wage and price controls


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wage and price controls,

economic policy measure in which the government places a ceiling on wages and prices to curb inflation. Also known as incomes policy, such programs have generally been avoided in the United States during peacetime. Brief but strict wage and price controls were imposed during World War II and the Korean War, as well as more limited ones in the 1960s. America's most controversial peacetime experiment with an incomes policy was during the period 1971–74, when inflation was fueled by the costs of the Vietnam War, the 1973 oil embargo, and the later quadrupling in the world price of oil by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Wage and price controls during peacetime have yielded minor gains at best in the United States; in postwar Western Europe, incomes policies have been more frequently used. Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Germany have all implemented controls at various times and France has experimented with wage and price controls many times since the 19th cent.
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References in periodicals archive ?
We reviewed the available evidence to describe the impact on hospital behavior of the ESP wage and price freeze and subsequent wage and price controls. Examples from the health services and economic literature are used for two purposes in this article.
Neoclassical economic theory makes a strong case against any type of wage and price controls in competitive markets, and some leading economists strongly criticized the Nixon Administration for instituting such controls (Friedman, 1971; Reynolds, 1971).
Wage and price controls distort that process and remove the natural ability of the economy to steer itself.
* Wage and price controls may cause shortages because lower prices lead to higher quantities of goods and services demanded.
* Finally, the imposition of wage and price controls actually reduces the purchasing power of the dollar, by legally restricting consumers' rights to use dollars to bid for the goods and services they desire (Alchain and Allen, 1972).
The effects of wage and price controls on hospitals depend on two important factors.
All of this suggests that wage and price controls should not be used if medical care markets are competitive.
Because the health care reform bills recently debated do not discuss the implementation of mandatory wage and price controls, hypotheses of provider responses based on these bills cannot be generated.
Changes in wages and employment were greater than changes in profits or expenses, suggesting that hospitals eventually reacted to wage and price controls by addressing payroll and staffing mix.
Me results from the National Hospital Rate-Setting Study also suggest that if ESP were implemented in today's hospital reimbursement environment, the results of wage and price controls may be reduced from those levels of effectiveness that were observed in the 1970s.
An immediate return to high list prices after controls are lifted would provide evidence of one of the major problems with wage and price controls noted by leading economists of the day.