Calculate the price elasticity of demandCalculate the price elasticity that supplyCalculate the earnings elasticity that demand and the cross-price elasticity of demandApply principles of price elasticity to real-world situations
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That will certainly Be just how Much?

Imagine walking to your favorite coffee shop and also having the waiter educate you the pricing has actually changed. Rather of $3 for a cup of coffee through cream and also sweetener, friend will now be charged $2 for a black coffee, $1 for creamer, and $1 for your an option of sweetener. If you want to pay your usual $3 because that a cup the coffee, you must choose between creamer and also sweetener. If you desire both, girlfriend now confront an extra charge of $1. Sound absurd? Well, that is the case Netflix customers found themselves in 2011 – a 60% price hike to maintain the exact same service.

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In early 2011, Netflix consumer paid about $10 a month for a package consisting that streaming video and DVD rentals. In July 2011, the firm announced a packaging change. Client wishing to maintain both streaming video clip and DVD rental would certainly be charged $15.98 per month – a price rise of around 60%. In 2014, Netflix likewise raised the streaming video clip subscription price from $7.99 to $8.99 per month for new U.S. Customers. The agency also readjusted its plan of 4K streaming content from $9.00 come $12.00 per month the year.

How did client of the 18-year-old firm react? go they abandon Netflix? how much will this price adjust affect the demand for Netflix’s products? The answers come those questions will be explored in this chapter through a ide economists contact elasticity.


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Anyone who has actually studied economics knows the legislation of demand: a higher price will result in a reduced quantity demanded. What you may not recognize is how much lower the quantity demanded will be. Similarly, the law of supply reflects that a higher price will cause a higher quantity supplied. The question is: exactly how much higher? This topic will define how come answer this questions and also why they space critically essential in the real world.

To discover answers to these questions, we require to know the concept of elasticity. Elasticity is one economics concept that actions the responsiveness that one variable to alters in one more variable. Expect you drop two items from a second-floor balcony. The first item is a tennis ball, and also the 2nd item is a brick. Which will bounce higher? Obviously, the tennis ball. We would say that the tennis round has better elasticity.

But how is this degree of responsiveness seen in our models? Both the demand and supply curve show the relationship in between price and quantity, and also elasticity can improve our expertise of this relationship.

The own price elasticity the demand is the percentage readjust in the quantity demanded of a good or organization divided by the percentage readjust in the price. This shows the responsiveness the the amount demanded come a adjust in price.

The own price elasticity of supply is the percentage change in quantity supplied divided through the percentage readjust in price. This mirrors the responsiveness of quantity supplied come a readjust in price.

Our formula because that elasticity, \frac\%\Delta Quantity\%\Delta Price, have the right to be supplied for many elasticity problems, we just use various prices and quantities for different situations.

Why percentages are counter-intuitive

Recall that the streamlined formula for percentage readjust is \fracNew\;Value-Old\;ValueOld\;Value, additionally written as \frac\Delta ValueOld\;Value.

Suppose over there is boost in amount demanded from 4 coffees to 6 coffees. Calculating percentage readjust (\frac\left(6-4\right)4) there has actually been a 50% boost in quantity demanded. Making use of the very same numbers, consider what happens when quantity inquiry decreases indigenous 6 coffees to 4 coffees, (\frac\left(4-6\right)6) this change results in a 33% to decrease in quantity demanded.

Right away, this have to raise a red flag around calculating the elasticity in between at two points, if percentage adjust is dependant top top the direction (A to B or B come A) then how deserve to we ensure a continuous elasticity value?

Figure 4.1a

Let’s calculate elasticity from both perspectives:

Moving indigenous A come B: 

%ΔPrice: The coffee price falls from $4.50 to $3.00, an interpretation the percentage change is \frac\left(3.00-4.50\right)4.50 = -33%. Price has fallen by 33%.

%ΔQuantity: The quantity of coffee sold rises from 4 come 6, definition the percentage change is \frac\left(6-4\right)4 = 50%. Quantity has actually risen by 50%

Elasticity: \frac\%\Delta Quantity\%\Delta Price=-\frac50\%33\% = 1.5*

Moving from B to A: 

%ΔPrice: The coffee price rises native $3.00 come $4.50, meaning the portion change is \frac\left(4.50-3.00\right)3.00 = 50%. Price has actually risen through 50%.

%ΔQuantity:The quantity of coffee marketed falls from 6 to 4, definition the percentage readjust is \frac\left(4-6\right)6 = -33%. Quantity has actually fallen by 33%

Elasticity: \frac\%\Delta Quantity\%\Delta Price=\frac33\%50\% = 0.67

These two calculations provide us different numbers. This kind of analysis would make elasticity topic to direction which adds unnecessary complication. To protect against this, us will instead rely ~ above averages.

*Note that elasticity is an pure value, an interpretation it is not impacted by confident of an unfavorable values.

Mid-point Method

To calculation elasticity, instead of using simple percentage alters in quantity and also price, financial experts use the mean percent change. This is dubbed the mid-point an approach for elasticity, and also is represented in the complying with equations:

= l}\%\;change\;in\;quantity & \frac Q _ 2 - Q _ 1 ( Q _ 2 + Q _ 1 )/2 \times 100 \\<1em> \%\;change\;in\;price & \frac p _ 2 - ns _ 1 ( ns _ 2 + ns _ 1 )/2 \times 100 \endarray

The advantage of the mid-point method is the one obtains the exact same elasticity between two price clues whether over there is a price rise or decrease. This is because the denominator is an median rather than the old value.

Using the mid-point an approach to calculate the elasticity between allude A and allude B:

= l\%\;change\;in\;quantity & \frac 6 - 4 ( 6 + 4 )/2 \times 100 \\<1em> & \frac 2 5 \times 100 \\<1em> & 40\% \\<1em> \%\;change\;in\;price & \frac 3.00 - 4.50 ( 3.00 + 4.50 )/2 \times 100 \\<1em> & \frac -1.50 3.75 \times 100 \\<1em> & -40\% \\<1em> Price\;Elasticity\;of\;Demand & \frac 40\% 40\% \\<1em> & 1 \endarray

This technique gives united state a sort of median elasticity of demand over two points on ours curve. Notice that our elasticity of 1 falls in-between the elasticities the 0.67 and also 1.52 that we calculated in the previous example.

Point-Slope Formula

In number 4.1a us were given two points and also looked at elasticity as movements follow me a curve. As we will check out in subject 4.3, that is often useful to see elasticity at a solitary point. To calculation this, we need to derive a brand-new equation.

\frac\%\Delta Quantity\%\Delta Price=Elasticity

Since we understand that a percentage adjust in price can be rewritten as 

\frac\Delta PricePrice

and a percentage readjust in quantity to

\frac\Delta QuantityQuantity

we can rearrange the initial equation as 

\frac\frac\Delta QuantityQuantity\frac\Delta PricePrice

which is the same as saying

\frac\Delta Quantity\cdot Price\Delta Price\cdot Quantity=\frac\Delta Q\Delta P\cdot \fracPQ

This offers us our point-slope formula. How do we use it to calculation the elasticity at allude A? The P/Q section of our equation corresponds to the values at the point, which are $4.5 and 4. The ΔQ/ ΔP synchronizes to the inverse slope of the curve. Recall steep is calculated as rise/run.

In figure 4.1, the steep is \frac3-4.56-4 = 0.75, which means the station is 1/0.75 = 1.33. Plugging this details into our equation, we get:

\frac\Delta Q\Delta P\cdot \fracPQ

1.33\cdot \frac4.54 = 1.5

This analysis gives united state elasticity together a solitary point. An alert that this provides us the exact same number as calculating elasticity from suggest A come B. This is no a coincidence. As soon as we are calculating from point A to point B, we room actually just calculating the elasticity at allude A, because we are using the worths on allude A as the denominator because that our percent change. Similarly from suggest B to allude A, we are calculating the elasticity at allude B. As soon as we use the mid-point method, we are simply taking an median of the 2 points. This solidifies the truth that there is a different elasticity in ~ every suggest on ours line, a ide that will be necessary when we comment on revenue.

Not yes, really So Different

Even despite mid-point and also Point-Slope show up to be reasonably different formulas, mid-point can be rewritten to display how comparable the two really are.

\frac\frac\Delta Q(Q1+Q2)/2\frac\Delta P(P1+P2)/2\frac\frac\Delta QQ1+Q2\frac\Delta PP1+P2

Remember that once a fraction is split by a fraction, you deserve to rearrange it come a fraction multiplied through the inverse of the denominator fraction.

= \frac\Delta Q\Delta P\cdot \frac\left(P1+P2\right)\left(Q1+Q2\right)

Notice that contrasted to point-slope: \frac\Delta Q\Delta P\cdot \fracPQ, the only difference is the point-slope is the train station of the slope multiplied by a single point, vice versa, mid-point is the station of the slope multiplied by lot of points. This reinforces the conclusion the mid-point represents an average.

Other Elasticities

Remember, elasticity is the responsiveness of one change to alters in an additional variable. This means it deserve to be used to more that simply the price-quantity relationship of our market model. In object 3 we disputed how items can it is in inferior/normal or substitutes/complements. Us will study this even further once we introduce consumer theory, however for now we can build our understanding by applying what us know around elasticities.

Own-price elasticity of supply (ePS)

Our evaluation of elasticity has been centred roughly demand, but the same principles use to the it is provided curve. Vice versa, elasticity of demand measures responsiveness of amount demanded come a price change, own-price elasticity the supply measures the responsiveness of quantity supplied. The more elastic a firm, the much more it can increase production as soon as prices space rising, and also decrease its production when prices room falling. Our equation is as follows:

\frac\%\Delta Q\;Supplied\%\Delta P

Own-price elasticity the supply deserve to be calculated using mid-point and point-slope formula in the same way as for ePD.

Cross-price elasticity of need (eXPD)

Whereas the own-price elasticity of demand measures the responsiveness of amount to a items own price, cross-price elasticity of demand reflects us just how quantity need responds to transforms in the price of related goods. Whereas prior to we can ignore positives and also negatives with elasticities, through cross-price, this matters. Our equation is as follows:

\frac\%\Delta Q\;Good A\%\Delta P\;Good B

Consider our conversation of complements and substitutes in subject 3.3. We characterized complements as items that individuals prefer to consume with one more good, and also substitutes as products individuals like to consume rather of one more good. If the price that a enhance rises our demand will fall, if the price the a substitute rises our demand will rise. For cross-price elasticity this means:

A complement will have actually a negative cross-price elasticity, due to the fact that if the % readjust in price is positive, the % readjust in quantity will be an unfavorable and vice-versa.

A substitute will have actually a positive cross-price elasticity, because if the % change in price is positive, the % adjust in quantity will be positive and vice-versa.

This adds another dimension come our conversation of complements/substitutes. Now we can talk about the toughness of the relationship in between two goods. For example, a cross-price elasticity that -4 argues an individual strong prefers come consume two products together, compared to a cross-price elasticity that -0.5. This might represent the cross-price elasticity of a customer for a warm dog, through respect to ketchup and also relish. The consumer might strongly favor to consume hot dogs through ketchup, and also loosely prefers relish.

Income elasticity of need (eND)

In object 3 we additionally explained how items can be regular or inferior relying on how a customer responds come a change in income. This responsiveness can additionally be measured with elasticity through the income elasticity of demand. Our equation is as follows:

\frac\%\Delta Q\%\Delta Income

As with cross-price elasticity, whether our elasticity is optimistic or negative provides beneficial information around how the consumer views the good:

A typical good will have actually a positive income elasticity, due to the fact that if the % readjust in income is positive, the % adjust in quantity will be positive and vice-versa.

A worse good will have a negative income elasticity, due to the fact that if the % adjust in income is positive, the % change in quantity will it is in negative and vice-versa.

The value of ours elasticity will indicate exactly how responsive a good is come a readjust in income. A good with an income elasticity of 0.05, if technically a normal good (since need increases after an increase in income) is not practically as responsive as one with an revenue elasticity of need of 5.

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Elasticity is a measure up of responsiveness, calculation by the percentage change in one variable split by the percentage adjust in another.

Both mid-point and point-slope recipe are important for calculating elasticity in different situations. Mid-point provides an typical of elasticities in between two points, vice versa, point-slope provides the elasticity in ~ a specific point. These deserve to be calculated with the complying with formulas:

Base FormulaMid-Point FormulaPoint-Slope Formula
\frac\%\Delta Quantity\%\Delta Price\frac\Delta Q\Delta P\cdot \frac\left(P1+P2\right)\left(Q1+Q2\right) \frac\Delta Q\Delta P\cdot \fracPQ

Since elasticity measures responsiveness, the can additionally be offered to measure up the own-price elasticity the supply, the cross-price elasticity of demand, and also the income elasticity that demand. These have the right to be calculated v the following formulas:

Own-Price Elasticity that SupplyCross-Price Elasticity the DemandIncome Elasticity that Demand
\frac\%\Delta Q\;Supplied\%\Delta P\frac\%\Delta Q\;Good A\%\Delta P\;Good B\frac\%\Delta Q\%\Delta Income