Fair programmer market value

I sometimes get asked “As a programmer, how much is my per hour rate?” or in another form “What’s my market value?”

The simple answer to this is that your market value is whatever price you agree to get paid for. That sounds like very passive so I’ll rephrase it.

Some people would say I'm overpaid, but I'm not. I'm paid exactly what the market will bear, which means I'm paid what I'm worth. - s2e04
Some people would say I’m overpaid, but I’m not. I’m paid exactly what the market will bear, which means I’m paid what I’m worth. – s2e04

Anything’s value, according to a market, is the highest price someone is willing to buy it at and the lowest price someone is willing to sell it at. It’s what we call the market clearance.

Your value is whatever price you agree to sell yourself at. If your price is above market clearance, then you might be overpriced. If your price is below the market clearance, then you are underpriced.

I would argue that on a personal level, the market clearance should not matter much on fields where there are massive demand and not enough supply (e.g. programmers). The market can usually bear the price.

Then the matter of market value becomes agreeing upon a price and that increasing your market value is simply agreeing to a price higher than your current.

Setting a higher price is simple, but not easy. What makes it so hard to ask for more?