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Negative relationship between price and quantity demanded: the higher the price, the lower the demand and vice versa

In economics, demand is the amount of any kind of goods and services that economic agents acquire by buying with the help of sufficient purchasing power at a certain purchase price. The complementary term is the offer .


Companies , private households ( consumers ) and the state with its subdivisions ( public administration , state-owned companies ) come into consideration as inquiring economic agents. Demand is at the end of the chain links lack , need , need and demand, which are often used synonymously, but can be distinguished from one another in economic terms. An objective deficiency becomes a need when it is perceived subjectively by economic subjects and there is an incentive to satisfy the need . When a subjective need becomes concrete, the economically relevant need arises. The need is the type and / or quantity of the goods and services necessary to satisfy the needs of an economic subject. Demand is the need that has become effective in a market at a specific point in time .


In 1758, the physiocrat François Quesnay assumed in the very first economic cycle model that the production of goods creates the income that is necessary for the demand for these goods. Adam Smith already pointed out in his book The Prosperity of Nations in March 1776 that only the demand of those who can pay the price of the commodity is decisive for the demand (“effective demand”; English effectual demand ). In doing so, he laid the foundation for the fact that, according to today's view, demand only becomes demand if the purchasing power is available and used.

The Saysche theorem , developed by Jean-Baptiste Say in 1803, assumed that an increased supply of goods was always offset by a correspondingly increased demand and thus there could be no lasting unemployment . Thomas Robert Malthus expressly contradicted Quesnay and Say in 1820 and countered them that increased production would only be useful if there was a demand for their products. David Ricardo emphasized in 1820 in his "Notes on Malthus" ( English Notes on Malthus ) that the demand could not be reduced by thrift ; it is merely transferred from one consumer to another. Ricardo was wrong here, because saving means renouncing consumption to dampen demand, while other economic subjects do not become customers simply because of the saving intentions of others. For Karl Marx in 1844 demand depended on the “whim of the rich and capitalists”. “Demand and supply [supply, i. Ed.] Constantly determine the prices of goods, never or only coincidentally ”. John Stuart Mill confirmed Smith's statements in 1869 in his "Principles of Political Economy".

John Maynard Keynes , in turn, went to his published in the February 1936 General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, assuming that the involuntary unemployment ( English involuntary unemployment ) by lack of demand or down rigid (wages english sticky wages ) arises because Workers do not accept wage cuts so easily or wages are secured by collective agreements .

Elasticity of demand

The influence of various factors on the level of demand can be measured using elasticity .

The direct price elasticity of demand describes the different reactions of demand to price changes. It provides information on how demand reacts to price changes. The demand can be relatively elastic, relatively inelastic, completely elastic or completely inelastic:

  • Relatively elastic demand : With a one percent increase in prices, the amount of demand decreases by more than 1%, so expenditure decreases. With a 1% decrease in prices, the amount of demand increases by more than 1%, so spending increases.
  • Relatively inelastic demand : with a one percent increase in prices, the amount of demand decreases by less than 1%, and expenditure increases. If prices are reduced by 1%, the amount of demand increases by less than 1% and expenditure decreases.
  • Totally inelastic demand : demand does not respond to price changes. If prices increase, expenses increase. If prices go down, expenses go down.
  • Completely elastic demand : if prices rise, demand falls to zero.

The income elasticity of demand indicates how the amount demanded changes with income changes. If incomes increase, the demand for so-called normal goods increases (elasticity is positive). The elasticity value indicates the extent to which the demanded amount increases. In the case of inferior goods , the elasticity of income is negative.


The needs are also known as latent demand , while the manifest demand is the actual withdrawal from the market. For example, if the market price for a good falls, some consumers who previously waived the corresponding good will now also buy this good. Other consumers may expand their consumption . "This is an additional demand that has not yet appeared and would not have appeared with a different pricing". A change in total demand is either due to the fact that previously latent demand has become effective or that previously effective demand is becoming latent. The demand that manifests itself in purchases can be measured by the providers through sales .

The highest aggregation level of demand is the aggregate demand of an economy . It is divided into the demand on sub-markets such as the demand for goods ( goods market ), money demand ( money market ), capital demand ( capital market ), labor demand ( labor market ) or the domestic demand of a domestic market as opposed to export demand .

The economic theory detects the behavior demand by demand functions , the relationship between demand and price express. According to the law of demand , the rule is that demand for a normal good decreases when its price increases. The effects of demand are known to be the behavioral effects of consumers, such as the conveyor belt effect (follower effect), the snob effect (opposing consumer behavior ), the Veblen effect (prestige consumption ) and the Giffen paradox (a special form of inverse price elasticity for inferior goods ).

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Demand  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Steffen Fleßa , Grundzüge der Krankenhausbetriebslehre , 2007, p. 33
  2. Jörg Freiling / M. Reckenfelderbäumer, Market and Entrepreneurship , 2005, p. 85 f.
  3. Wolfgang J. Koschnick, Management: Enzyklopädisches Lexikon , 1996, p. 443
  4. ^ François Quesnay, Tableau économique , 1758, p. 65 ff.
  5. ^ Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations , Volume 1, 2015, p. 31
  6. ^ Thomas Robert Malthus, Principles of Political Economy , 1820, p. 533
  7. David Ricardo, Notes on Malthus Principles of Political Economy , in: Pierro Sraffa (Ed.), The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Volume II, 1957, p. 309
  8. ^ Karl Marx, First Manuscript, Der Arbeitslohn , 1844, p. 45
  9. ^ Karl Marx, Das Kapital Volume III , MEW 25, 1865, p. 73
  10. ^ John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy , 1869, p. 111
  11. ^ John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money , 1936, p. 15
  12. Wolfgang J. Koschnick, Management: Enzyklopädisches Lexikon , 1996, p. 443
  13. ^ Herbert Jacob, The dynamic problematics of oligopoly pricing , 1954, p. 62
  14. Wolfgang Hilke , Static and Dynamic Oligopoly Models , 1973, p. 43