Irma, a major weather event that affected both states in 2017. The analysis reveals that gasoline prices in both states increased and stabilized well in advance of state of emergency declarations that triggered the states’ price gouging laws. Price gouging laws thus appear to be inconsequential. Free market forces determine prices unhindered by government price controls during hurricane emergencies.


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