Thursday, August 21, 2008

Quark's Prices

Here's a question for all you Trekkies out there (including Thomas): What does economics predict about the price of drinks sold by Quark at his bar on Deep Space Nine given that replicators of that era make it possible for crew members to get drinks for free?


  1. I would be willing to pay a medium price
    Thomas Boudreaux

  2. The price would be equal to the value of enjoying a drink with ones friends.

  3. With sufficient competition, the price should be competed down to the cost of production. However, I don't recall that there was any competition in DS9. Quark was the only one allowed to open such an establishment. Hence he had a bit more scarcity power and could charge higher than the cost of production.

    I suspect that the cost of production was not 0. There were energy costs to run the replicator. There were also labor costs to maintain the establishment. I would guess that to get the monopoly, Quark would have needed to offer something back to the federation - specifically free drinks for crew members. If the cost of production > 0, then these free drinks to the crew imposed a cost on Quark that he must have made up by charging higher prices to non-crew members.

  4. On a different but related thot:
    Didn't you ever wonder where the Federation people got money for buying stuff and gambling in Quark's, since they were from a society without money? Even Jake commented once to Quark that when he said he had "sold" an article, he didn't mean he had actually gotten any money for it.