Investing Answers Building and Protecting Your Wealth through Education Publisher of The Next Banks That Could Fail
Investing Answers Building and Protecting Your Wealth through Education Publisher of The Next Banks That Could Fail

Market Failure

What it is:

A market failure occurs when the supply of a good or service is insufficient to meet demand. This results in an inefficient distribution of resources among market participants.

How it works (Example):

Under free market conditions, prices are determined almost exclusively by the forces of supply and demand. Any shift in one of these results in a price change that signals a corresponding shift in the other. Then, the prices return to an equilibrium level. A market failure results when prices cannot achieve equilibrium because of market distortions (for example, minimum wage requirements or price limits on specific goods and services) that restrict economic output. In other words, government regulations implemented to promote social wellbeing inevitably result in a degree of market failure.

Why it Matters:

Economic and social policymakers try to consider the market failures that will result from specific legislation, and, in most cases, they ultimately attempt to minimize market failure by finding a balance between protecting social (or political) interests and maintaining efficient markets.

Related Terms View All
  • Auction Market
    Though most of the trading is done via computer, auction markets can also be operated via...
  • Best Execution
    Let's assume you place an order to buy 100 shares of Company XYZ stock. The current quote...
  • Book-Entry Savings Bond
    Savings bonds are bonds issued by the U.S. government at face values ranging from $50 to...
  • Break-Even Point
    The basic idea behind break-even point is to calculate the point at which revenues begin...
  • Calendar Year
    If Company XYZ starts its fiscal year on January 1 and ends its fiscal year on December...