Jan 21, 2010


Some countries such as France and Belgium (and Switzerland?) regulate sales closely. Shops can only have sales twice a year. The periods are defined by the government. What is the rationale? According to socialist governments and unions of independent retailers, these laws are there to protect small independent shops. A French reform allowing shops an extra 2 weeks of sales whenever they want is thus creating quite some fuss. There is no doubt that such price controls generate monopolistic rents and are bad for consumers. But people might value price stability and predictability, as well as streets with independent shops, or not. I guess referendums are a good way to settle such issues.

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