The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between beliefs and economic policy in the context of gasoline prices following Hurricane Katrina.
The paper applies three contributions – by North, Caplan and Higgs – to the question of gasoline pricing policy; and surveys public opinion regarding interference with prices.
The paper identifies evidence of “anti‐market bias” in polling data, press releases, and legislation, and argues that the uncertainty emanating from statutes restricting “price gouging” may reduce investment in the provision of “necessary goods and services” after natural disasters.
The paper is of value in offering evidence of anti‐market and anti‐foreign bias among what might be called political first responders to Hurricane Katrina, and posits the view that interference with prices compounded the shortages facing the Gulf coast or any other disaster‐stricken area.
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