 # Utility and Demand CHAPTER 7. 2 After studying this chapter you will be able to Explain what limits a household’s consumption choices Describe preferences.

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Utility and Demand CHAPTER 7

2 After studying this chapter you will be able to Explain what limits a household’s consumption choices Describe preferences using the concept of utility and distinguish between total utility and marginal utility Explain the marginal utility theory of consumer choice Use marginal utility theory to predict the effects of changing prices and incomes Use marginal utility theory to prove the law of demand Explain the paradox of value

3 Approaches to Consumer Utility Marginal Utility approach Based on cardinal numbers Indifference Curve approach Based on ordinal numbers

The Household’s Budget Consumption Possibilities A household’s consumption possibilities are constrained by its income and the prices of the goods and services it buys. A household has a given amount of income to spend and cannot influence the prices of the goods and services it buys. A household’s budget line describes the limits to a household’s consumption choices.

The Household’s Budget Relative Price A relative price is the price of one good divided by the price of another good. The price of a movie is \$6 and the price of soda is \$3 a six-pack. So the relative price of a movie is \$6 per movie divided by \$3 per six-pack, which equals 2 six-packs per movie.

The Household’s Budget Real Income A household’s real income is the household’s income expressed as the quantity of goods that the household can afford to buy. Expressed in terms of soda, Lisa’s real income is 10 six- packs—the maximum quantity of six-packs that she can buy. Lisa’s real income equals her money income (\$30) divided by the price of a six-pack (\$3).

Preferences and Utility Preferences A household’s preferences determine the benefits or satisfaction a person receives consuming a good or service. The benefit or satisfaction from consuming a good or service is called utility. Total Utility Total utility is the total benefit a person gets from the consumption of goods. Generally, more consumption gives more utility.

Preferences and Utility Table 7.1 on page 157 provides an example of total utility schedule. Figure 7.2(a) shows a total utility curve. Total utility increases with the consumption of a good.

Preferences and Utility Marginal Utility Marginal utility is the change in total utility that results from a one-unit increase in the quantity of a good consumed. As the quantity consumed of a good increases, the marginal utility from consuming it decreases. We call this decrease in marginal utility as the quantity of the good consumed increases the principle of diminishing marginal utility.

Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility As a person consumes additional units of a commodity, at some point, the additional satisfaction (marginal utility) will diminish.

Preferences and Utility Figure 7.2(b) illustrates diminishing marginal utility. Utility is analogous to temperature. Both are abstract concepts and both are measured in arbitrary units.

Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility Utility defined Subjective nature Difficult to quantify

Total and Marginal Utility Hamburgers consumed per meal Total Utility Marginal utility  (2) 0123456701234567 0 10 18 24 28 30 28 10 8 6 4 2 0 -2 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Units consumed per meal 30 20 10 Total Utility (utils) Marginal Utility (utils) 10 8 6 4 2 0 -2 TU MU 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Maximizing Utility The key assumption of marginal utility theory is that the household chooses the consumption possibility that maximizes total utility. The Utility-Maximizing Choice We can find the utility-maximizing choice by looking at the total utility that arises from each affordable combination. Table 7.2 (page 158) shows an example of the utility- maximizing combination, which is called a consumer equilibrium.

Maximizing Utility Equalizing Marginal Utility per Dollar Using marginal analysis, a consumer’s total utility is maximized by following the rule: Spend all available income and equalize the marginal utility per dollar for all goods. The marginal utility per dollar is the marginal utility from a good divided by its price.

Utility Maximizing Rule The consumer’s money income should be allocated so that the last dollar spent on each product purchased yields the same amount of extra (marginal) utility

Algebraic Restatement of the Utility Maximization Rule MU of product A MU of product B Price of A Price of B =

First 10 102412 Second 8 82010 Third 7 718 9 Fourth 6 616 8 Fifth 5 512 6 Sixth 4 4 6 3 Seventh 3 3 4 2 Unit of product Product A: Price = \$1 Product B: Price = \$2 Marginal utility, utils Marginal utility per dollar (MU/price) Marginalutility,utils Marginal utility per dollar(MU/price)

Marginal Utility and the Demand Curve Deriving the Demand Curve Preferences or tastes Money Income Prices of other goods Create a demand schedule from the purchase decisions as the price of the product is varied.... Price per unit of B Quantity Demanded \$24 16

THE LAW OF DEMAND Substitution Effect –The change in quantity demanded resulting from a change in relative price Income Effect –The change in quantity demanded resulting from a change in price due to the change in real income

THE LAW OF DEMAND Total Effect –The change in quantity demanded resulting from a change in price

THE LAW OF DEMAND Total Substitution Income Effect Effect Effect

Price of Good X Decreases Type Subst Income Total Good Effect Effect Effect Normal + + + Inferior + - + Giffen + - - Giffen good is the only exception to the law of demand.

Efficiency, Price, and Value Consumer Efficiency and Consumer Surplus –When consumers maximize their utility, they are using resources efficiently. –And the marginal benefit from a good or service is the maximum price the consumer is willing to pay for an extra unit of that good or service when his or her utility is maximized.