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Well you could say offer and bid, as in financial markets. But perhaps you'd then need to rename the offer curve.

Why not frame it in terms of capital markets? "Quantity demanded" is the bid size, "quantity supplied" is the offer size.

Sorry, kevin. Posted that before I saw your comment.

All these words are metaphors at some level, and with any metaphor, you have to be careful and conscious about which part of it you carry over from the original concept and which part you don't. Of course, some metaphors are more instructive or more apt than others, but these also are more prone to being taken for "true" representations rather than metaphors. As Alexander Rosenbluth and Norbert Wiener have written, "The price of metaphor is eternal vigilance."

The capital market terms do work better.

Brett: good and interesting point. Somehow though, all theories are like metaphors. Translating them into the real world always requires vigilance.

Nick, the capital markets terms work better because there's a significant body of work on market microstructure in those contexts (and a monetary incentive to understanding it well).

Other intro econ subjects would benefit as well from some examples from the capital markets as well; you actually have Walrasian auctioneers (market makers and exchanges), free trade equilibriating prices (interexchange arbitrage), ...

Matt: and (as someone commented on my P-data Q-data L-data post) you can actually sometimes *see* part the demand and supply curves (all the bids and offers quantity-price data).

Unless they've gone dark of course.... ;)

then the Walrasian auctioneer is a computer program which makes markets algorithmically...

Interesting observation Nick.

The ambiguity does appear more important for anglophone economists than francophone economists though I often see ambiguous use of the term demand in both English-Canadian and québécois French-language popular media.

Question: If policy-makers better understood 'demand schedules' and 'willingness to pay' would it make a difference?

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