Berkeley Program in Law and Economics
The Deadweight Loss of Coupon Remedies for Price Overcharges
- Author(s): Polinsky, A. Mitchell
- Rubinfeld, Daniel L.
- et al.
Consumers injured by price overcharges often are awarded coupons that can be used for a limited period of time to purchase the good at a price below that which prevails after the overcharge has been eliminated. Coupon remedies cause a deadweight loss by inducing excessive consumption by consumers with relatively low demand during the remedy period. The magnitude of the loss can be comparable to that caused by the price overcharge. As demand variability goes to zero, the deadweight loss from coupon remedies goes to zero. Eliminating the expiration date for the use of coupons does not eliminate the loss.