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# Overview

• Concept of elasticity
• Various types of elasticity
• Total revenue and elasticity
• Tax revenue and elasticity

## • Reading: Stewart & Moodie, Economic Concepts and

Applications, Third edition, Chapter 4.
The concept of elasticity

## • Elasticity is the term used in economics to explain the

sensitivity of one variable to changes in another
variable.

## • Elasticity is useful for business decision-making (e.g.

pricing, marketing) and policy making.

Price elasticity

## • Price elasticity measures the sensitivity of the dependent

variable in terms of the independent variable. For example:
the size of a corn harvest (dependent) and the amount of
rain (independent).
• It is calculated as the ratio of the percentage change in the
dependent variable if the independent variable was to
change by 1%.
Ep = percentage change in dependent variable
percentage change in independent variable

Four types of elasticity

## 1. Price elasticity of demand

2. Cross elasticity of demand
3. Income elasticity of demand
4. Price elasticity of supply

## For the purpose of this course we will focus on the

first three types of elasticity.

Price elasticity of demand

## • Price elasticity of demand measures the sensitivity of

quantity demanded by consumers to changes in price.
• It is calculated as the ratio of the percentage change
in quantity demanded of a product to a percentage
change in the price of the that product.
• The formula for price elasticity of demand is:
Ed = percentage change in quantity demanded
percentage change in price

Numerical example

## • A rock group increases ticket prices from \$25 to \$30,

and the number of seats sold falls from 20 000 to 10
000 as a result. The point elasticity of demand at a
price of \$30 would be:

∆Q P
×
∆P Q
10000 30
= ×
− 5 10000
=− 2000 ×0.003
=− 6
Point elasticity of demand

## • This numerical example’s answer is known as point

elasticity of demand seeing as the answer is
calculated for a specific price and quantity.
• Thus, in calculating the elasticity of a product at a
specific price and quantity you can use the formula

∆Q P
×
∆P Q

Arc elasticity

## • However, if you want to calculate the elasticity

between to prices you have to calculate what is known
as arc elasticity.
• To calculate arc elasticity the average of both
quantities and prices are used as the basis for
calculating the percentage change.
• Formula used for this is:

∆Q ΣP
×
∆P ΣQ
Demand Curves and Elasticity

## Elasticity is a measure of the

degree of responsiveness of
one variable (here, revenue) to
changes in another (here,
price).

Quantity

## Price elasticity of demand

measures changes in total
revenue as prices change.
Perfect elastic demand (Ed=∞)

## • Perfect elastic demand indicates that consumers will

purchase any amount of a product at a specific fixed
price.
• If the demand for a product is perfect elastic,
producers will not be able to increase their total
revenue by increasing the price seeing as soon as
they increase the price, the quantity demanded will fall
to zero.

Elastic demand (∞>Ed>1)

## • Elastic demand indicates that the percentage change in

quantity demanded is greater than the percentage change in
price.
• This means consumers are sensitive to the price change.
• If the producer increased the price by let’s say 1%, he will
loose 2% in terms of quantity demanded for his product.
• But if the producer decreased the price by 1%, he will gain
2% in terms of quantity demanded. Thus increasing his total
revenue.

Unit elastic (Ed=1)

## • Unit elasticity means that the percentage change in

quantity demanded will be equal to the percentage
change in price.
• This means if the producer increased the price by 1%,
he will loose 1% in terms of the quantity demanded.
• If the price decreased by 1%, he will gain 1% in the
quantity demanded.
• This means that it does not matter what price strategy
he follows, his total revenue will remain the same.

Inelastic demand (0<Ed<1)

## • Inelastic demand is a condition in which the

percentage change in the quantity demanded is
smaller than the percentage change in the price.
• This means consumers are not sensitive to the price
change.
• If the producer increased his price 1%, he will loose
0.5% in terms of quantity demanded.
• Thus, by increasing his price, he will loose clients but
he will still increase his total revenue.

Perfect inelastic (Ed=0)

## • Perfect inelastic demand means that consumers will

purchase a fixed quantity of the product regardless of
the price.
• This means that the producer can increase his price to
whatever level he pleases, just as long as his product
does not have satisfactory substitutes.

Determinants of Elasticity

## i. The availability of substitutes - if there are plenty of

good substitutes available consumers can easily
switch to that good or service when the price of the
one they are using increases.
ii. The extent to which the good is a necessity - a
necessity tends to be purchased despite price
increases.
iii.The proportion of income spent on the good - if only a
small proportion of income is spent on a good or
service it will be less sensitive to price changes than
big ticket items. So a high price change for a low cost
item may have little effect on demand, while a low
price change on a higher price item may have a larger
15 effect.
Elasticity and Revenue Analysis

## (i) Elastic Demand - if total revenue decreases from \$50 to

\$30 when the price of the good increases, demand for the
good is elastic.
Elastic Demand
Price (\$)

Revenue gain
\$10
Revenue loss
\$5
Demand

3 10 Quantity

Elasticity and Revenue Analysis

cont..
(ii) Inelastic Demand - if total revenue increases from \$50 to
\$60 when the price of the good increases, demand for the
good is inelastic.
Inelastic Demand
Price

Revenue gain

\$10
Revenue loss
\$5
Demand

6 10 Quantity
What is cross-elasticity of

demand?
• The ratio of the percentage change in quantity demanded of a good to a given
percentage change in price of another good:
• Cross elasticity calculations reveal whether goods are substitutes or
complements in use.
• When your answer is positive it means that a rise in the price of let’s say lamb will
lead to an increase in the quantity demanded of beef – substitutes.
• When your answer is negative it means that a rise in the price of let’s say cars will
lead to a decrease in the quantity demanded of petrol – complements.

## Ed = % change in quantity demanded of good A

% change in price of good B
What is income elasticity of

demand?
• The concept of income elasticity of demand relates the quantity
demanded of any good or service to a change in income.

% ∆Q
ey =
%∆
• If income increases and quantity Y
demanded increases
normal good (such as luxury - and necessity goods).
• If income increases and quantity demanded decreases
inferior good (such as low quality clothing and food).

Elasticity and indirect tax

## • With an indirect tax on products it is assumed that the

seller should pay the tax to the Inland Revenue
Service but they will try to pass at least some of the
tax burden on to the consumer through price
increases.
• There is no necessity that the incidence be equally
shared and by how much the supplier can increase
the price without effecting quantity demanded to much
will depend on the elasticity of the product.

Tax and inelastic demand

P
S1
S
2.70
2.00 Tax = \$1 per can

78 Q
21 Incidence on seller
Tax and elastic demand

P S1
S

400 phone
D

Q
70 100