Scarcity Principle

DEFINITION of 'Scarcity Principle'

An economic principle in which a limited supply of a good, coupled with a high demand for that good, results in a mismatch between the desired supply and demand equilibrium. In pricing theory, the scarcity principle suggests that the price for a scarce good should rise until an equilibrium is reached between supply and demand. However, this would result in the restricted exclusion of the good only to those who can afford it. If the scarce resource happens to be grain, for example, individuals will not be able to attain their basic needs.

BREAKING DOWN 'Scarcity Principle'

When a product is scarce, consumers are faced with conducting their own cost-benefit analysis, since a product in high demand but low supply will likely be expensive. This means that the consumer should only take action and purchase the product if he or she sees a greater benefit from having the product than the cost associated with obtaining it.

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