Law of Supply

Law of Supply Meaning

The law of supply in economics suggests that with other factors remaining constant, if the price of a commodity increases, its market supply also goes up and vice-versa. It is one of the fundamental laws in economics. It establishes a direct relationship between the price and supply of a commodity.

Therefore, if there is a rise in the price, the supply also increases, giving sellers a chance to make more money.

Key Takeaways
  • The law of supply is a theory in economics that indicates a direct relationship between price and supply. It suggests that all factors remaining constant, if the price of a commodity increases, it leads to an increase in its market supply and vice-versa. This is because sellers will try to gain maximum profit by increasing sales.
  • As opposed to this, the law of demand suggests that the with all things remaining constant, when the price of a commodity increases, it leads to a fall in demand and vice-versa. The reason behind being consumers tend to spend more on normal goods if their price falls down due to greater affordability.
  • Supply and demand determine the prices of various goods. The supply law also has an important significance in determining the number of firms operating in a domain. If the price falls too low, many companies stop production.

How Does the Law of Supply Work in Economics?

Law of Supply

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It is important to note that we are talking about a theoretical idea. In the real world, many other factors also play a huge role in determining demand-supplyDemand-supplySupply has a direct relationship with the price. Thus, if the price rises, the product's supply will also increase, and if the price falls, then supply will also decrease. In contrast, demand has an indirect relationship with price. Thus, if the price drops, demand will rise and vice-versa.read more. For example, when a government levies taxes on certain factors of productionFactors Of ProductionFactors of production define resources used to produce or create finished goods and services, the sale and purchase of which keeps the market economy afloat.read more, the per-unit costPer-unit CostCost per unit is defined as the amount of money spent by a corporation over a period of time to produce a single unit of a specific product or service, and it takes into account two components in its calculation: variable and fixed costs. It aids in determining the selling price of the company's product or services.read more goes up.

In such a case, the supply will go down to accommodate for the increased costs. As such, the law remains valid only as long as other factors affecting the market inventory of goods and services remain constant.

Law of Supply Graph

The law of supply graph is upward sloping, reflecting the direct relationship between price and supply. Let us look at the example below to gain more clarity on this.

Price Quantity Supplied
$43
$66
$89
Supply Curve

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Many factors affect the supply in reality, which will lead to a shift in the supply curveSupply CurveSupply curve represents the relationship between quantity and price of a product which the supplier is willing to supply at a given point of time. It is an upward sloping curve where the price of the product is represented along the y-axis and quantity on the x-axis.read more. A decrease in supply shifts the curve to the left and vice-versa. For example, when the cost of factors of production decreases, it leads to greater production at the same cost. Resultantly, the supply curve shifts to the right, increasing supply.

However, the changes in the quantity supplied are different from the changes in the supply. This is because the sellers consider factors such as the market priceMarket PriceMarket price refers to the current price prevailing in the market at which goods, services, or assets are purchased or sold. The price point at which the supply of a commodity matches its demand in the market becomes its market price.read more, profit opportunities, consumer demand, etc., before determining the quantity supplied.

When there is a change in the quantity supplied, it causes movements along the supply curve. When the price changes, the supply increases or decreases accordingly, leading to upward or downward movement along the supply curve.

Law of Supply Example

Let us suppose Tom opens a small eatery offering sandwiches, hotdogs, hamburgers, fries, and shakes. After a month of operation, Tom receives a good response.

Every day Tom sells

  1. 50 shakes
  2. 45 sandwiches
  3. 60 hamburgers
  4. 30 fries
  5. 120 hotdogs

By word-of-mouth, Tom earns a reputation for serving the best hotdogs, drawing in people from around the city. Responding to the increase in demand, Tom hikes the prices by $1. Tom also increases the supply by making more hotdogs. Reflecting on the example, why do you think Tom increased the cost? 

Tom was already doing well; hiking the price was a risk. But Tom did it anyway, to earn more profit and maximize his gains. Therefore, this law throws light on a seller’s desire to maximize profit and sales in the market. 

Law of Supply vs Law of Demand

Demand Supply Curve

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the law of supply in microeconomics?

The law states that when the price of commodity increases, its supply also goes up. Thus, the motive is to achieve more profit, sales, and demand for the product.

What is an example of supply and demand theory?

When the price of a commodity rises, its demand falls. However, with increased prices, the supply goes up. The price then falls to a level suited to both sellers and buyers, making it the commodity’s market price. Market self-correction plays a chief role here where sellers lower the price to induce greater buying when there is increased market supply and lesser demand.

What are the assumptions of the law of supply?

Some central assumptions are as follows –

• The cost of factors of production will remain constant.
• Customer preference regarding the product stays the same.
• Consumer income remains the same.
• The price of related goods remains the same.

This has been a guide to the Law of Supply, meaning, graphs and examples. Here we discuss differences between the law of supply vs. the law of Demand. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –

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