Tag: income elasticity of demand

This podcast is from BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme. It consists of an interview with James Berresford, chief executive of VisitEngland, and Tracy Corrigan, of the Daily Telegraph on the topic of ‘staycations’ – a term used to refer to people holidaying at home rather than going abroad. Staycations are up, but why is this the case; how much have people switched; and is it really a cheaper option?

More people holidaying in England BBC Today Programme (27/8/09)

See also the following articles:
Unemployment Up In Seaside Resorts Despite Era Of The ‘Staycation’ Fresh Business Thinking (22/8/09)
Unemployment up in seaside resorts despite era of the ‘staycation’ TUC (21/8/09)
Haven Holidays sees rise in caravan sales Times Online (26/8/09)
‘Staycation’ Britons reconsider their holiday plans The National (Abu Dhabi) (28/8/09)
Recession-hit Britons abandon foreign holidays in favour of ‘staycations’ Guardian (13/8/09)
Bad weather puts paid to the Great British Staycation Independent on Sunday (22/8/09)

The following are useful sources of evidence:
Visits to the UK up 4 per cent Office for National Statistics News Release (13/8/09)
1.2 Million More Holidays Taken In England As Brits Take Breaks Closer To Home enjoyEngland (7/8/09)
11.9 million Brits to take U.K break this Bank Holiday enjoyEngland (26/8/09)

Questions

  1. What are the determinants of demand for staycations? How have these impacted on the demand for staycations in the UK in summer 2009?
  2. How are the (a) price; (b) income and (c) cross-price elasticities of demand for staycations relevant in determining the demand for staycations?
  3. Why is imperfect information an important problem in making a decision about where to take a holiday and how do risk attitudes affect the decision?
  4. Why has unemployment risen more than the UK national average in many seaside towns?

Many primary commodity prices have fallen during the recession, but have recovered somewhat as the recession has bottomed out and hopes of a recovery have grown. So what will happen to commodity prices over the next few months and beyond, and what will determine the size of the price changes? The following linked articles look at these questions.

Commodity prices set to rise further, Roubini says Telegraph (3/8/09)
Have oil prices peaked for 2009? Hemscott (25/8/09)
What’s Ahead for Commodities BusinessWeek (23/8/09)
Gas Prices to Triple by Winter? (video) CNBC (25/8/09)

For commodity price data see:
Commodity Price Index Monthly Price Index Mundi

Questions

  1. What will determine the amount by which commodity prices rise (a) over the next twelve months; (b) the next three years?
  2. What will determine the size of any change in the Australian dollar from rising commodity prices?
  3. How does the holding of stocks affect (a) the size of commodity price changes; (b) the volatility of commodity price changes?
  4. Under what circumstances is speculation in commodity markets likely to (a) stabilise and (b) destabilise commodity prices?
  5. Explain why gas prices are likely to rise less than oil prices.

In times of recession, some companies can do well, even in industries where there are supply problems. One such example is Pacific Andes, a Hong Kong based frozen seafood firm. Many fishing companies have found times tough in an era of dwindling fish stocks and fishing quotas imposed by governments anxious to preserve stocks. The following article looks at Pacific Andes and how it has managed to prosper despite supply challenges and the global recession.

Casting a wide net The Standard (Hong Kong) (24/8/09)

Details of overfishing in the UK can be found at: EyeOverFishing
The site provides a “map of the UK fisheries system, the problems with it, and solutions that are possible today”.

Questions

  1. To what extent can the concept of income elasticity of demand be used to help explain why Pacific Andes has managed to prosper during the recession?
  2. What specific business strategies has Pacific Andes adopted and why?
  3. Why, if overfishing is to the detriment of the fishing indsutry, do fishing fleets still overfish many parts of the oceans? Explain why this is an example of the ‘tragedy of the commons’.
  4. What would you understand by an ‘optimum level of fishing’ for a particular type of fish in a particular part of the oceans? Explore whether the concept of a ‘social optimum’ in this context is the same as an ‘environmental optimum’?

This podcast is from Times Online and is an interview with Jonathan Waghorn, of Investec Global Energy Fund, who “says the price of oil is set to rise over the long term, as it becomes increasingly difficult to find. This spells bad news for motorists, but good news for investors.”

Podcast: The oil price Times Online (4/8/09)

Questions

  1. Why have oil prices fluctuated so much over the past year?
  2. What is likely to happen to the price of oil over the next few months and why?
  3. Why is the price of oil likely to rise faster than the rate of inflation over the long term?
  4. How are the price, income and cross elasticities of demand and the price elasticity of supply relevant to explaining the likely long-term trend in oil prices?
  5. If the price of crude oil goes up by x per cent, is the price of petrol at the pump likely to go up by x per cent or by more or less than x per cent? Explain your answer.

With recession biting, many people are cutting back on spending. This has not been even across products, however. People have tended to shift from more luxurious products, such as foreign holidays and branded products, to holidays at home and supermarkets’ own-brand products (see Shoppers opt for supermarket brands Financial Times (4/8/09)). There has also been a decline in spending on consumer durables, such as cars, furniture and kitchen appliances.

One sector that has fared better than most, however, is the teenage market. “So far it seems teenagers have not cut back on their shopping. Teen-targeted retailers such as Primark, New Look, H&M, Asos and Hot Topic are all weathering the recession better than rivals aimed at an older demographic.” This is a quote from the first of the two linked articles below, which look at this market and its future prospects.

Teenage spenders struggle to learn BBC News (4/8/09)
Hollister: the shop that smells like teen spirit Times Online (5/8/09)

Questions

  1. How is spending on particular products during a recession related to their income elasticity of demand? How does the income elasticity of demand depend on the length of the time period under consideration?
  2. Why has the teenage market been less susceptible to the recession than many other markets?
  3. To what extent will being ‘bargain savvy’ be enough for teenagers to survive the recession without having to make substantial changes in spending patterns? Consider the concept of price elasticity of demand in your answer.