Economic Definition of price controls. Defined.
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Term price controls Definition: Government intervention in markets in which legal restrictions are placed on the prices charged. The two basic types of price controls are price ceilings and price floors. Price ceilings are maximum prices set below the equilibrium price. Price floors are minimum prices set above the equilibrium price. Price controls imposed on an otherwise efficient and competitive market create imbalances (shortages or surpluses) which cause inefficiency. However, imposing price controls on a market that fails to achieve efficiency (due to market control, externalities, or imperfect information) can actual improve efficiency. Price controls have also be used economy-wide in an attempt to reduce inflation.