# Complementary good

In economics, a complementary good is a good whose appeal increases with the popularity of its complement.[further explanation needed] Technically, it displays a negative cross elasticity of demand and that demand for it increases when the price of another good decreases.[1] If ${\displaystyle A}$ is a complement to ${\displaystyle B}$, an increase in the price of ${\displaystyle A}$ will result in a negative movement along the demand curve of ${\displaystyle A}$ and cause the demand curve for ${\displaystyle B}$ to shift inward; less of each good will be demanded. Conversely, a decrease in the price of ${\displaystyle A}$ will result in a positive movement along the demand curve of ${\displaystyle A}$ and cause the demand curve of ${\displaystyle B}$ to shift outward; more of each good will be demanded. This is in contrast to a substitute good, whose demand decreases when its substitute's price decreases.[2]

When two goods are complements, they experience joint demand - the demand of one good is linked to the demand for another good. Therefore, if a higher quantity is demanded of one good, a higher quantity will also be demanded of the other, and vice versa. For example, the demand for razor blades may depend on the number of razors in use; this is why razors have sometimes been sold as loss leaders, to increase demand for the associated blades.[3] Another example is that sometimes a toothbrush is packaged free with toothpaste. The toothbrush is a complement to the toothpaste; the cost of producing a toothbrush may be higher than toothpaste, but its sales depends on the demand of toothpaste.

All non-complementary goods can be considered substitutes.[4] If ${\displaystyle x}$ and ${\displaystyle y}$ are rough complements in an everyday sense, then consumers are willing to pay more for each marginal unit of good ${\displaystyle x}$ as they accumulate more ${\displaystyle y}$. The opposite is true for substitutes: the consumer is willing to pay less for each marginal unit of good "${\displaystyle z}$" as it accumulates more of good "${\displaystyle y}$".

Complementarity may be driven by psychological processes in which the consumption of one good (e.g., cola) stimulates demand for its complements (e.g., a cheeseburger). Consumption of a food or beverage activates a goal to consume its complements: foods that consumers believe would taste better together. Drinking cola increases consumers' willingness to pay for a cheeseburger. This effect appears to be contingent on consumer perceptions of these relationships rather than their sensory properties.[5]

## Examples

An example of this would be the demand for cars and petrol. The supply and demand for cars is represented by the figure, with the initial demand ${\displaystyle D_{1}}$. Suppose that the initial price of cars is represented by ${\displaystyle P_{1}}$ with a quantity demanded of ${\displaystyle Q_{1}}$. If the price of petrol were to decrease by some amount, this would result in a higher quantity of cars demanded. This higher quantity demanded would cause the demand curve to shift rightward to a new position ${\displaystyle D_{2}}$. Assuming a constant supply curve ${\displaystyle S}$ of cars, the new increased quantity demanded will be at ${\displaystyle Q_{2}}$ with a new increased price ${\displaystyle P_{2}}$. Other examples include automobiles and fuel, mobile phones and cellular service, printer and cartridge, among others.

## Perfect complement

A perfect complement is a good that must be consumed with another good. The indifference curve of a perfect complement exhibits a right angle, as illustrated by the figure.[6] Such preferences can be represented by a Leontief utility function.

Few goods behave as perfect complements.[6] One example is a left shoe and a right; shoes are naturally sold in pairs, and the ratio between sales of left and right shoes will never shift noticeably from 1:1.

The degree of complementarity, however, does not have to be mutual; it can be measured by the cross price elasticity of demand. In the case of video games, a specific video game (the complement good) has to be consumed with a video game console (the base good). It does not work the other way: a video game console does not have to be consumed with that game.

### Example

In marketing, complementary goods give additional market power to the producer. It allows vendor lock-in by increasing switching costs. A few types of pricing strategy exist for a complementary good and its base good:

• Pricing the base good at a relatively low price - this approach allows easy entry by consumers (e.g. low-price consumer printer vs. high-price cartridge)
• Pricing the base good at a relatively high price to the complementary good - this approach creates a barrier to entry and exit (e.g., a costly car vs inexpensive gas)

## Gross complements

Sometimes the complement-relationship between two goods is not intuitive and must be verified by inspecting the cross-elasticity of demand using market data.

Mosak's definition states "a good of ${\displaystyle x}$ is a gross complement of ${\displaystyle y}$ if ${\displaystyle {\frac {\partial f_{x}(p,\omega )}{\partial p_{y}}}}$ is negative, where ${\displaystyle f_{i}(p,\omega )}$ for ${\displaystyle i=1,2,\ldots ,n}$ denotes the ordinary individual demand for a certain good." In fact, in Mosak's case, ${\displaystyle x}$ is not a gross complement of ${\displaystyle y}$ but ${\displaystyle y}$ is a gross complement of ${\displaystyle x}$. The elasticity does not need to be symmetrical. Thus, ${\displaystyle y}$ is a gross complement of ${\displaystyle x}$ while ${\displaystyle x}$ can simultaneously be a gross substitutes for ${\displaystyle y}$.[7]

### Proof

The standard Hicks decomposition of the effect on the ordinary demand for a good ${\displaystyle x}$ of a simple price change in a good ${\displaystyle y}$, utility level ${\displaystyle \tau ^{*}}$ and chosen bundle ${\displaystyle z^{*}=(x^{*},y^{*},\dots )}$ is

${\displaystyle {\frac {\partial f_{x}(p,\omega )}{\partial p_{y}}}={\frac {\partial h_{x}(p,\tau ^{*})}{\partial p_{y}}}-y^{*}{\frac {\partial f_{x}(p,\omega )}{\partial \omega }}}$

If ${\displaystyle x}$ is a gross substitute for ${\displaystyle y}$, the left-hand side of the equation and the first term of right-hand side are positive. By the symmetry of Mosak's perspective, evaluating the equation with respect to ${\displaystyle x^{*}}$, the first term of right-hand side stays the same while some extreme cases exist where ${\displaystyle x^{*}}$ is large enough to make the whole right-hand-side negative. In this case, ${\displaystyle y}$ is a gross complement of ${\displaystyle x}$. Overall, ${\displaystyle x}$ and ${\displaystyle y}$ are not symmetrical.

## References

1. ^ Carbaugh, Robert (2006). Contemporary Economics: An Applications Approach. Cengage Learning. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-324-31461-8.
2. ^ O'Sullivan, Arthur; Sheffrin, Steven M. (2003). Economics: Principles in Action. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall. p. 88. ISBN 0-13-063085-3.
3. ^ "Customer in Marketing by David Mercer". Future Observatory. Archived from the original on 2013-04-04.
4. ^ Newman, Peter (2016-11-30) [1987]. "Substitutes and Complements". The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics: 1–7. doi:10.1057/978-1-349-95121-5_1821-1. ISBN 978-1-349-95121-5. Retrieved 2022-05-26.
5. ^ Huh, Young Eun; Vosgerau, Joachim; Morewedge, Carey K. (2016-03-14). "Selective Sensitization: Consuming a Food Activates a Goal to Consume its Complements". Journal of Marketing Research. 53 (6): 1034–1049. doi:10.1509/jmr.12.0240. ISSN 0022-2437. S2CID 4800997.
6. ^ a b Mankiw, Gregory (2008). Principle of Economics. Cengage Learning. pp. 463–464. ISBN 978-0-324-58997-9.
7. ^ Mosak, Jacob L. (1944). "General equilibrium theory in international trade" (PDF). Cowles Commission for Research in Economics, Monograph No. 7. Principia Press: 33.