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1ANTHONY PATRICK O’BRIEN R. GLENN HUBBARDANTHONY PATRICK O’BRIENMicroeconomicsFOURTH EDITION
24 Economic Efficiency, Government Price Setting, and Taxes CHAPTERChapter Outline andLearning Objectives4.1Consumer Surplus and Producer Surplus4.2The Efficiency of Competitive Markets4.3Government Intervention in the Market: Price Floors and Price Ceilings4.4The Economic Impact of TaxesAPPENDIX: Quantitative Demand and Supply Analysis
3Should the Government Control Apartment Rents? Rent control puts a legal limit on the rent that landlords can charge for an apartment.Market-determined rents are usually far above controlled rents.Although rent control laws are intended to make housing more affordable for people with low incomes, high-income people can end up benefiting.AN INSIDE LOOK AT POLICY on page 122 discusses a legal battle between Oscar-winning actress Faye Dunaway and the landlord of her rent-controlled New York City apartment.
4Economics in Your LifeDoes Rent Control Make It Easier for You to Find an Affordable Apartment?Suppose you have job offers in two cities.One factor in deciding which job to accept is whether you can find an affordable apartment.See if you can answer this question by the end of the chapter:If one city has rent control, are you more likely to find an affordable apartment in that city, or would you be better off looking for an apartment in a city without rent control?
5Price ceiling A legally determined maximum price that sellers may charge. Price floor A legally determined minimum price that sellers may receive.When the government imposes a price ceiling or a price floor, the amount of economic surplus in a market is reduced.
6Consumer Surplus and Producer Surplus 4.1 LEARNING OBJECTIVEDistinguish between the concepts of consumer surplus and producer surplus.
7Consumer SurplusConsumer surplus The difference between the highest price a consumer is willing to pay for a good or service and the price the consumer actually pays.Marginal benefit The additional benefit to a consumer from consuming one more unit of a good or service.
8Figure 4.1Deriving the Demand Curve for Chai TeaWith four consumers in the market for chai tea, the demand curve is determined by the highest price each consumer is willing to pay.For prices above $6, no tea is sold because $6 is the highest price any consumer is willing to pay.For prices of $3 and below, every one of the four consumers is willing to buy a cup of tea.
9Figure 4.2Measuring Consumer SurplusPanel (a) shows the consumer surplus for Theresa, Tom, and Terri when the price of tea is $3.50 per cup.Theresa’s consumer surplus is equal to the area of rectangle A and is the difference between the highest price she would pay—$6—and the market price of $3.50.Tom’s consumer surplus is equal to the area of rectangle B, and Terri’s consumer surplus is equal to the area of rectangle C.Total consumer surplus in this market is equal to the sum of the areas of rectangles A, B, and C, or the total area below the demand curve and above the market price.In panel (b), consumer surplus increases by the shaded area as the market price declines from $3.50 to $3.00.
10Figure 4.3Total Consumer Surplus in the Market for Chai TeaThe demand curve tells us that most buyers of chai tea would have been willing to pay more than the market price of $2.00.For each buyer, consumer surplus is equal to the difference between the highest price he or she is willing to pay and the market price actually paid.Therefore, the total amount of consumer surplus in the market for chai tea is equal to the area below the demand curve and above the market price.Consumer surplus represents the benefit to consumers in excess of the price they paid to purchase the product.The total amount of consumer surplus in a market is equal to the area below the demand curve and above the market price.
11Making the ConnectionThe Consumer Surplus from Broadband Internet ServiceThe demand curve shows the marginal benefit consumers received in 2006 from subscribing to a broadband Internet service rather than using dialup or doing without access to the Internet.The area below the demand curve and above the $36 price line represents the difference between the price consumers would have paid and the $36 they did pay.The shaded area on the graph represents the total consumer surplus in the market for broadband Internet service, which was estimated to be $890.5 million per month.Your Turn: Test your understanding by doing related problem 1.9 at the end of this chapter.MyEconLab
12Producer SurplusMarginal cost The additional cost to a firm of producing one more unit of a good or service.Producer surplus The difference between the lowest price a firm would be willing to accept for a good or service and the price it actually receives.
13Panel (a) shows Heavenly Tea’s producer surplus. Figure 4.4aMeasuring Producer SurplusPanel (a) shows Heavenly Tea’s producer surplus.Producer surplus is the difference between the lowest price a firm would be willing to accept and the price it actually receives.The lowest price Heavenly Tea is willing to accept to supply a cup of tea is equal to its marginal cost of producing that cup.When the market price of tea is $2.00, Heavenly receives producer surplus of $0.75 on the first cup (the area of rectangle A), $0.50 on the second cup (rectangle B), and $0.25 on the third cup (rectangle C).
14Figure 4.4bMeasuring Producer SurplusIn panel (b), the total amount of producer surplus tea sellers receive from selling chai tea can be calculated by adding up for the entire market the producer surplus received on each cup sold.In the figure, total producer surplus is equal to the area above the supply curve and below the market price, shown in red.The total amount of producer surplus in a market is equal to the area above the market supply curve and below the market price.
15What Consumer Surplus and Producer Surplus Measure Consumer surplus measures the net benefit to consumers from participating in a market rather than the total benefit.Consumer surplus in a market is equal to the total benefit received by consumers minus the total amount they must pay to buy the good or service.Similarly, producer surplus measures the net benefit received by producers from participating in a market.Producer surplus in a market is equal to the total amount firms receive from consumers minus the cost of producing the good or service.
16The Efficiency of Competitive Markets 4.2 LEARNING OBJECTIVEUnderstand the concept of economic efficiency.
17Figure 4.5Marginal Benefit Equals Marginal Cost Only at Competitive EquilibriumIn a competitive market, equilibrium occurs at a quantity of 15,000 cups and a price of $2.00 per cup, where marginal benefit equals marginal cost.This is the economically efficient level of output because every cup has been produced where the marginal benefit to buyers is greater than or equal to the marginal cost to producers.Equilibrium in a competitive market results in the economically efficient level of output, where marginal benefit equals marginal cost.
18Economic surplus The sum of consumer surplus and producer surplus. Figure 4.6Economic Surplus Equals the Sum of Consumer Surplus and Producer SurplusThe economic surplus in a market is the sum of the blue area, representing consumer surplus,and the red area, representing producer surplus.Equilibrium in a competitive market results in the greatest amount of economic surplus, or total net benefit to society, from the production of a good or service.Economic efficiency A market outcome in which the marginal benefit to consumers of the last unit produced is equal to its marginal cost of production and in which the sum of consumer surplus and producer surplus is at a maximum.
19Deadweight loss The reduction in economic surplus resulting from a market not being in competitive equilibrium.Figure 4.7When a Market Is Not in Equilibrium, There Is a Deadweight LossEconomic surplus is maximized when a market is in competitive equilibrium.When a market is not in equilibrium, there is a deadweight loss.When the price of chai tea is $2.20 instead of $2.00, consumer surplus declines from an amount equal to the sum of areas A, B, and C to just area A.Producer surplus increases from the sum of areas D and E to the sum of areas B and D.At competitive equilibrium, there is no deadweight loss.At a price of $2.20, there is a deadweight loss equal to the sum of areas C and E.
20Government Intervention in the Market: Price Floors and Price Ceilings 4.3 LEARNING OBJECTIVEExplain the economic effect of government-imposed price floors and price ceilings.
21Price Floors: Government Policy in Agricultural Markets Figure 4.8The Economic Effect of a Price Floor in the Wheat MarketIf wheat farmers convince the government to impose a price floor of $3.50 per bushel, the amount of wheat sold will fall from 2.0 billion bushels per year to 1.8 billion.If we assume that farmers produce 1.8 billion bushels, producer surplus then increases by the red rectangle A—which is transferred from consumer surplus—and falls by the yellow triangle C.Consumer surplus declines by the red rectangle A plus the yellow triangle B.There is a deadweight loss equal to the yellow triangles B and C, representing the decline in economic efficiency due to the price floor.In reality, a price floor of $3.50 per bushel will cause farmers to expand their production from 2.0 billion to 2.2 billion bushels, resulting in a surplus of wheat.
22Making the ConnectionPrice Floors in Labor Markets: The Debate over Minimum Wage PolicySupporters of the minimum wage see it as a way of raising the incomes of low-skilled workers.Opponents argue that it results in fewer jobs and imposes large costs on small businesses.Whatever the extent of employment losses from the minimum wage, because it is a price floor, it will cause a deadweight loss.Your Turn: Test your understanding by doing related problem 3.12 at the end of this chapter.MyEconLab
23Price Ceilings: Government Rent Control Policy in Housing Markets Figure 4.9The Economic Effect of a Rent CeilingWithout rent control, the equilibrium rent is $1,500 per month.At that price, 2,000,000 apartments would be rented.If the government imposes a rent ceiling of $1,000, the quantity of apartments supplied falls to 1,900,000,and the quantity of apartments demanded increases to 2,100,000,resulting in a shortage of 200,000 apartments.Don’t Let This Happen to YouDon’t Confuse “Scarcity” with “Shortage”There is no shortage of most scarce goods.Your Turn: Test your understanding by doing related problem 3.15 at the end of this chapter.MyEconLab
24Price Ceilings: Government Rent Control Policy in Housing Markets Figure 4.9The Economic Effect of a Rent CeilingWithout rent control, the equilibrium rent is $1,500 per month.At that price, 2,000,000 apartments would be rented.If the government imposes a rent ceiling of $1,000, the quantity of apartments supplied falls to 1,900,000,and the quantity of apartments demanded increases to 2,100,000,resulting in a shortage of 200,000 apartments.Producer surplus equal to the area of the blue rectangle A is transferred from landlords to renters,and there is a deadweight loss equal to the areas of yellow triangles B and C.Black market A market in which buying and selling take place at prices that violate government price regulations.
25Solved Problem 4.3What’s the Economic Effect of a Black Market for Apartments?Suppose that competition among tenants results in the black market rent rising to $2,000 per month. Use a graph showing the market for apartments, noting any differences in consumer surplus, producer surplus, and deadweight loss.Solving the ProblemStep 1: Review the chapter material.Step 2: Draw a graph similar to Figure 4.9, with the addition of the black market price.Step 3: Analyze the changes from Figure 4.9.Producer surplus has increased by an amount equal to rectangles A and E, and consumer surplus has declined by the same amount.Deadweight loss is equal to triangles B and C, the same as in Figure 4.9.The remaining consumer surplus is the blue triangle D.Eventually, the market could even end up at the competitive equilibrium.Your Turn: For more practice, do related problem 3.14 at the end of this chapter.MyEconLab
26Positive and Normative Analysis of Price Ceilings and Price Floors The Results of Government Price Controls: Winners, Losers, and InefficiencyWhen the government imposes price floors or price ceilings, three important results occur:• Some people win.• Some people lose.• There is a loss of economic efficiency.Positive and Normative Analysis of Price Ceilings and Price FloorsOur analysis of rent control and of the federal farm programs in this chapter is positive analysis. Whether these programs are desirable or undesirable is a normative question.Whether the gains to the winners more than make up for the losses to the losers and decline in economic efficiency is a matter of judgment and not strictly an economic question.
27The Economic Impact of Taxes 4.4 LEARNING OBJECTIVEAnalyze the economic impact of taxes.
28The Effect of Taxes on Economic Efficiency Figure 4.10The Effect of a Tax on the Market for CigarettesWithout the tax, market equilibrium occurs at point A.The equilibrium price of cigarettes is $4.00 per pack, and 4 billion packs of cigarettes are sold per year.A $1.00-per-pack tax on cigarettes will cause the supply curve for cigarettes to shift up by $1.00, from S1 to S2.The new equilibrium occurs at point B.The price of cigarettes will increase by $0.90, to $4.90 per pack, and the quantity sold will fall to 3.7 billion packs.The tax on cigarettes has increased the price paid by consumers from $4.00 to $4.90 per pack.Producers receive a price of $4.90 per pack (point B), but after paying the $1.00 tax, they are left with $3.90 (point C).The government will receive tax revenue equal to the green shaded box.Some consumer surplus and some producer surplus will become tax revenue for the government, and some will become deadweight loss, shown by the yellow-shaded area.
29Determining Tax Incidence on a Demand and Supply Graph Tax incidence The actual division of the burden of a tax between buyers and sellers in a market.Determining Tax Incidence on a Demand and Supply GraphFigure 4.11The Incidence of a Tax on GasolineWith no tax on gasoline, the price would be $3.00 per gallon, and 144 billion gallons of gasoline would be sold each year.A 10-cents-per-gallon excise tax shifts up the supply curve from S1 to S2,raises the price consumers pay from $3.00 to $3.08,and lowers the price sellers receive from $3.00 to $2.98.Therefore, consumers pay 8 cents of the 10-cents-per-gallon tax on gasoline, and sellers pay 2 cents.
30Solved Problem 4.4 When Do Consumers Pay All of a Sales Tax Increase? A student makes the following statement: “If the federal government raises the sales tax on gasoline by $0.25, then the price of gasoline will rise by $0.25. Consumers can’t get by without gasoline, so they have to pay the whole amount of any increase in the sales tax.”Under what circumstances will the student’s statement be true?Solving the ProblemStep 1: Review the chapter material.Step 2: Draw a graph like Figure 4.11 to illustrate the circumstances when consumers will pay all of an increase in a sales tax.Step 3: Use the graph to evaluate the situation.The graph shows that consumers will pay all of an increase in a sales tax only if the demand curve is a vertical line.Because the demand curve for gasoline is not a vertical line, this is an unrealistic scenario.Your Turn: For more practice, do related problem 4.7 at the end of the chapter.MyEconLab
31Does It Make a Difference Whether the Government Collects a Tax from Buyers or Sellers? Figure 4.12The Incidence of a Tax on Gasoline Paid by BuyersWith no tax on gasoline, the demand curve is D1.If a 10-cents-per-gallon tax is imposed that consumers are responsible for paying, the demand curve shifts down by the amount of the tax, from D1 to D2.In the new equilibrium, consumers pay a price of $3.08 per gallon, including the tax.Producers receive $2.98 per gallon.This is the same result we saw when producers were responsible for paying the tax.
32Making the ConnectionIs the Burden of the Social Security Tax Really Shared Equally between Workers and Firms?The burden of the tax falls almost entirely on workers in both panels.The forces of demand and supply working in the labor market, and not Congress, determine the incidence of the tax.Your Turn: Test your understanding by doing related problems 4.8 and 4.9 at the end of this chapter.MyEconLab
33Economics in Your LifeDoes Rent Control Make It Easier for You to Find an Affordable Apartment?At the beginning of the chapter, we posed the following question:If you have two job offers in different cities, one with rent control and one without, will you be more likely to find an affordable apartment in the city with rent control?Although rent control can keep rents lower than they might otherwise be, it can also lead to a permanent shortage of apartments. You may have to search for a long time to find a suitable apartment, and landlords may even ask you to give them payments “under the table,” which would make your actual rent higher than the controlled rent. Finding an apartment in a city without rent control should be much easier, although the rent may be higher.
34AN INSIDE LOOK AT POLICY . . . and the Rent-Controlled Apartment Goesto Actress Faye Dunaway!The effect of rent control laws on the supply of affordable apartments.
35Appendix Quantitative Demand and Supply Analysis LEARNING OBJECTIVEUse quantitative demand and supply analysis.Demand and Supply EquationsSuppose that the demand for apartments in New York City is QD=3,000,000−1,000P and the supply of apartments is QS=−450,000+1,300P.Equilibrium condition:Solve for the equilibrium monthly apartment rent:
36Find the equilibrium quantity of apartments rented: Calculate the values for rent by setting QD and QS equal to zero and solving for price:and:
37Figure 4A.1Graphing Supply and Demand EquationsAfter statistically estimating supply and demand equations, we can use the equations to draw supply and demand curves.In this case, the equilibrium rent for apartments is $1,500 per month, and the equilibrium quantity of apartments rented is 1,500,000.The supply equation tells us that at a rent of $346, the quantity of apartments supplied will be zero.The demand equation tells us that at a rent of $3,000, the quantity of apartments demanded will be zero.The areas representing consumer surplus and producer surplus are also indicated on the graph.
38Calculating Consumer Surplus and Producer Surplus Suppose the city imposes a rent ceiling of $1,000 per month. Calculate the quantity of apartments that will actually be rented:Find the price on the demand curve when the quantity of apartments is 850,000:
39The difference between the values of these two areas is $213,750,000. Figure 4A.2Calculating the Economic Effect of Rent ControlsOnce we have estimated equations for the demand and supply of rental housing, a diagram can guide our numeric estimates of the economic effects of rent control.Consumer surplus falls by an amount equal to the area of the yellow triangle B and increases by an amount equal to the area of the blue rectangle A.The difference between the values of these two areas is $213,750,000.Producer surplus falls by an amount equal to the area of the blue rectangle A plus the area of the yellow triangle C.The value of these two areas is $587,500,000.The remaining producer surplus is equal to the area of triangle D, or $278,000,000.Deadweight loss is equal to the area of triangle B plus the area of triangle C, or $373,750,000.
40Competitive Equilibrium The following table summarizes the results of the analysis (the values are in millions of dollars):Consumer SurplusProducer SurplusDeadweight LossCompetitive EquilibriumRentControl$1,125$1,338.75$865.50$278$0$373.75