What Is Elasticity?

Elasticity is a concept in economics that measures the responsiveness of one variable to changes in another variable. It is commonly used to analyze the relationship between supply and demand and to explain many other economic events. There are various elasticity types, including price elasticity of demand, price elasticity of supply, income elasticity, and cross elasticity.

How Does Elasticity Work?

Let’s take a look at how elasticity works using the price elasticity of demand. When elasticity is greater than 1.0, it suggests that demand is highly responsive to price changes, making the good or service elastic. Conversely, when elasticity is less than 1.0, demand is relatively insensitive to price changes, indicating inelasticity. When elasticity equals 1.0, a percentage change in demand is exactly proportional to a percentage change in price.

For instance, gasoline is an example of an inelastic product. This is because, for many people, gasoline is a necessity for daily transportation, and they are less likely to significantly alter their consumption habits in response to price changes. As such, demand is relatively insensitive to price changes, indicating inelasticity.

Luxury goods are an example of elastic products. This is because many people can easily live without purchasing luxury products. When the price of a luxury good increases, consumers are more inclined to either purchase alternative, less expensive goods or reduce their overall spending on luxury items. As such, demand is relatively sensitive to price changes, indicating elasticity.

Elasticity in Trading

In the context of trading, elasticity can help traders identify potential arbitrage opportunities and optimize their trading strategies. Traders may exploit elastic demand by capitalizing on short-term price fluctuations through momentum trading strategies. Inelastic supply can act as a signal to start accumulating assets for longer-term goals.

Elasticity in Everyday Life

The concept of elasticity is also applicable to various situations in our daily lives. For instance, the elasticity of materials is important in engineering and construction. Engineers need to understand how materials respond to stress and strain to ensure the safety and durability of structures.

In addition, the concept of elasticity is relevant in healthcare and environmental science. For example, understanding the elasticity of human skin is important for developing effective medical treatments. In environmental science, the elasticity of ecosystems can help researchers predict how they may respond to various environmental changes, such as climate change or habitat destruction.


Elasticity shows how changes in one factor affect the changes in another factor. The concept of elasticity is used both in trading and everyday life, helping people make more effective decisions.

Learn more: Opportunity Cost

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