Ceteris Paribus

Read this brief text to learn the formal definition of ceteris paribus. As a practice activity, identify a variable and list the multiple factors that may be influencing it. For example, say you are planning to request an increase in your salary. What are the factors that influence your salary? Do you think you can attribute the change in your salary to any one of these factors if all of the factors influencing it were simultaneously changing?

A Macroeconomic Example

What would happen to the demand for labor by firms if a minimum wage was imposed at a level above the prevailing wage rate, ceteris paribus? As depicted in below, the supply and demand curve are held constant, as are labor and leisure preferences for workers, and output considerations for firms, in addition to all other variables and characteristics embedded within the shape of the supply and demand curves. Thus, what is being evaluated is the impact of a constraint on market equilibrium.

Macroeconomics: Binding price floor: E is the equilibrium wage level when there is no binding minimum wage. When a minimum wage is imposed, ceteris paribus, suppliers of labor are willing to provide more labor than firms (demand for labor) are willing to purchase at the binding minimum wage rate. There is no shifting of either curve related to behavior influenced by the higher wage rate because ceteris paribus is holding labor-leisure trade-off (of workers) and substitution of labor (by firms) constant, along with other potential influencing variables.