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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Contrast consumer surplus, producer surplus, and social surplus
  • Explain why price floors and price ceilings can be inefficient
  • Analyze demand and supply as a social adjustment mechanism

The familiar demand and supply diagram holds within it the concept of economic efficiency. One typical way that economists define efficiency is when it is impossible to improve the situation of one party without imposing a cost on another. Conversely, if a situation is inefficient, it becomes possible to benefit at least one party without imposing costs on others.

Efficiency in the demand and supply model has the same basic meaning: The economy is getting as much benefit as possible from its scarce resources and all the possible gains from trade have been achieved. In other words, the optimal amount of each good and service is being produced and consumed.

Consumer surplus, producer surplus, social surplus

Consider a market for tablet computers, as shown in [link] . The equilibrium price is $80 and the equilibrium quantity is 28 million. To see the benefits to consumers, look at the segment of the demand curve above the equilibrium    point and to the left. This portion of the demand curve shows that at least some demanders would have been willing to pay more than $80 for a tablet.

For example, point J shows that if the price was $90, 20 million tablets would be sold. Those consumers who would have been willing to pay $90 for a tablet based on the utility they expect to receive from it, but who were able to pay the equilibrium price of $80, clearly received a benefit beyond what they had to pay for. Remember, the demand curve traces consumers’ willingness to pay for different quantities. The amount that individuals would have been willing to pay, minus the amount that they actually paid, is called consumer surplus    . Consumer surplus is the area labeled F—that is, the area above the market price and below the demand curve.

Consumer and producer surplus

The graph shows consumer surplus above the equilibrium and producer surplus beneath the equilibrium.
The somewhat triangular area labeled by F shows the area of consumer surplus, which shows that the equilibrium price in the market was less than what many of the consumers were willing to pay. Point J on the demand curve shows that, even at the price of $90, consumers would have been willing to purchase a quantity of 20 million. The somewhat triangular area labeled by G shows the area of producer surplus, which shows that the equilibrium price received in the market was more than what many of the producers were willing to accept for their products. For example, point K on the supply curve shows that at a price of $45, firms would have been willing to supply a quantity of 14 million.

The supply curve shows the quantity that firms are willing to supply at each price. For example, point K in [link] illustrates that, at $45, firms would still have been willing to supply a quantity of 14 million. Those producers who would have been willing to supply the tablets at $45, but who were instead able to charge the equilibrium price of $80, clearly received an extra benefit beyond what they required to supply the product. The amount that a seller is paid for a good minus the seller’s actual cost is called producer surplus    . In [link] , producer surplus is the area labeled G—that is, the area between the market price and the segment of the supply curve below the equilibrium.

Questions & Answers

Compare and contrast between Natural and Artificial Resources and their ultimate impacts in an economy. Give one example to support your discussion.
Angela Reply
Exemple: Diamant or uranium, fer, calcaire
how does interest rate affect aggregate output
kelvin Reply
what is Keynesian theory
need a curves for typical isoquost and isoquant
what is isoquant
isoquat is a curve shows differnt combinations of two inputs which can produce same level of output
examples of giffen goods
then what isoquost
, if the price of an essential food staple, such as rice, rises it may mean that consumers have less money to buy more expensive foods, so they will actually be forced to buy more rice.
that's an example
majid Khan that's the wrong definition of isoquant
you are defining isocost
isocost curve is a locus of points that shows the different combinations of commodities purchased by a consumer with a fixed budget
The change in fiscal policy leads to an increased level of output and interest rates is because an increase in government expenses directly affects aggregate demand. A decline in taxes result in more disposable income, consequently leading to a rise in consumption expenditure.
dats for kelvin
dats d answer for the audio how does interest rate affect aggregate output
question not audio
u are right joker
what is journal entry?
explain the nature of economics
Matilda Reply
interpret micro economic issues
ito ang dami ng producto na nais handa at kanyang ibenta ng isang prodyuser
Jomar Reply
i dont understand
even I also don't understand ..this language.. vn I converse everybody say farzana ur language is not understood by all user? now no one there is question about it?
he is saying that "this is the amount of product it wants to be ready and sells by a producer"
I Merr has knowledge,which is the economiccircuit role in a society
What is diminishing returns?
Shadrach Reply
explain competitive demand
the demand that are compiting for sale. the buyer can substitute one for another good
the demand where commodities fight for the market. in this type of demand, commodities can be substituted for the most suitable one subject to ( price, consumers choice, consumers income etc)
Demand is said to be competitive when a commodity that is needed to satisfy wants in place of another similar goods. increase in price of a commodity X will result in increase in demand of the substitute (commmodity Y).
examples of giffen goods are garri (cassava), maize
yusuf Reply
what is Public Finance?
kweku Reply
it's basically the field of economics that deals with the government's involvement in the economy; from spending to maybe interest rate manipulation, etc.
examples of giffen goods
i want to get the solutions of problems how i get kindly give guidance
Syeda Reply
please give some suggestions about getting solutions of all chapters...
hard work
and the grace of God
knowledge skills
Syeda Economics is difficult. No all fields are difficult
what is Keynesian
Keynesian economics is the theory proposed by Keynes( an economist). He proposed to manipulate demand side factors to bring economy out of depression in 1930s.
whose totaly oppossid the government intervention and give importance to agreegad demand
Good afternoon my fellow forum brothers and sisters
Abdullahi Reply
no just want to know true God
Good afternoon!!
hey is there somebody single n young like me bcoz I'm looking for
what is facing trade offs
Nancy Reply
It is giving up a commodity to purchase another commodity
for example, when we have two commodities like chicken and turkey you can trade off of give up chicken to purchase turkey
that can also be called foregone goods
it like opportunity cost
it's like trade by batter
Do you transform into thesecourses, in french people?
I can just speak french andI can just speak french and no english
what is elastic
Tida Reply
elastic is the change in to price and change in demand
Is the percentage change in quantity demand and quantity supply.
Or percentage change in price of demand and supply
Robert Mensah you are explaining elasticity of demand
robert i think he talk about elastic releated to elasticity of price a proportionate change in price over qd
can anyone explain what happrn her i don't understand anything
is the percentage change in demand as price change
sometimes price is elastic,inelastic
price elasticity is different from price being elastic
elasticity is not always the percentage change in demand as a result of changes in price. there's income elasticity and cross elasticity so it's not necessarily always price
elastic is when a change in price of a commodity results in a relatively a larger proportion change in the quantity demand of the commodity
what is inelastic
Tida Reply
price is said to be inelastic when it is less than 1
what is national income accounting
Aisha Reply
National income is the income earned by all factors of production..
So this benefits the workers or the businesses?
Like whose income are we talking about here
what is multiplier
Good & services manufactured in a country with in one year is calld national income
incom earned by using of sources of production is national income while i dont know the accounting insuch
neil and aisha can u explain the turm accounting in such question
I think when we include accounting national income accounting is the measurement of total goods and services produced in an economy in a given period of time
what is mutual funds
Khalid Reply
it is a combination of financial securities such as treasury bills , bonds etc in one managed by an institution that individuals and firms invest in for profit. it is usually a long term investment and is seen as a low risk investment because the financial instruments invested in, are diversified.
A mutual fund is a professional managed investment that pools money from many investors to invest.

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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