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With all of the elasticity concepts that have just been described, some of which are listed in [link] , the possibility of confusion arises. When you hear the phrases “elasticity of demand” or “elasticity of supply,” they refer to the elasticity with respect to price. Sometimes, either to be extremely clear or because a wide variety of elasticities are being discussed, the elasticity of demand or the demand elasticity will be called the price elasticity of demand or the “elasticity of demand with respect to price.” Similarly, elasticity of supply or the supply elasticity is sometimes called, to avoid any possibility of confusion, the price elasticity of supply or “the elasticity of supply with respect to price.” But in whatever context elasticity is invoked, the idea always refers to percentage change in one variable, almost always a price or money variable, and how it causes a percentage change in another variable, typically a quantity variable of some kind.

Formulas for Calculating Elasticity
Income elasticity of demand = % change in Qd % change in income
Cross-price elasticity of demand = % change in Qd of good A % change in price of good B
Wage elasticity of labor supply = % change in quantity of labor supplied % change in wage
Wage elasticity of labor demand = % change in quantity of labor demanded % change in wage
Interest rate elasticity of savings = % change in quantity of savings % change in interest rate
Interest rate elasticity of borrowing = % change in quantity of borrowing % change in interest rate

That will be how much?

How did the 60% price increase in 2011 end up for Netflix? It has been a very bumpy ride.

Before the price increase, there were about 24.6 million U.S. subscribers. After the price increase, 810,000 infuriated U.S. consumers canceled their Netflix subscriptions, dropping the total number of subscribers to 23.79 million. Fast forward to June 2013, when there were 36 million streaming Netflix subscribers in the United States. This was an increase of 11.4 million subscribers since the price increase—an average per quarter growth of about 1.6 million. This growth is less than the 2 million per quarter increases Netflix experienced in the fourth quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011.

During the first year after the price increase, the firm’s stock price (a measure of future expectations for the firm) fell from about $300 per share to just under $54. In 2015, however, the stock price is at $448 per share. Today, Netflix has 57 million subscribers in fifty countries.

What happened? Obviously, Netflix company officials understood the law of demand. Company officials reported, when announcing the price increase, this could result in the loss of about 600,000 existing subscribers. Using the elasticity of demand formula, it is easy to see company officials expected an inelastic response:

= –600,000/[(24 million + 24.6 million)/2] $6/[($10 + $16)/2] = –600,000/24.3 million $6/$13 = –0.025 0.46 = –0.05

In addition, Netflix officials had anticipated the price increase would have little impact on attracting new customers. Netflix anticipated adding up to 1.29 million new subscribers in the third quarter of 2011. It is true this was slower growth than the firm had experienced—about 2 million per quarter.

Why was the estimate of customers leaving so far off? In the 18 years since Netflix had been founded, there was an increase in the number of close, but not perfect, substitutes. Consumers now had choices ranging from Vudu, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Redbox, to retail stores. Jaime Weinman reported in Maclean’s that Redbox kiosks are “a five-minute drive for less from 68 percent of Americans, and it seems that many people still find a five-minute drive more convenient than loading up a movie online.” It seems that in 2012, many consumers still preferred a physical DVD disk over streaming video.

What missteps did the Netflix management make? In addition to misjudging the elasticity of demand, by failing to account for close substitutes, it seems they may have also misjudged customers’ preferences and tastes. Yet, as the population increases, the preference for streaming video may overtake physical DVD disks. Netflix, the source of numerous late night talk show laughs and jabs in 2011, may yet have the last laugh.

Key concepts and summary

Elasticity is a general term, referring to percentage change of one variable divided by percentage change of a related variable that can be applied to many economic connections. For instance, the income elasticity of demand is the percentage change in quantity demanded divided by the percentage change in income. The cross-price elasticity of demand is the percentage change in the quantity demanded of a good divided by the percentage change in the price of another good. Elasticity applies in labor markets and financial capital markets just as it does in markets for goods and services. The wage elasticity of labor supply is the percentage change in the quantity of hours supplied divided by the percentage change in the wage. The elasticity of savings with respect to interest rates is the percentage change in the quantity of savings divided by the percentage change in interest rates.


Abkowitz, A. “How Netflix got started: Netflix founder and CEO Reed Hastings tells Fortune how he got the idea for the DVD-by-mail service that now has more than eight million customers.” CNN Money . Last Modified January 28, 2009. http://archive.fortune.com/2009/01/27/news/newsmakers/hastings_netflix.fortune/index.htm.

Associated Press (a). ”Analyst: Coinstar gains from Netflix pricing moves.” Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC . Accessed June 24, 2013. http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2011/10/12/analyst_coinstar_gains_from_netflix_pricing_moves/.

Associated Press (b). “Netflix loses 800,000 US subscribers in tough 3Q.” ABC Inc . Accessed June 24, 2013. http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/business&id=8403368

Baumgardner, James. 2014. “Presentation on Raising the Excise Tax on Cigarettes: Effects on Health and the Federal Budget.” Congressional Budget Office. Accessed March 27, 2015. http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/45214-ICA_Presentation.pdf.

Funding Universe. 2015. “Netflix, Inc. History.” Accessed March 11, 2015. http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/netflix-inc-history/.

Laporte, Nicole. “A tale of two Netflix.” Fast Company 177 (July 2013) 31-32. Accessed December 3 2013. http://www.fastcompany-digital.com/fastcompany/20130708?pg=33#pg33

Liedtke, Michael, The Associated Press. “Investors bash Netflix stock after slower growth forecast - fee hikes expected to take toll on subscribers most likely to shun costly bundled Net, DVD service.” The Seattle Times . Accessed June 24, 2013 from NewsBank on-line database (Access World News).

Netflix, Inc. 2013. “A Quick Update On Our Streaming Plans And Prices.” Netflix (blog). Accessed March 11, 2015. http://blog.netflix.com/2014/05/a-quick-update-on-our-streaming-plans.html.

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECC). n.d. “Average annual hours actually worked per worker.” Accessed March 11, 2015. https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=ANHRS.

Savitz, Eric. “Netflix Warns DVD Subs Eroding; Q4 View Weak; Losses Ahead; Shrs Plunge.” Forbes.com , 2011. Accessed December 3, 2013. http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericsavitz/2011/10/24/netflix-q3-top-ests-but-shares-hit-by-weak-q4-outlook/.

Statistica.com. 2014. “Coffee Export Volumes Worldwide in November 2014, by Leading Countries (in 60-kilo sacks).” Accessed March 27, 2015. http://www.statista.com/statistics/268135/ranking-of-coffee-exporting-countries/.

Stone, Marcie. “Netflix responds to customers angry with price hike; Netflix stock falls 9%.” News&Politics Examiner , 2011. Clarity Digital Group. Accessed June 24, 2013. http://www.examiner.com/article/netflix-responds-to-customers-angry-with-price-hike-netflix-stock-falls-9.

Weinman, J. (2012). Die hard, hardly dying. Maclean's, 125(18), 44.

The World Bank Group. 2015. “Gross Savings (% of GDP).” Accessed March 11, 2015. http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNS.ICTR.ZS.

Yahoo Finance. Retrieved from http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=NFLX

Questions & Answers

what is Economic
Dauda Reply
what is 4ps of economic?
thomas Reply
production place Price product
Criticism of elasticity
Siddikur Reply
what is unemployment
Gyamfi Reply
ohk thanks
why is unemployment rapid in the country
I need more explanation
what is unemployment
Munanag Reply
not working
some one who is willing qualified to work but can't find job
Bethel...explain? please
some one who is willing to work but can't find job
Yes true
which one please
unemployment refers to the ability for someone who is capable and willing to work but could not find a job..
some one who not able to find a job
please what is the secret of learning?
What is stock market?
JOHN Reply
explain the various types of cost curve
Ruth Reply
Short-run average fixed cost (SRAFC) Short-run average total cost (SRAC or SRATC) Short-run average variable cost (AVC or SRAVC) Short-run fixed cost (FC or SRFC) Short-run marginal cost (SRMC) Short-run total cost (SRTC)
what's economic development and growth
Popoola Reply
what do you understand by Ceteris Paribus?
Gabriel Reply
the external factor will remained constant, except the price
explain the uses of microeconomics
Nikita Reply
uses of microeconomics
Adam Smith's definition of economics
Sylvia Reply
what is economic deficit
this is a situation whereby a nation's outcome or available resources are not enough to the people thereby causing scarcity
prices of Quality demanded is equal to Quality supplied
it's quantity demand and quantity supplied that's called equilibrium
they deal With prices
define the elasticity
explain different types of elasticity
oops 😬 you are right you talk about quality I tell about quantity
elasticity is the measurement of the percentage change of one economic variable in response to a change in another
Cross Elasticity of Demand (XED) Income Elasticity of Demand (YED) Price Elasticity of Supply (PES)
anything else?
I need to know everything about theory of consumer behavior
Romy, what is microeconomic?
How does one analyze a market where both demand and supply shift?
Gabriel Reply
That's equilibrium market
but an equlibrum can appear twice on the same market... both in Movement along the Demand/supply curve of shift in the Curve
I Mean on the same curve..
how can consumer surplus be calculated
How can we analyze the effect on demand or supply if multiple factors are changing at the same time—say price rises and income falls? 
Gabriel Reply
because of fall of income, less will be demanded and much will be supply as a result of price rises. Rise in price always motivate new supplier to enter into the system. But it only possible in the short run
yeah.. I think Ceteris Paribus is applied in this case
that is the law of Demand is Inversely related to the law of Supply... so that mean a positive change in demand may produce a negative return to supply I think.
what are the difference between Wants and Needs
Gabriel Reply
When the price is above the equilibrium, explain how market forces move the market price to equilibrium. Do the same when the price is below the equilibrium.
economic problems
yeah please Explain
I don't know this is my question
no it was a mistake...😂😂 can you explain how Wants and needs differs 😌
wants is what human desire but might not need them, human want are mostly articles of ostentatious while need is what human must get to live e.g inferior goods
what's equilibrium price
equilibrium prices is a situation whereby the price of goods supplied equates to the demand
this whereby the prices of quality demanded is equivalent to quality demanded
wants are numerous desire man that man can do without if not purchased e.g. cosmetic while need are desires that you cannot do without e.g. food
equilibrium price is that level of output were quantity demanded is equal to quantity supplied

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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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