Sunday, 10 April 2011

Market Failure (Microeconomics)

Market failure is what occurs when the free market economy is left to run itself and resources are allocated inefficiently and not used correctly. For a market to be successful, it must be efficient.A few examples of market failure are the overconsumption of alcohol and tobacco or the underconsumption of health and education. These are examples of market failure because they occur when the economy is left to the free market mechanism and resources aren't being used efficiently or correctly.

Efficiency in an economy can be broken down into two different types: production efficiency and allocative efficiency.

Productive efficiency is achieved when everything that is produced is produced using the least amount of scarce resources. In other words, any point on the PPC curve (Refer to this post on the blog for more about PPC curves). If goods aren't being produced using the least amount of scarce resources then it is said to be productively inefficient and the market's failing.

Allocative efficiency is achieved when customer satisfaction in a market is maximised. So, the quantity supplied must be equal to the quantity demanded - in other words the market must be functioning at the equilibrium position for the market to be allocatively efficient.

There are many causes of this market failure, which will be discussed further in later posts, so stay tuned. Thanks.

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