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Lecture 7 Consumer Behavior. Required Text: Frank and Bernanke – Chapter 5. Consumption Decision. Consumers choose from a “menu” of items in various combinations Must be affordable, given income and prices of goods Factors affecting the consumption decision:

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lecture 7 consumer behavior

Lecture 7Consumer Behavior

Required Text:

Frank and Bernanke – Chapter 5

consumption decision
Consumption Decision
  • Consumers choose from a “menu” of items in various combinations
    • Must be affordable, given income and prices of goods
  • Factors affecting the consumption decision:
    • An individual’s taste & preferences
      • Microeconomists take people’s taste & preference as given
    • How much money an individual has to spend (budget)
    • Price of the goods in the marketplace
consumption utility
Consumption & Utility
  • Utility – a measure of the satisfaction derived from consuming a product, good, or service
    • Since utility is derived from the inherent characteristics or qualities that make a product desirable, utility may be objective or subjective.
    • Util - a hypothetical numerical measurement of utility (used to represent the satisfaction derived from consuming products).
total utility and marginal utility
Total Utility and Marginal Utility
  • Total Utility (TU) – total satisfaction derived from consumption of a good.
  • Marginal Utility (MU) – The amount of additional utility derived from the consumption of an additional unit of a good when the quantity of consumption of all other goods are held constant
    • MU = ΔTU / ΔQ
    • MU is the utility provided by the last unit of the good consumed
law of diminishing marginal utility
Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility

Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility - as additional units of a good are consumed a point is always reached where the utility derived from each additional unit declines.

indifference curves

Qy

Y2

Y1

IC

X1

X2

Qx

Indifference Curves
  • Indifference Curve (IC) - a line showing all combinations of two goods (products) that provide the same level of utility i.e., the consumer

is indifferent

between them

  • As we move along the

IC, the utility level

remains the same but

quantities of goods consumed

change as one good replaces

(or substitutes) for the other.

characteristics of indifference curves
Characteristics of Indifference Curves
  • The closer to the origin, the lower the level of utility and vice versa.
  • Each IC represents a unique utility level - - Hence, ICs never intersect
  • ICs are negatively sloped and convex. The downward slope of the IC indicates that if the consumer consumes less of one good, she would consume more of the other (for utility to remain constant).
  • The whole set of IC is called an indifference map.

Qy

IC2

IC1

Qx

indifference curves1

Qy

IC

Qx

Indifference Curves
  • Marginal Rate of Substitution (MRS) – The number of units of one good that must be given up to receive an extra unit of another good, holding the level of satisfaction constant.
    • MRSXY = Y / X
    • MRS is the slope of the

indifference curve.

Y2

Y

Y1

X

X1

X2

marginal rate of substitution

Y

X

MRSXY= Y/X

25

5

-6

19

6

-2.50

14

8

-1.33

10

11

-0.75

7

15

-0.40

5

20

Marginal Rate of Substitution

Y

X

1

-6

-5

2

-4

3

-3

4

-2

5

diminishing marginal rate of substitution
Diminishing Marginal Rate of Substitution
  • More the consumer has of a particular good, say X, the less of another good, say Y, he would be willing to give up to obtain an additional unit of X.
  • That is, MRS of X for Y

gets smaller as the

consumer has more of X

and less of Y.

  • This is applicable only

if Y and X are

imperfect substitutes.

Y

IC

X

budget constraint

Y

X

Budget Constraint
  • Budget Constraint – price & availability of goods in the market, along with the size of the budget, place a constraint on consumption.
  • Budget and budget

constraint are

represented by

the budget line.

budget line

X

Y

Total Expenditure

30

0

30

24

3

30

18

6

30

12

9

30

0

15

30

Budget Line
  • Budget Line – a line indicating all combinations of two goods that can be purchased using all of the consumer’s budget, i.e., I = XPx+ YPy
  • Assume I = 30, PX = 1, & PY= 2
budget line1

Y

X

Budget Line
  • Every combination of goods along the budget line can be purchased for the same total expenditure.
    • The distance from

the origin is an indication

of the size of the budget.

    • The closer to the origin,

the lower the budget

and vice versa.

    • Only purchases on the

budget line use all of the

consumer’s budget.

budget line2

Y

X

Budget Line
  • I = XPx + YPy

OR

  • Y=I/Py –(Px / Py) X
  • Where, I/Pyis the

Y-intercept, I/PXis

the X-intercept and

- (Px / Py) is the slope

I/PY

Slope = - (Px / Py)

I/PX

changes in budget

Y

X

Changes in Budget
  • A budget increase (decrease) will result in a parallel shift of the budget line to the right (left)
  • If the price of one good changes, slope of budget line changes

Y

X

review of budget line and indifference curve

Y

X

Y

IC3

IC2

IC1

X

Review of Budget Line andIndifference Curve
  • Budget Line: a line indicating all

combinations of two goods that can be

purchased using all of the consumer’s

budget.

    • Only purchases on the budget line use

all of the consumer’s budget.

  • Indifference Curve (IC): a line showing

all combinations of two goods (products)

that provide the same level of utility.

    • ICs that are higher in graphs

represent greater level of satisfaction.

consumer choice problem
Consumer Choice Problem
  • The basic problem a consumer faces is how to allocate the budgetamong various goods to maximize utility (satisfaction).
  • That is, the consumer’s objective is to select from all combinations of goods within her means (i.e., combinations on his budget line) the one that gives him the maximum utility (i.e., the one that lies on the highest indifference curve.)
utility maximization decision1

Y

U

T

S

V

IC3

IC2

W

IC1

X

Utility Maximization Decision

It is then clear that from all the market baskets that are within the consumer’s reach, market basket

“V” would give the consumer the maximum utility.

Note that the market basket V is at a point where the budget line is tangent to IC2.

Thus, the slope of the budget line should be equal to the slope of the indifference curve.

utility maximization decision2
Utility Maximization Decision
  • Slope of the budget line = PX / PY
  • Slope of the indifference curve

= MRSXY = Y / X

  • Thus at the point of tangency:

MRS = Y / X = PX / PY

  • Thus, the consumer maximizes his utility where MRS is equal to the ratio of prices.
impact of changes in product prices
Impact of Changes in Product Prices
  • If the consumer’s income and the price of good Y remains the same, a change in the price of X causes the consumer’s budget line to pivot around its Y-intercept
    • A rise in the price of X causes the budget line to pivot inward
    • A fall in the price of X causes the budget line to pivot outward
impact of changes in product prices non giffen goods
Impact of Changes in Product Prices:Non-Giffen Goods
  • IF PX increases-X becomes relatively more expensive than Y
    • The (absolute) slope of the budget

line increases and the budget

line rotates inward

    • The consumer can no longer

afford to remain on original

indifference curve and must

move to a lower indifference

curve

    • The new equilibrium will be at S.

Y

V

S

IC1

W

IC2

X

impact of changes in product prices1

IC2

Impact of Changes in Product Prices
  • IF PX decreases- X becomes cheaper relative to Y
    • The slope of the budget line

decreases and the budget line

rotates outward

    • The consumer can afford to

move to a higher indifference

curve

    • The new equilibrium will be at S

Y

S

V

IC1

X

price consumption curve pcc

IC3

Price Consumption Curve (PCC)
  • The PCC connects points representing equilibrium market baskets corresponding to all possible levels of the price of good X, while price of Y and income remain the same.

Y

PCC

a

c

b

IC1

IC2

X

deriving a demand curve
Deriving a Demand Curve

An individual’s demand curve for a particular good is derived from the individual’s budget (budget line) & taste & preferences (indifference curve) or the PCC.

The law of demand states that, ceteris paribus, the quantity of a product demanded will vary inversely to the price of that product.

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Y

W

V

S

IC3

IC2

IC1

X

PCC

Y3

Y2

Y1

X1

X2

X3

P1

Price of X

P2

P3

Demand Curve for X

X

X1

X2

X3

deriving a demand curve1
Deriving a Demand Curve
  • Demand Curve – a line connecting all combinations of price and quantities consumed
  • Each point on a demand curve gives the price and quantity combination of a good that a consumer will buy, given his or her budget constraint and the prices of other goods.
  • Each point on the demand curve gives a quantity of the good that a consumer will buy to maximize utility.

P1

Price of X

P2

P3

Demand Curve for X

X1

X2

X3

X