Demand shock is a surprise event that can lead to a temporary increase or decrease in demand for goods or services. An example of a negative demand shock would be a global pandemic. An example of a positive demand shock would be government stimulus checks and relaxed monetary policy in response to the pandemic. Over time, the shock fades and supply responds to find a new, sustainable equilibrium.
- Positive demand shocks increase aggregate demand in the economy. However, increased consumption can lead to inflation if the economy is near full capacity.
- Negative demand shocks decrease aggregate demand in the economy because people are more inclined to save rather than consume.
- When a negative demand shock occurs, governments try to counter this by introducing a positive demand shock.
Positive Demand Shocks
Positive demand shocks have the effect of increasing aggregate demand in the economy, leading to increased consumption. Examples of positive demand shocks include:
Companies anticipating increased revenues may respond by hiring more workers or expanding operations. This increase in hiring and economic activity feeds back to lead to even more consumption. One drawback of a positive demand shock is that it can lead to higher prices if the economy is near full capacity, which heightens inflation risks.
Negative Demand Shocks
Negative economic shocks have the effect of creating fear. In this mindset, people are more inclined to save rather than consume. Examples of negative demand shocks include:
- Global pandemics
- Terrorist attacks
- Natural disasters
- Stock market crashes
In times of negative demand shocks, people are less inclined to take risks to start a business or pursue an education, which are activities integral to economic growth. Although these decisions may be rational on an individual basis, on an aggregate basis, they can lead to crippling economic losses.
To balance such a negative demand shock, governments may be inclined to lower interest rates, cut taxes, or increase spending to reverse a self-reinforcing negative spiral. This is essentially intended to introduce a positive demand shock to counteract a negative one.