Difference Between Slope and Elasticity

Slope and elasticity are concepts that are typically used in Economics.

All those classes that were spent discussing micro and macroeconomic statistics are used to determine individual and market behavior plays a role in finding the slope and elasticity of an economic curve.

These terms feature in various different concepts such as demand curves, supply curves, product curves, etc.

Slope vs Elasticity

The main difference between slope and elasticity is that while slope refers to the changes in absolute unit measures, elasticity, on the other hand, refers to the change that is relative or measured in percentage. The unit measures used to determine the changes in both these terms form the basis for their major difference.

Slope vs Elasticity

The slope of a curve refers to the amount of steepness that the curve or line possesses. This steepness is factored in, while measuring the curve and what it stands for.

It is calculated by dividing the increased vertical coordinates by the increase in the horizontal coordinates. Doing this helps us measure the slope, which is the increase or decrease of the unit in absolute terms.

The elasticity of a curve refers to the change sustained by the curve of the line in question due to a single or a combination of factors. Unlike slope, elasticity cannot be measured in absolute terms.

It is studied via measuring the degree of change in respect to the relative or percentage change. 

Comparison Table Between Slope and Elasticity

Parameters of ComparisonSlopeElasticity
DefinitionThe steepness of a curve or a line is denoted as the slope of the said graph.The responsiveness quotient or degree of a line or a curve is known as its elasticity.
MeasureThe slope is measured in absolute terms.It is measured using relativeness or percentage.
Portrayal A positive slope means a steeper upward curve, and a negative slope means steep downwards lilt.Highly elastic curves are horizontal, and less elastic curves are vertical.
RelationThe slope of the demand curve is affected by the elasticity of the product.Elasticity and slope have an inverse relationship.
Used forThe demand curve, the supply curvePrice elasticity, demand, and supply curves

What is Slope?

The slope of a curve or a line is featured in several fields. Typically, the word slope refers to a surface where a single end is higher than the other.

It is a vertical or a horizontal slant.

In mathematics, the slope of a curve or a line refers to the line’s inclination with respect to the horizontal perspective. The numerical measure of this is called the slope.

A ray, line, or line segment can be measured for its slope by calculating the ratio of the vertical to the horizontal distance of any two points present.

The slope of a line or a curve can refer to its steepness. This is used to measure the curve and its meaning in economics.

By measuring the change in the vertical coordinates of the line or the curve and dividing the same by the changes in the horizontal coordinates helps us know the slope of the curve as mentioned earlier or line.

The slope is measured in absolute measure, meaning it has a tangible value. This allows it to be pinpointed to an exact number measure.

The slope can be studied by seeing the line’s steepness or curve. A steep upward curve stands for a positive slope, whereas a downward directed slope is used to denote a negative slope.

The demand curve’s slope is related to the product’s elasticity.

What is Elasticity?

Similar to slope, elasticity also features several different subjects. Elasticity is defined as any object or material’s ability to return to its original shape post being stretched or compressed. 

In physics, elasticity is the measure of how much or the amount of change an object undergoes when there’s a direct application force to it.

This is referred to as the deforms or strain that the object suffers when given stress or force is applied.

In lieu of economics, the line or curve’s elasticity is used to signify the degree of responsiveness that one economic variable has in response to a change in another. 

This is commonly used in determining the price elasticity of an object or product.

It can either refer to the change in the demand of a product concerning several individuals or market factors or the change in the price of a product due to the changes in micro or macro factors.

Elasticity cannot be measured using absolute values. Therefore, the elasticity of a curve or a line is denoted using relative values or percentage measures.

The product’s elasticity in question can be observed by studying the graph. Highly elastic graphs have a horizontal line, and conversely, highly inelastic graphs are more vertical.

There exist an inverse relationship between slope and elasticity.

Main Differences Between Slope and Elasticity

  1. The slope refers to the difference between a higher and a lower surface area. Elasticity refers to the object’s ability to retain its shape after being stretched and compressed.
  2. The slope of any curve can be measured in terms of absolute value, whereas elasticity does not offer the same benefit. It can only be calculated in relative or percentage values.
  3. The study of the slope is featured in mathematics and economics. Elasticity is studied in physics and economics. 
  4. A steep upward-directed curve signifies a positive slope, whereas a negative slope can be observed by a downward steep. Horizontal curves and lines show a high level of elasticity, and vertical curves and lines denote lesser elasticity.
  5. Slope is denoted as the division between the increased change in vertical coordinates by the horizontal coordinates. Elasticity is calculated by dividing the change in the numerator by the change in the denominator.


Slope and elasticity are related. Though the concepts vary and are measured and calculated in varying ways, the base application of both these concepts shares several similarities in the field of economics.

While slope refers to the curve or line’s steepness that helps determine the absolute value measure, elasticity shows the responsiveness quotient of several economic factors on one another.

They are interdependent concepts that play a major role in determining micro and macroeconomic factors that influence individual and market behavior. It is mathematically possible to find out their relationship with one other.

It is observed that slope and elasticity usually have an inverse relationship. This means that the higher the slope, the lower the elasticity and vice versa.


  1. https://journals.aps.org/prper/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.15.020116
  2. https://epubs.siam.org/doi/pdf/10.1137/1025049
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