If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content

Determinants of elasticity example

Walk through the logic of determining what kind of good has the most elastic demand in this video.

Want to join the conversation?

  • blobby green style avatar for user justsky
    can cigarettes be price elastic? as a decrease in price of cigarettes would greatly increase the quantity of cigarettes demanded
    (1 vote)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user

Video transcript

- [Instructor] We are asked, "which of the following describes a good "that is likely to have the most elastic demand?" Choose one answer. So pause this video and see if you can answer that. All right, so the first choice right over here, they talk about "a luxury with many substitutes." So we already talked about, when you're dealing with substitutes, if there's a lot of substitutes, that makes the quantity demanded very sensitive to price. So this would make it more elastic to have many substitutes. More elastic. And then the fact that it's a luxury. It's not something that people need, this would also make quantity more sensitive to price, generally. So we would also say more elastic. So this is looking like a good candidate, but let's check the other options here. "A necessity with few substitutes." Well, this is the opposite. If it's a necessity, this would be more inelastic, or less elastic. Less elastic. And few substitutes, if you have a change in price for that thing, people say, well, I still have to buy that thing, I can't substitute it with other things. This would also be less elastic. And remember, we're looking for the most elastic demand, so we can rule this one out. "A broadly defined good such as food." Well, we just talked about that. If we're talking about food, and there's a price change in food, well, we need food, so our quantity demanded might, would not likely change, or our percent change in quantity would not likely be that much. This would be fairly inelastic. Rule that one out. "Goods that make up a small share of the budget." Well, this goes back to that example with bubblegum. If bubblegum goes from 25 cents to 30 cents, we might not care so much. Versus if a car goes from $25,000 to $30,000. So the small things that we might not care about price changes so much, if we don't care so much about price changes, that would imply less elasticity, so that definitely would not be the most elastic demand. "Goods that have to be bought "under a short time constraint." Well, a good example is that it's raining and people need umbrellas right now, in, you know, the next five, 10 minutes, and there, they wouldn't necessarily be so sensitive to price, so this is going to be less elastic, and so once again, we would rule this out. If we had a long time frame, well, then people might be able to shop around for substitutes and then things might get a little bit more elastic. They would be more sensitive to price. So we definitely like, in this scenario, choice A.