What is the difference between a change in demand and a change in the quantity demanded? The terminology can be confusing — but we’ll provide some clarity in this

What is the difference between a change in demand and a change in the quantity demanded? The terminology can be confusing — but we’ll provide some clarity in this video. In short, a change in demand refers to a shift in the demand curve — caused by a number of factors such as income, population, etc. A change in quantity demanded refers to a movement along a fixed demand curve — caused by a change in price.

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We're almost finished covering demand, supply, and equilibrium. We just need to wrap up one loose end.

 

Unfortunately, economists use similar terms for two things which are quite different. A change in demand versus a change in the quantity demanded. We're sorry about the confusing terminology but, alas, that's the way it is. Fortunately, you're already familiar with these differences, we just need to point them out. Let's get going.

 

A change in demand refers to a shift in the demand curve. As we know a change in demand, a shift in the demand curve, is caused by one of the shifters- income, population, changes in the prices, substitutes and compliments and so forth. A change in quantity demanded refers to a movement along a fixed demand curve. And that's caused by a change in price.

 

Let's illustrate with the model. Begin on the left with a change in demand, in this case, an increase in demand. The increase in demand shifts the entire demand curve to the right or up and leads, as we know, to a higher price and quantity exchange. No problem.

 

Now, let's look at a change in the quantity demanded on the right. Suppose, for example, that the supply increases. Now, notice that an increased supply increases the quantity demanded from QE1 to QE2. That's an increase in the quantity demanded.

 

In the first case on the left, we have an increase in demand, the entire demand curve shifts out. In the second case on the right, we have an increase in the quantity demanded. That is a movement along a fixed demand curve caused by shift, in this case, in the supply curve. Well, if you guess that the next thing that we're going to do is to show the difference between a change in supply and a change in the quantity supplied, you'd be right. Let's do that now.

 

A change in supply refers to a shift in the entire supply curve caused, as we know, by a change in costs such is a change in technology or input prices and so forth. A change in the quantity supplied refers to a movement along a fixed supply curve caused by a change in the price. Okay, let's go to the model.

 

On the left we begin with a change in supply, in this case, an increase in supply that shifts the entire supply curve down into the right, thereby, generating a lower price and greater quantity bought and sold. Now, on the right, suppose that the demand increases, notice that the increase in demand increases the quantity supplied from QE1 to QE2 along a fixed supply curve. The supply hasn't changed, the supply curve hasn't moved, so the supply is the same but the quantity supplied has increased.


Again, on the left, we have a change in supply, the entire supply curve shifts. On the right, we have a change in the quantity supplied and moving along a fixed supply curve caused, in this case, by the increase in demand. That's it. The terminology is a little bit tricky but if you follow the curves closely, you won't get confused. Next stop elasticity.

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Show 2 Answers (Answer provided by Ion Sterpan)
user's picture

The demand curve shows what is the quantity demanded at any given price. It says that the lower the price of some good (as long as people still consider that thing “good” overall) the greater the quantity demanded. The cheaper something is, the more I want it. The more expensive it gets, the less of it shall I buy. We know this is true in two ways. One is introspection. Reflect and you will see that this is true for you too! The other is by adopting an evolutionary perspective. Imagine Jimmy B was different than everyone else. He is a “mutant”, has a different genetic baggage than others. The more expensive would a good be, the more of it will he buy. Jimmy will soon run out of resources. But since Jimmy is in competition for resources with other men, Jimmy will have a lower chance than others to find a partner and pass his genes - make children that are like himself. Jimmy B dies without ancestors. Sometimes mutants appear but they don't last. In the long run we all behave like the demand curve says we do.

user's picture

First, you have to know that demand PPF (curve or line) represents buyers. Buyers will compete with other buyers to give the best price to the supplier. While supplier competes with another supplier to give the cheapest price for a great amount of quantity. In other words, if the price of demand getting higher the quantity will decrease and vice versa. It shows the buyer really interested with that product and vice versa. If the curve or demand line is not sloping downwards and let's say we replace them into upwards, there is no special offer to the supplier. Because upwards slope line is for the supplier to compete with other suppliers.

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user's picture

No one will buy the product x2 when they are getting same product at x1. No demand for x2. Supply curve for product x1 will be horizontal parallel to the demand curve. However this is something which is not practically possible.

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