What's The Deal Dirk?

Student Q&A's with Dirk

Why are economics graphs backwards (i.e, price should be on the x axis) compared to how x and y axis graphs appear in other disciplines?

This question asked by Anonymous

The author of the very first Principles of Economics text, Alfred Marshall, chose to do his graphs this way and thus the precedent was set.  It’s a bit like QWERTY on the computer key board, the English measurement system, and why there are still 200+ languages in use. By convention economists have always placed the independent variable, the price, on the vertical axis and the dependent variable, output, on the horizontal axis. Over time every economist got used to expressing it this way. If you tried to “correct” this and put price on the horizontal axis you’d confuse anyone familiar with economics.

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