Sunday, 1 May 2011

Government Intervention - Subsidies (Microeconomics)

Subsidies work in sort of the opposite way to taxation. They are direct payments from the government to firms and businesses, or in some cases consumers. The aim of a subsidy is to reduce the overall cost of producing the good/service so that more can be made and sold at a cheaper price. These subsidies are normally given to produces of goods with positive externalities, so that the market failure can be fixed by increasing the production and consumption.

Lets have some examples of subsidies:

  • The government may give subsidise local bus companies so they can run bus routes in rural areas without making a loss. This fixes the market failure of under-production of public transport. This is an example of a subsidy to the producers.
  • The government also give subsidies to the over 60's so they can pay for fuel during the Winter. This means they can now afford to pay for the fuel to keep them warm, fixing the under-consumption there.

In both of these cases, if they were left to the free-market there would be under-consumption. In a way, a subsidy works in the opposite way to an indirect tax. It increases the supply of the good so that the price decreases and thus the quantity demanded increases.

That's about all for basic subsidies to correct market failure. Thanks.


  1. This is the best information i have found on government intervention on the internet and for that i thank you very much!!

  2. No worries at all, I'm glad to be of help! Keep checking back.