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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

price elasticity of demand is the degree of responsiveness of a quantity demanded to the change in price of the commodity in question.
Gladys Reply
what is the importance of learning economics?
Thelma Reply
it helps to make the correct choice
Gladys
it helps firm to produce products that will bring more profit
Gladys
the difference between needs and wants
londiwe Reply
needs are things that we basically can't live without wants are just luxury things
Thelma
needs are things without them we can't live but want are things without we can live
KP
what is education
KP
it's a process in which we give or receiving methodical instructions
Thelma
what is mixed economy
Amex
what is a deadweight loss? how monopoly creates a deadweight loss?
Ashraf Reply
who are u?
Lamine
haha
Cleaford
scarm
nura
what it this
Cleaford
hi y'all
Dope
how does group chat help y'all 🤔
Dope
hi y'all
Dope
how does group chat help y'all 🤔
Dope
how does group chat help y'all 🤔
Dope
to learn from one another
Lamine
oh okay
Dope
😟
Creative
Yes
Lamine
what is type of economic
taiwo Reply
how to understand basics of economics
Aarif Reply
what is demand schedle
Princess Reply
When you make a Scedule of the demand you made
Rodeen
this is helpful for rbi grade b
Prema Reply
What is macroeconomics
Kauna Reply
It's one of the two branches of Economics that deal with the aggregate economy.
Mayen
it's about inflation, occupation, gdp and so on
alberto
What is differences between Microeconomics and Macroeconomic?
Bethrand
microeconomics focuses on the action of individual agents in the economy such as businesses, workers and household. while macroeconomics looks at the economy as a whole. it focuses on broad issues in the economy such as government deficit, economy growth, levels of exports and imports, and
Thelma
inflationary increase in prices
Thelma
a price floor of 24 imposed
Annie Reply
monopolistic competition
bintu Reply
yap
nura
any one there to answer my question
Richard Reply
Fixed Costs per week Variable Costs per bear Rent & Rates of Factory Hire & machines Heating & Lighting Repayment of Bank Loan K100.00 K45.00 K5.00 K50.00 Materials Foam Wages K6.00 K1.00 K1.00 Total K200.00 K8.00
Richard
one of the scarce resources that constrain our behaviour is time. each of us has only 24 hours in a day. how do you go about allocating your time in a given day among completing alternatives? once you choose a most important use of time. why do you not spend all your time to it. use the notion of op
naknak Reply
mohsina mala..Bangla app hobe na
Dipam Reply
mani Baba. First learn the spelling of Economics
Dipam Reply
Economics- The study of how people use their limited resources to tey and satisfy unlimited wants.
Kelly
hmmm
Mani
etar bangla apps hobe na?
Mohsina

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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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