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Market Demand, Elasticity, and Firm Revenue

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From Individual to Market Demand Functions Think of an economy containing n consumers, denoted by i = 1, …,n. Consumer i’s demand function for commodity j is

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From Individual to Market Demand Functions The market demand function for commodity j is If all consumers are identical then where M = nm.

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From Individual to Market Demand Functions The market demand curve is the “horizontal sum” of the individual consumers’ demand curves. E.g. suppose there are only two consumers; i = A,B.

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From Individual to Market Demand Functions p1p1 p1p1 2015 p1’p1’ p1”p1” p1’p1’ p1”p1”

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From Individual to Market Demand Functions p1p1 p1p1 p1p1 2015 p1’p1’ p1”p1” p1’p1’ p1”p1” p1’p1’

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From Individual to Market Demand Functions p1p1 p1p1 p1p1 2015 p1’p1’ p1”p1” p1’p1’ p1”p1” p1’p1’ p1”p1”

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From Individual to Market Demand Functions p1p1 p1p1 p1p1 2015 35 p1’p1’ p1”p1” p1’p1’ p1”p1” p1’p1’ p1”p1” The “horizontal sum” of the demand curves of individuals A and B.

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Elasticities Elasticity measures the “sensitivity” of one variable with respect to another. The elasticity of variable x with respect to variable y is

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Economic Applications of Elasticity Economists use elasticities to measure the sensitivity of quantity demanded of commodity i with respect to the price of commodity i (own-price elasticity of demand) demand for commodity i with respect to the price of commodity j (cross-price elasticity of demand).

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Economic Applications of Elasticity demand for commodity i with respect to income (income elasticity of demand) quantity supplied of commodity i with respect to the price of commodity i (own-price elasticity of supply)

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Economic Applications of Elasticity quantity supplied of commodity i with respect to the wage rate (elasticity of supply with respect to the price of labor) and many, many others.

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Own-Price Elasticity of Demand Q: Why not use a demand curve’s slope to measure the sensitivity of quantity demanded to a change in a commodity’s own price?

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Own-Price Elasticity of Demand X1*X1* 550 10 slope = - 2 slope = - 0.2 p1p1 p1p1 In which case is the quantity demanded X 1 * more sensitive to changes to p 1 ? X1*X1*

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Own-Price Elasticity of Demand 550 10 slope = - 2 slope = - 0.2 p1p1 p1p1 X1*X1* X1*X1* In which case is the quantity demanded X 1 * more sensitive to changes to p 1 ?

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Own-Price Elasticity of Demand 550 10 slope = - 2 slope = - 0.2 p1p1 p1p1 10-packsSingle Units X1*X1* X1*X1* In which case is the quantity demanded X 1 * more sensitive to changes to p 1 ?

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Own-Price Elasticity of Demand 550 10 slope = - 2 slope = - 0.2 p1p1 p1p1 10-packsSingle Units X1*X1* X1*X1* In which case is the quantity demanded X 1 * more sensitive to changes to p 1 ? It is the same in both cases.

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Own-Price Elasticity of Demand Q: Why not just use the slope of a demand curve to measure the sensitivity of quantity demanded to a change in a commodity’s own price? A: Because the value of sensitivity then depends upon the (arbitrary) units of measurement used for quantity demanded.

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Own-Price Elasticity of Demand is a ratio of percentages and so involves no units of measurement. Hence own-price elasticity of demand is a sensitivity measure that is independent of units of measurement.

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Own-Price Elasticity of Demand Since demand curves are generally downward sloping, the price elasticity will most of the times be negative. So we often take the absolute value.

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Own-Price Elasticity of Demand Elasticity depends on the necessity of the good, availability of substitutes (and switching costs to them), complements, its share in the consumer’s expenditure, time availability, short versus long-run, …

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Examples of Own-Price Elasticities Alimentação0.63 Vestuário0.51 Sapatos0.70 Transporte0.60 Habitação0.56 Cuidados médicos0.80 Artigos de toilette2.42 Artigos desportivos2.40 Taxi1.24 Flores, sementes e plantas2.70 Teatro, Ópera0.18 Electricidade1.20 Fontes: Economics, Dornbush e Fisher, McGraw-Hill, e Microeconomics and Behavior, Frank, McGraw-Hill.

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Arc and Point Elasticities An “average” own-price elasticity of demand for commodity i over an interval of values for p i is an arc- elasticity, usually computed by a mid-point formula. Elasticity computed for a single value of p i is a point elasticity.

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Point Own-Price Elasticity Own-price elasticity is not constant along a linear demand curve. It declines in absolute value as price decreases and quantity demanded increases.

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Point Own-Price Elasticity pipi Xi*Xi* a p i = a - bX i * a/b a/2 a/2b own-price elastic ( >1) own-price inelastic ( <1) (own-price unit elastic)

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Point Own-Price Elasticity E.g.Then (a<0) so

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Point Own-Price Elasticity pipi Xi*Xi* everywhere along the demand curve

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Revenue and Own-Price Elasticity of Demand If raising a commodity’s price causes little decrease in quantity demanded, then sellers’ revenues rise. Hence own-price inelastic demand causes sellers’ revenues to rise as price rises.

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Revenue and Own-Price Elasticity of Demand If raising a commodity’s price causes a large decrease in quantity demanded, then sellers’ revenues fall. Hence own-price elastic demand causes sellers’ revenues to fall as price rises.

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Revenue and Own-Price Elasticity of Demand Sellers’ revenue is

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Revenue and Own-Price Elasticity of Demand Sellers’ revenue is So

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Revenue and Own-Price Elasticity of Demand Sellers’ revenue is So

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Revenue and Own-Price Elasticity of Demand Sellers’ revenue is So

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Revenue and Own-Price Elasticity of Demand

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so ifthen and a change to price does not alter sellers’ revenue.

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Revenue and Own-Price Elasticity of Demand but ifthen and a price increase raises sellers’ revenue.

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Revenue and Own-Price Elasticity of Demand And ifthen and a price increase reduces sellers’ revenue.

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Revenue and Own-Price Elasticity of Demand In summary: Own-price inelastic demand: price rise causes rise in sellers’ revenue. Own-price unit elastic demand: price rise causes no change in sellers’ revenue. Own-price elastic demand: price rise causes fall in sellers’ revenue.

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Marginal Revenue and Own-Price Elasticity of Demand A seller’s marginal revenue is the rate at which revenue changes with the number of units sold by the seller.

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Marginal Revenue and Own-Price Elasticity of Demand p(q) denotes the seller’s inverse demand function; i.e. the price at which the seller can sell q units. Then so

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Marginal Revenue and Own-Price Elasticity of Demand and so

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Marginal Revenue and Own-Price Elasticity of Demand says that the rate at which a seller’s revenue changes with the number of units it sells depends on the sensitivity of quantity demanded to price; i.e., upon the own-price elasticity of demand.

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Selling one more unit raises the seller’s revenue. Selling one more unit reduces the seller’s revenue. Selling one more unit does not change the seller’s revenue. Marginal Revenue and Own-Price Elasticity of Demand Ifthen Ifthen Ifthen

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Marginal Revenue and Own-Price Elasticity of Demand An example with linear inverse demand: Then and

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Marginal Revenue and Own-Price Elasticity of Demand a a/b p qa/2b

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Marginal Revenue and Own-Price Elasticity of Demand a a/b p qa/2b q $ a/ba/2b R(q)

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Income Elasticity Inferior good: income elasticity<0 Necessity: 0

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Examples of Income Elasticity Automobiles2.46 Furniture1.48 Restaurant meals1.40 Tobacco0.64 Gasoline0.48 Margarine - 0.20 Pork products - 0.20 Public transportation - 0.36 Source: Microeconomics and Behavior, Frank, McGraw-Hill.

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Cross-Price Elasticities Substitutes: cross-price elasticity > 0 Complements: cross-price elasticity < 0 Independents: cross-price elasticity = 0

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Examples of Cross-Price Elasticities For Butter with respect to the price of Margarine 0.81 For Beef with respect to Pork 0.28 For Entertainment with respect to Food - 0.72 Source: Microeconomics and Behavior, Frank, McGraw-Hill.

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© 2010 W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 15 Market Demand.

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