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CONSUMERS' SURPLUS

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Definition:
Consumers' surplus is a measure of consumer welfare and is defined as the excess of social valuation of product over the price actually paid. It is measured by the area of a triangle below a demand curve and above the observed price.

Context:
Consumers' surplus is a widely used measure of consumer welfare because it only requires information on the demand curve (prices and quantities). However, there is considerable debate over the degree to which it corresponds to more theoretically appealing measures of consumer welfare. In general, consumers' surplus is more useful the lower is the income elasticity of demand.

Glossary of Industrial Organisation Economics and Competition Law, compiled by R. S. Khemani and D. M. Shapiro, commissioned by the Directorate for Financial, Fiscal and Enterprise Affairs, OECD, 1993

The difference between the price paid by an individual for a particular good or service and the maximum he would accept to pay.

United Nations, European Commission, International Monetary Fund, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Bank , 2005, Handbook of National Accounting: Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting 2003, Studies in Methods, Series F, No.61, Rev.1, Glossary, United Nations, New York, para. 9.99.

Source Publication:
Glossary of Industrial Organisation Economics and Competition Law, compiled by R. S. Khemani and D. M. Shapiro, commissioned by the Directorate for Financial, Fiscal and Enterprise Affairs, OECD, 1993.

Hyperlink:
http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/8/61/2376087.pdf

Statistical Theme: Financial statistics

Created on Thursday, January 03, 2002

Last updated on Monday, July 18, 2005