Interpretation(s) of elasticity in operant demand

Shawn P. Gilroy, Brent A. Kaplan, Derek D. Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


This brief report provides an account of varying interpretations of elasticity (η) in the operant demand framework. General references to “demand elasticity” have existed since the Exponential model of operant demand was proposed by Hursh and Silberberg (2008). This term has been used interchangeably with Essential Value (EV), PMAX, and the rate of change constant α. This report provides an in-depth account of η and the various ways in which this metric has been used to interpret fitted demand functions. A review of relevant mathematic terms, operations associated with differentiating parameters, and worked solutions for η are provided for linear and nonlinear demand functions. The relations between η and EV, PMAX, and α are described and explained in terms of their mathematical bases and recommendations are provided regarding their individual interpretation. This report concludes with recommendations for providing additional mathematical detail in published works and emphasizing a consistent use of terms when describing aspects of operant demand.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-115
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior


  • behavioral economics
  • elasticity
  • mathematical modeling
  • operant demand

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Interpretation(s) of elasticity in operant demand'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this