October 8, 2015 

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DISEQUILIBRIUM, MARKET: A state of the market that exists when the opposing forces of demand and supply do not balance out and there is an inherent tendency for change. This should be directly (and immediately) contrasted with the entries on equilibrium and market equilibrium. For the market, disequilibrium is indicated by the existence of either a surplus or a shortage. The inherent tendency to change occurs because a surplus causes the price to decline and a shortage causes the price to rise. So long as market disequilibrium persists, the price will be induced to change.

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The specific quantity of a good that buyers are willing and able to buy at a specific demand price. The key word is "specific." Quantity demanded and demand price form matched pairs--one quantity, one price. The combination of all price-quantity pairs is then what constitutes demand. The demand curve is a plot of the quantity demanded at each demand price.
Quantity demanded is the maximum quantity that buyers are willing and able to buy at a given price. The primary influence on quantity demanded is the demand price. The quantity demanded is generally less if the demand price is higher and more if the demand price is lower.

Constrained by Satisfaction

Buyers bump into a maximum quantity demanded for a given demand price due to the satisfaction received from consumption. Because the satisfaction generally falls with the quantity consumed, buyers are willing to pay a lower price as the quantity demanded increases. Buyers are willing to buy a larger quantity if the price received declines to match the falling satisfaction. Should they try to consume too much, beyond the maximum quantity demanded, satisfaction falls short of the price paid.

Consider the hot fudge sundae buying activities of Duncan Thurly. Duncan is willing and able to buy one Hot Momma Fudge Bananarama Ice Cream Sundae a week at a $3 demand price. This price matches the satisfaction Duncan receives from this Hot Momma Fudge Bananarama Ice Cream Sundae. However, should Duncan try to consume a second sundae, the satisfaction falls short of this $3 price.

On the Demand Curve

As the maximum quantity that buyers are willing and able to buy, the quantity demanded lies ON the demand curve. In essence, the demand curve plots the range of quantities demanded for a range of demand prices.

Consider the demand curve for electronic calculators displayed in the exhibit to the right. For a demand price of $45, the quantity demanded is 10 calculators. Would calculator buyers be willing to buy fewer than 10 calculators at this price? Certainly. In so doing, they receive more satisfaction than the price paid. Would calculator buyers be willing to buy more than 10 calculators at this price? Certainly not.

The story is the same for any quantity. Only the numbers differ. For a demand price of $15, the quantity demanded is 70 calculators. Buyers are willing to buy fewer than 70 calculators at this price, but not more.

Quantity Demanded, Not Demand

While the two terms are occasionally confused, quantity demanded is not the same as demand.
  • Quantity demanded is the specific quantity that buyers demand at a specific demand price. Quantity demanded is matched up with a specific price. Should the price change, then so too does the quantity demanded. Quantity demanded is a single number.

  • Demand, however, is the range of prices and quantities. It is all price-quantity pairs that make up the demand curve. Demand is a whole range of numbers.


Recommended Citation:

QUANTITY DEMANDED, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia,, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2015. [Accessed: October 8, 2015].

Check Out These Related Terms...

     | demand price | law of demand | demand schedule | demand curve | demand space | consumer surplus | demand determinants | change in demand | change in quantity demanded | quantity supplied |

Or For A Little Background...

     | demand | market | quantity | opportunity cost | unlimited wants and needs | economic analysis | exchange | scarcity | good | service | satisfaction |

And For Further Study...

     | market demand | price | competition | value | consumer sovereignty | competitive market | efficiency | utility analysis | price elasticity of demand | consumer demand theory |

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