Today is Good Friday, I have just moved house, and have no food – so I’m trying to work out how to source some. As a result, you may think I’d be supportive of ACT saying that the Easter trading laws are archaic and need to be overhauled. But even in my hungry stupor, I realise that there is a potential defence of Easter trading laws – the co-ordination of bus routes.
Now that might seem entirely random, but hear me out. Making firms close on Good Friday is a way to ensure that no-one is working, and that everyone is on holiday at the same time. As a result, having the day off today isn’t just having the day off – it is having the day off while everyone else is having the day off. It is an enforced holiday for all. This may be a good thing, if there is a “co-ordination failure” in terms of when people take time off.
How does this work? Say that you value having the day off more when all your friends, family, and arbitrary other people are also having the day off than having the day off with everyone else still busily working – or at least you like that to occur a few times a year. However, it is costly and difficult to organise a situation where that happens with people. If individuals take days off on the basis of specific personal plans, or at random, then we will end up in a situation where people take holidays at different times – and as a result, we end up in a pareto inferior equilibrium. But if the government, or some overarching institution (the Church) organises a day we can all have off together, then we can do that and all be a bit happier for it.
How is this like bus timetables? Well, the co-ordination of bus routes is another type of co-ordination game – if you have to catch two buses, you would like the times to line up. If the first bus is too early, your trip takes longer. If your first bus is too late, you can’t take trip! As a result, having bus routes planned help out.
Anyway, I’m done with this. I’m going to go find a service station so I can buy something to eat! Happy Easter and all that!