Shortage

Definition of 'Shortage'


A situation where demand for a product or service exceeds the available supply. Possible causes of a shortage include miscalculation of demand by a company producing a good or service (i.e., the company can't produce enough to keep up with demand) or government policies (i.e., price fixing/rationing). Natural disasters that devastate the physical landscape of a region can also cause shortages of such essential products as food and housing, also leading to higher prices of those goods.

Investopedia explains 'Shortage'


A government-imposed price ceiling can create a shortage. When the government does not allow the free market to dictate the price of an item based on its supply/demand, an artificially high number of people may decide to purchase that item because the price is artificially low. For example, if the government provides free doctor visits as part of a national health care plan, consumers may experience a shortage of doctor services because when people no longer have to pay directly for them, they will be likely to increase their demand for those services.



comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Passive ETF

    One of two types of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) available for investors. Passive ETFs are index funds that track a specific benchmark, such as a SPDR. Unlike actively managed ETFs, passive ETFs are not managed by a fund manager on a daily basis.
  2. Walras' Law

    An economics law that suggests that the existence of excess supply in one market must be matched by excess demand in another market so that it balances out. So when examining a specific market, if all other markets are in equilibrium, Walras' Law asserts that the examined market is also in equilibrium.
  3. Market Segmentation

    A marketing term referring to the aggregating of prospective buyers into groups (segments) that have common needs and will respond similarly to a marketing action. Market segmentation enables companies to target different categories of consumers who perceive the full value of certain products and services differently from one another.
  4. Effective Annual Interest Rate

    An investment's annual rate of interest when compounding occurs more often than once a year. Calculated as the following:
  5. Debit Spread

    Two options with different market prices that an investor trades on the same underlying security. The higher priced option is purchased and the lower premium option is sold - both at the same time. The higher the debit spread, the greater the initial cash outflow the investor will incur on the transaction.
  6. Odious Debt

    Money borrowed by one country from another country and then misappropriated by national rulers. A nation's debt becomes odious debt when government leaders use borrowed funds in ways that don't benefit or even oppress citizens. Some legal scholars argue that successor governments should not be held accountable for odious debt incurred by earlier regimes, but there is no consensus on how odious debt should actually be treated.
Trading Center