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Consumer Surplus

What a buyer would have been willing to pay minus the price she actually paid. Someone who was willing to pay (however grudgingly) up to $500 for an airline ticket and who actually buys the ticket for $350 gets $150 of consumer surplus.

For consumers as a whole, consumer surplus is the area between the demand curve, which shows willingness to pay, and the price they actually pay:

Consumer Surplus

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Peter J Wilcoxen, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Revised 08/17/2016