Studying elasticities is useful for a number of reasons, pricing being most important. Let’s explore how elasticity relates to revenue and pricing, both in the long and short run. First, let’s look at the elasticities of some common goods and services.
Table shows a selection of demand elasticities for different goods and services drawn from a variety of different studies by economists, listed in order of increasing elasticity.
|Goods and Services||Elasticity of Price|
|Transatlantic air travel (economy class)||0.12|
|Rail transit (rush hour)||0.15|
|Transatlantic air travel (first class)||0.40|
|Transatlantic air travel (business class)||0.62|
|Kitchen and household appliances||0.63|
|Cable TV (basic rural)||0.69|
|Rail transit (off-peak)||1.00|
|Cable TV (basic urban)||1.51|
|Cable TV (premium)||1.77|
Note that demand for necessities such as housing and electricity is inelastic, while items that are not necessities such as restaurant meals are more price-sensitive. If the price of a restaurant meal increases by 10%, the quantity demanded will decrease by 22.7%. A 10% increase in the price of housing will cause only a slight decrease of 1.2% in the quantity of housing demanded.
Read this article for an example of price elasticity that may have affected you.