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Consumer welfare refers to the individual benefits derived from the consumption of goods and services. In theory, individual welfare is defined by an individual's own assessment of his/her satisfaction, given prices and income. Exact measurement of consumer welfare therefore requires information about individual preferences.

In practice, applied welfare economics uses the notion of consumer surplus to measure consumer welfare. When measured over all consumers, consumers' surplus is a measure of aggregate consumer welfare. In anti-trust applications, some argue that the goal is to maximize consumers' surplus, while others argue that producer benefits should also be counted.

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.

Cross References:
Consumers' surplus
Deadweight welfare loss


Statistical Theme: Financial statistics

Created on Thursday, January 3, 2002

Last updated on Friday, March 15, 2002