The Student Room Group

Shouldn't price be on the x-axis?

Ok, I don't mean to sound like a smart-ass, but something about the way conventional graphs are drawn in economics does not make sense.

Take a simple demand curve. It is supposed to illustrate PED -- how demand changes in response to price.

That means that price is the independent variable, and demand is the dependent variable. In simpler words, price is what causes demand to change.

In literally every single field of maths I've come across it is convention to put the independent variable on the x axis. The independent variable in a market can be, and often is, price. Moreover, textbooks talk all the time about how price affects demand, specifically in relation to these diagrams.


Shouldn't price be on the x-axis? And if it could be either, which I get, why did they choose it to be this way?
Reply 1
because its an economics diagram not graph
Reply 2
economics is a social science, the inability to make scientific experiments- thus ceteris paribus is used, that everything else remains equal when studying the relationship between two things.

this is basic economics- taking you right back to AS, year 12
Original post by safahJ
economics is a social science, the inability to make scientific experiments- thus ceteris paribus is used, that everything else remains equal when studying the relationship between two things.

this is basic economics- taking you right back to AS, year 12

so the inability to make scientific experiments means you should ditch scientific convention?
Reply 4
maybe this will help you understand.

The reason is suprisingly simple: For necessary goods the price is simply a product of the quantity sold. The economics of yesterday were initiated by supply-side economics (the French “economistés”, the physiocrats), assuming the demand as a fixed vertical line (e.g. food - you gotta eat) and supply as the independent variable. The price would thus be dependent on the harvest (and obviously trade) and the price of grain would simply be a product of supply. In the open market place the people

Later economic models incorporating demand as flexible, as the case is for luxury goods (tea, coffee, finer furniture, jewelry, etc.). Yet when these things were taken into consideration by the British economists in the 18/19th century, the classical demand/supply line was stuck and has remained so ever since.
Original post by safahJ
maybe this will help you understand.

The reason is suprisingly simple: For necessary goods the price is simply a product of the quantity sold. The economics of yesterday were initiated by supply-side economics (the French “economistés”, the physiocrats), assuming the demand as a fixed vertical line (e.g. food - you gotta eat) and supply as the independent variable. The price would thus be dependent on the harvest (and obviously trade) and the price of grain would simply be a product of supply. In the open market place the people

Later economic models incorporating demand as flexible, as the case is for luxury goods (tea, coffee, finer furniture, jewelry, etc.). Yet when these things were taken into consideration by the British economists in the 18/19th century, the classical demand/supply line was stuck and has remained so ever since.

thanks, that's interesting

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