Engel’s Law (1857)

Formulated by German-born statistician Ernst Engel (1821-1896), Engel’s Law states that as incomes increase, the proportion of income spent on food falls.

Engel’s Law is accepted as a basic principle of income and consumption.

SOURCE:
E ENGEL, DIE PRODUCTIONS UND CONSUMPTIONS-VERHALTNISSE DES KÖNIGSREICHE SACHSEN (BERLIN, 1877)

Engel’s law is an observation in economics stating that, as income rises, the proportion of income spent on food falls―even if absolute expenditure on food rises. In other words, the income elasticity of demand of food is between 0 and 1.

The law was named after the statistician Ernst Engel (1821–1896).

Engel’s law does not imply that food spending remains unchanged as income increases; instead, it suggests that consumers increase their expenditures for food products in percentage terms less than their increases in income.[1][2]

One application of the statistic is treating it as a reflection of the living standard of a country; as that proportion―or “Engel coefficient”―increases, the country is by nature poorer. Conversely, a low Engel coefficient indicates a higher standard of living.

The interaction between Engel’s law, technological progress, and the process of structural change is crucial for explaining long-term economic growth as suggested by Leon,[3] and Pasinetti

2 thoughts on “Engel’s Law (1857)

  1. Wade says:

    Great site you’ve got here.. Itís difficult to find quality writing like yours nowadays. I honestly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.