Demand

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Demand is the quantity of a good that consumers are willing and able to purchase at various prices during a given period of time. [1]

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The relationship between price and quantity demanded is also known as the demand curve. Preferences which underlie demand, are influenced by cost, benefit, odds and other variables.

Demand curve graph depicting the relationship between the price of a certain commodity and the amount of it that consumers are willing and able to purchase at that given price

In economics, the demand curve is the graph depicting the relationship between the price of a certain commodity and the amount of it that consumers are willing and able to purchase at any given price. It is a graphic representation of a market demand schedule. The demand curve for all consumers together follows from the demand curve of every individual consumer: the individual demands at each price are added together, assuming independent decision-making.

Innumerable factors and circumstances affect a buyer's willingness or ability to buy a good. Some of the common factors are:

Good's own price: The basic demand relationship is between potential prices of a good and the quantities that would be purchased at those prices. Generally the relationship is negative meaning that an increase in price will induce a decrease in the quantity demanded. This negative relationship is embodied in the downward slope of the consumer demand curve. The assumption of a negative relationship is reasonable and intuitive. For example, if the price of a gallon of milk rose from $5 to a price of $15, this is a big price increase. This significant price increase causes the consumer to demand less of that product at the price of $15 because not only is it more expensive, but the new price is very unreasonable for a gallon of milk.
Price of related goods: The principal related goods are complements and substitutes. A complement is a good that is used with the primary good. Examples include hotdogs and mustard, beer and pretzels, automobiles and gasoline. (Perfect complements behave as a single good.) If the price of the complement goes up the quantity demanded of the other good goes down.
Mathematically, the variable representing the price of the complementary good would have a negative coefficient in the demand function. For example, Qd = a - P - Pg where Q is the quantity of automobiles demanded, P is the price of automobiles and Pg is the price of gasoline. The other main category of related goods are substitutes. Substitutes are goods that can be used in place of the primary good. The mathematical relationship between the price of the substitute and the demand for the good in question is positive. If the price of the substitute goes down the demand for the good in question goes down.
Personal Disposable Income: In most cases, the more disposable income (income after tax and receipt of benefits) a person has, the more likely that person is to buy.
Tastes or preferences: The greater the desire to own a good the more likely one is to buy the good. There is a basic distinction between desire and demand. Desire is a measure of the willingness to buy a good based on its intrinsic qualities. Demand is the willingness and ability to put one's desires into effect. It is assumed that tastes and preferences are relatively constant.
Consumer expectations about future prices, income and availability: If a consumer believes that the price of the good will be higher in the future, he/she is more likely to purchase the good now. If the consumer expects that his/her income will be higher in the future, the consumer may buy the good now. Availability (supply side) as well as predicted or expected availability also affects both price and demand.
Population: If the population grows this means that demand will also increase.
Nature of the good: If the good is a basic commodity, it will lead to a higher demand

Demand function and equation

The demand equation is the mathematical expression of the relationship between the quantity of a good demanded and those factors that affect the willingness and ability of a consumer to buy the good. For example, Qd = f(P; Prg, Y) is a demand equation where Qd is the quantity of a good demanded, P is the price of the good, Prg is the price of a related good, and Y is income; the function on the right side of the equation is called the demand function. The semi-colon in the list of arguments in the demand function means that the variables to the right are being held constant as one plots the demand curve in (quantity, price) space. A simple example of a demand equation is Qd = 325 - P - 30Prg + 1.4Y. Here 325 is the repository of all relevant non-specified factors that affect demand for the product. P is the price of the good. The coefficient is negative in accordance with the law of demand. The related good may be either a complement or a substitute. If it is a complement, the coefficient of its price would be negative as in this example. If it is a substitute, the coefficient of its price would be positive. Income, Y, has a positive coefficient indicating that the good is a normal good. If the coefficient was negative the good in question would be an inferior good meaning that the demand for the good would fall as the consumer's income increased. Specifying values for the non price determinants, Prg = 4.00 and Y = 50, results in the demand equation Q = 325 - P - 30(4) +1.4(50) or Q = 275 - P. If income were to increase to 55 the new demand equation would be Q = 282 - P. Graphically this change in a non price determinant of demand would be reflected in an outward shift of the demand function caused by a change in the x intercept.

Substitute good good with a positive cross elasticity of demand

A substitute good is a good that can be used in place of another. In consumer theory, substitute goods or substitutes are products that a consumer perceives as similar or comparable, so that having more of one product makes them desire less of the other product. Formally, X and Y are substitutes if, when the price of X rises, the demand for Y rises.

Normal good

In economics, a normal good is any good for which demand increases when income increases, i.e. with a positive income elasticity of demand.

Demand curve

In economics the demand curve is the graphical representation of the relationship between the price and the quantity that consumers are willing to purchase. The curve shows how the price of a commodity or service changes as the quantity demanded increases. Every point on the curve is an amount of consumer demand and the corresponding market price. The graph shows the law of demand, which states that people will buy less of something if the price goes up and vice versa.

Price elasticity of demand (PED)

PED is a measure of the sensitivity of the quantity variable, Q, to changes in the price variable, P. Elasticity answers the question of the percent by which the quantity demanded will change relative to (divided by) a given percentage change in the price. For infinitesimal changes the formula for calculating PED is the absolute value of (∂Q/∂P)×(P/Q).

Elasticity along linear demand curve

The slope of a linear demand curve is constant. The elasticity of demand changes continuously as one moves down the demand curve because the ratio of price to quantity continuously falls. At the point the demand curve intersects the y-axis PED is infinitely elastic, because the variable Q appearing in the denominator of the elasticity formula is zero there. At the point the demand curve intersects the x-axis PED is zero, because the variable P appearing in the numerator of the elasticity formula is zero there. [2] At one point on the demand curve PED is unitary elastic: PED equals one. Above the point of unitary elasticity is the elastic range of the demand curve (meaning that the elasticity is greater than one). Below is the inelastic range, in which the elasticity is less than one. The decline in elasticity as one moves down the curve is due to the falling P/Q ratio.

Constant price elasticity demand

Constant elasticity of demand occurs when where a and c are parameters, and the constant price elasticity is

Perfectly elastic demand

Perfectly elastic demand is represented by a horizontal demand curve. Under perfect price elasticity of demand, the quantity demanded is directly correlated with the price. Any change in price would infinitely change the quantity demanded. All of the market demand for the commodity or good is only at one price. The market demand is zero at any other price. Goods with highly elastic demand are typically goods with many substitutes as well as very expensive, luxury goods. An example of a good with perfectly elastic demand would be pizza or sports cars.

Perfectly inelastic demand

Perfectly inelastic demand is represented by a vertical demand curve. Under perfect price inelasticity of demand, the price has no effect on the quantity demanded. The demand for the good remains the same regardless of how low or high the price. Goods with (nearly) perfectly inelastic demand are typically goods with no substitutes. For instance, insulin is nearly perfectly inelastic. Diabetics need insulin to survive so a change in price would not effect the quantity demanded.

Market structure and the demand curve

In perfectly competitive markets the demand curve, the average revenue curve, and the marginal revenue curve all coincide and are horizontal at the market-given price. [3] The demand curve is perfectly elastic and coincides with the average and marginal revenue curves. Economic actors are price-takers. Perfectly competitive firms have zero market power; that is, they have no ability to affect the terms and conditions of exchange. A perfectly competitive firm's decisions are limited to whether to produce and if so, how much. In less than perfectly competitive markets the demand curve is negatively sloped and there is a separate marginal revenue curve. A firm in a less than perfectly competitive market is a price-setter. The firm can decide how much to produce or what price to charge. In deciding one variable the firm is necessarily determining the other variable

Inverse demand function

In its standard form a linear demand equation is Q = a - bP. That is, quantity demanded is a function of price. The inverse demand equation, or price equation, treats price as a function g of quantity demanded: P = f(Q). To compute the inverse demand equation, simply solve for P from the demand equation. [4] For example, if the demand equation is Q = 240 - 2P then the inverse demand equation would be P = 120 - .5Q, the right side of which is the inverse demand function. [5]

The inverse demand function is useful in deriving the total and marginal revenue functions. Total revenue equals price, P, times quantity, Q, or TR = P×Q. Multiply the inverse demand function by Q to derive the total revenue function: TR = (120 - .5Q) × Q = 120Q - 0.5Q². The marginal revenue function is the first derivative of the total revenue function; here MR = 120 - Q. Note that the MR function has the same y-intercept as the inverse demand function in this linear example; the x-intercept of the MR function is one-half the value of that of the demand function, and the slope of the MR function is twice that of the inverse demand function. This relationship holds true for all linear demand equations. The importance of being able to quickly calculate MR is that the profit-maximizing condition for firms regardless of market structure is to produce where marginal revenue equals marginal cost (MC). To derive MC the first derivative of the total cost function is taken. For example, assume cost, C, equals 420 + 60Q + Q2. Then MC = 60 + 2Q. Equating MR to MC and solving for Q gives Q = 20. So 20 is the profit maximizing quantity: to find the profit-maximizing price simply plug the value of Q into the inverse demand equation and solve for P.

Residual demand curve

The demand curve facing a particular firm is called the residual demand curve. The residual demand curve is the market demand that is not met by other firms in the industry at a given price. The residual demand curve is the market demand curve D(p), minus the supply of other organizations, So(p): Dr(p) = D(p) - So(p ) [6]

Demand Function and Total Revenue

If the demand curve is linear, then it has the form: p = a - b*q, where p is the price of the good and q is the quantity demanded. The intercept of the curve and the vertical axis is represented by a, meaning the price when no quantity demanded. and b is the slope of the demand function. If the demand function has the form like that, then the Total Revenue should equal quantity demanded times the price of the good, which can be represented by: TR= q*p = q(a-bq).

Is the demand curve for PC firm really flat?

Practically every introductory microeconomics text describes the demand curve facing a perfectly competitive firm as being flat or horizontal. A horizontal demand curve is perfectly elastic. If there are n identical firms in the market then the elasticity of demand PED facing any one firm is

PEDmi = nPEDm - (n - 1) PES

where PEDm is the market elasticity of demand, PES is the elasticity of supply of each of the other firms, and (n -1) is the number of other firms. This formula suggests two things. The demand curve is not perfectly elastic and if there are a large number of firms in the industry the elasticity of demand for any individual firm will be extremely high and the demand curve facing the firm will be nearly flat. [6]

For example, assume that there are 80 firms in the industry and that the demand elasticity for industry is -1.0 and the price elasticity of supply is 3. Then

PEDmi = (80 x (-1)) - (79 x 3) = -80 - 237 = -317

That is the firm PED is 317 times as elastic as the market PED. If a firm raised its price "by one tenth of one percent demand would drop by nearly one third." [6] if the firm raised its price by three tenths of one percent the quantity demanded would drop by nearly 100%. Three tenths of one percent marks the effective range of pricing power the firm has because any attempt to raise prices by a higher percentage will effectively reduce quantity demanded to zero.

Demand management in economics

Demand management in economics is the art or science of controlling economic or aggregate demand to avoid a recession. Such management is inspired by Keynesian macroeconomics, and Keynesian economics is sometimes referred to as demand-side economics.

Different types of goods demand

Negative demand: If the market response to a product is negative, it shows that people are not aware of the features of the service and the benefits offered. Under such circumstances, the marketing unit of a service firm has to understand the psyche of the potential buyers and find out the prime reason for the rejection of the service. For example: if passengers refuse a bus conductor's call to board the bus. The service firm has to come up with an appropriate strategy to remove the misunderstandings of the potential buyers. A strategy needs to be designed to transform the negative demand into a positive demand.

No demand: If people are unaware, have insufficient information about a service or due to the consumer's indifference this type of a demand situation could occur. The marketing unit of the firm should focus on promotional campaigns and communicating reasons for potential customers to use the firm's services. Service differentiation is one of the popular strategies used to compete in a no demand situation in the market.

Latent demand: At any given time it is impossible to have a set of services that offer total satisfaction to all the needs and wants of society. In the market there exists a gap between desirables and the availables. There is always a search on for better and newer offers to fill the gap between desirability and availability. Latent demand is a phenomenon of any economy at any given time, it should be looked upon as a business opportunity by service firms and they should orient themselves to identify and exploit such opportunities at the right time. For example, a passenger traveling in an ordinary bus dreams of traveling in a luxury bus. Therefore, latent demand is nothing but the gap between desirability and availability.

Seasonal demand:Some services do not have an all year round demand, they might be required only at a certain period of time. Seasons all over the world are very diverse. Seasonal demands create many problems to service organizations, such as:- idling the capacity, fixed cost and excess expenditure on marketing and promotions. Strategies used by firms to overcome this hurdle are like - to nurture the service consumption habit of customers so as to make the demand unseasonal, or other than that firms recognize markets elsewhere in the world during the off-season period. Hence, this presents and opportunity to target different markets with the appropriate season in different parts of the world. For example, the need for Christmas cards comes around once a year. Or the, seasonal fruits in a country.

Demand patterns need to be studied in different segments of the market. Service organizations need to constantly study changing demands related to their service offerings over various time periods. They have to develop a system to chart these demand fluctuations, which helps them in predicting the demand cycles. Demands do fluctuate randomly, therefore, they should be followed on a daily, weekly or a monthly basis.

Criticism

E. F. Schumacher challenges the prevailing economic assumption that fulfilling demand is the purpose of economic activity, offering a framework of what he calls "Buddhist economics" in which wise demands, fulfilling genuine human needs, are distinguished from unwise demands, arising from the five intellectual impairments recognized by Buddhism: [7]

The cultivation and expansion of needs is the antithesis of wisdom. It is also the antithesis of freedom and peace. Every increase of needs tends to increase one’s dependence on outside forces over which one cannot have control, and therefore increases existential fear. Only by a reduction of needs can one promote a genuine reduction in those tensions which are the ultimate causes of strife and war. [8]

Demand reduction

In psychopharmacology

Demand reduction refers to efforts aimed at reducing the public desire for illegal and illicit drugs. The drug policy is in contrast to the reduction of drug supply, but the two policies are often implemented together.

In energy conservation

Energy demand management, also known as demand-side management (DSM) or demand-side response (DSR), is the modification of consumer demand for energy through various methods such as financial incentives and behavioral change through education.

See also

Notes

  1. O'Sullivan, Arthur; Sheffrin, Steven M. (2003). Economics: Principles in Action. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall. p. 79. ISBN   9780131334830.
  2. Colander, David C. Microeconomics 7th ed. pp. 132–133. McGraw-Hill 2008.
  3. The perfectly competitive firm's demand curve is not in fact flat. However, if there are numerous firms in the industry the demand curve of an individual firm is likely to be extremely elastic, for a discussion of residual demand curves see Perloff (2008) at pp. 245–246.
  4. The form of the inverse linear demand equation is P = a/b - 1/bQ.
  5. Samuelson, W & Marks, S. Managerial Economics 4th ed. p. 37. Wiley 2003.
  6. 1 2 3 Perloff, Jeffrey M. (2008). Microeconomics. pp. 243–246.
  7. E. F. Schumacher, “Buddhist Economics,” in Asia: A Handbook, Guy Wint, ed., (London: 1966).
  8. E. F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful (1973), p. 31.

Further reading

Related Research Articles

Monopoly Market structure with a single firm dominating the market

A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity. This contrasts with a monopsony which relates to a single entity's control of a market to purchase a good or service, and with oligopoly which consists of a few sellers dominating a market. Monopolies are thus characterized by a lack of economic competition to produce the good or service, a lack of viable substitute goods, and the possibility of a high monopoly price well above the seller's marginal cost that leads to a high monopoly profit. The verb monopolise or monopolize refers to the process by which a company gains the ability to raise prices or exclude competitors. In economics, a monopoly is a single seller. In law, a monopoly is a business entity that has significant market power, that is, the power to charge overly high prices. Although monopolies may be big businesses, size is not a characteristic of a monopoly. A small business may still have the power to raise prices in a small industry.

Deadweight loss

A deadweight loss, also known as excess burden or allocative inefficiency, is a loss of economic efficiency that can occur when the free market equilibrium for a good or a service is not achieved. That can be caused by monopoly pricing in the case of artificial scarcity, an externality, a tax or subsidy, or a binding price ceiling or price floor such as a minimum wage.

In economics, profit maximization is the short run or long run process by which a firm may determine the price, input, and output levels that lead to the greatest profit. Neoclassical economics, currently the mainstream approach to microeconomics, usually models the firm as maximizing profit.

In economics, elasticity is the measurement of the proportional change of an economic variable in response to a change in another. It shows how easy it is for the supplier and consumer to change their behavior and substitute another good, the strength of an incentive over choices per the relative opportunity cost.

Price elasticity of demand is a measure used in economics to show the responsiveness, or elasticity, of the quantity demanded of a good or service to a change in its price when nothing but the price changes. More precisely, it gives the percentage change in quantity demanded in response to a one percent change in price.

Price elasticity of supply measure used to show the responsiveness of the quantity supplied of a good or service to a change in its price

The price elasticity of supply is a measure used in economics to show the responsiveness, or elasticity, of the quantity supplied of a good or service to a change in its price.

Law of demand economics theorem

In microeconomics, the law of demand states that, "conditional on all else being equal, as the price of a good increases (↑), quantity demanded decreases (↓); conversely, as the price of a good decreases (↓), quantity demanded (↑)". In other words, the law of demand describes an inverse relationship between price and quantity demanded of a good. Alternatively, other things being constant, quantity demanded of a commodity is inversely related to the price of the commodity. For example, a consumer may demand 2 kilograms of apples at $70 per kg; he may, however, demand 1 kg if the price rises to $80 per kg. This has been the general human behaviour on relationship between the price of the commodity and the quantity demanded. The factors held constant refer to other determinants of demand, such as the prices of other goods and the consumer's income. There are, however, some possible exceptions to the law of demand, such as Giffen goods and Veblen goods.

Marginal revenue

In microeconomics, marginal revenue (MR) is the additional revenue that will be generated by increasing product sales by one unit.

Tax wedge

The tax wedge is the deviation from the equilibrium price/quantity as a result of the taxation of a good. Because of the tax, consumers pay more for the good than they did before the tax, and suppliers receive less for the good than they did before the tax. Put differently, the tax wedge is the difference between what consumers pay and what producers receive from a transaction. The tax effectively drives a "wedge" between the price consumers pay and the price producers receive for a product.

In economics, tax incidence or tax burden is the effect of a particular tax on the distribution of economic welfare. Economists distinguish between the entities who ultimately bear the tax burden and those on whom tax is initially imposed. The tax burden measures the true economic weight of the tax, measured by the difference between real incomes or utilities before and after imposing the tax. An individuality on whom the tax is levied does not have to bear the true size of the tax. For the example of this difference, assume a firm, that contains employer and employees. The tax imposed on the employer is divided. The concept of tax incidence was initially brought to economists' attention by the French Physiocrats, in particular François Quesnay, who argued that the incidence of all taxation falls ultimately on landowners and is at the expense of land rent. Tax incidence is said to "fall" upon the group that ultimately bears the burden of, or ultimately suffers a loss from, the tax. The key concept of tax incidence is that the tax incidence or tax burden does not depend on where the revenue is collected, but on the price elasticity of demand and price elasticity of supply. As a general policy matter, the tax incidence should not violate the principles of a desirable tax system, especially fairness and transparency.

In economics, an inverse demand function is the inverse function of a demand function. The inverse demand function views price as a function of quantity.

In economics, supply is the amount of a resource that firms, producers, labourers, providers of financial assets, or other economic agents are willing and able to provide to the marketplace or directly to another agent in the marketplace. Supply can be in currency, time, raw materials, or any other scarce or valuable object that can be provided to another agent. This is often fairly abstract. For example in the case of time, supply is not transferred to one agent from another, but one agent may offer some other resource in exchange for the first spending time doing something. Supply is often plotted graphically with the quantity provided plotted horizontally and the price plotted vertically.

In economics, derived demand is demand for a factor of production or intermediate good that occurs as a result of the demand for another intermediate or final good. In essence, the demand for, say, a factor of production by a firm is dependent on the demand by consumers for the product produced by the firm. The term was first introduced by Alfred Marshall in his Principles of Economics in 1890.

In economics, income elasticity of demand measures the responsiveness of the quantity demanded for a good or service to a change in income. It is calculated as the ratio of the percentage change in quantity demanded to the percentage change in income. For example, if in response to a 10% increase in income, the quantity demanded for a good increased by 20%, the income elasticity of demand would be 20%/10% = 2.0.

Total revenue is the total receipts a seller can obtain from selling goods or services to buyers. It can be written as P × Q, which is the price of the goods multiplied by the quantity of the sold goods.

In economics, a factor market is a market where factors of production are bought and sold, such as the labor market, the physical capital market, the market for raw materials, and the market for management or entrepreneurial resources.

A markup rule is the pricing practice of a producer with market power, where a firm charges a fixed mark-up over its marginal cost.

Monopoly price

A Monopoly price is set by a Monopoly. A monopoly occurs when a firm lacks any viable competition, and is the sole producer of the industry's product. Because a monopoly faces no competition, it has absolute market power, and thereby has the ability to set a monopoly price that will be above the firm's marginal (economic) cost. Since marginal cost is the increment in total required to produce an additional unit of the product, the firm would be able to make a positive economic profit if it produced a greater quantity of the product and sold it at a lower price.