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Economics Chapter 6:. Prices and Decision Making. Economics Chapter 6: Prices and Decision Making. Prices serve as signals to both producers and consumers. In doing so, they help decide the basic WHAT, HOW, and FOR WHOM questions that all societies face.

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Economics chapter 6

Economics Chapter 6:

Prices and Decision Making


Economics chapter 6 prices and decision making
Economics Chapter 6: Prices and Decision Making

  • Prices serve as signals to both producers and consumers. In doing so, they help decide the basic WHAT, HOW, and FOR WHOM questions that all societies face.

  • High prices are signals for businesses to produce more and for consumers to buy less. Low prices are signals for businesses to produce less and for consumers to buy more.


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Economics Chapter 6: Prices and Decision Making

  • Prices have the advantage of neutrality, flexibility, efficiency, and clarity.

  • Other non-price allocation methods such as rationing can be used. Under such a system, people receive ration coupons, which are similar to tickets or receipts that entitle the holder to purchase a certain amount of a product.


Economics chapter 6 prices and decision making2
Economics Chapter 6: Prices and Decision Making

  • Non-price allocation systems suffer from problems regarding fairness, high administrative costs, and diminished incentives to work and produce.


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Economics Chapter 6: Prices and Decision Making

  • A market economy is made up of many different markets and different prices prevail in each. A change in price in one market affects more than the allocation of resources in that market. It also affects the allocation of resources between markets.


Economics chapter 6 prices and decision making4
Economics Chapter 6: Prices and Decision Making

1st left hand page Question #1:

Imagine that no matter how much you studied, you already knew you were going to get a “C” in economics. How would this affect your incentive to study? Explain your answer.


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Economics Chapter 6: Prices and Decision Making

The Price System At Work

  • Because transactions in a market economy are voluntary, the compromise that eventually takes place must be to the benefit of both parties, or the compromise would not occur in the first place.


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Economics Chapter 6: Prices and Decision Making

  • Economists use an economic model to show how we reach market equilibrium → a situation in which prices are relatively stable, and the quantity of goods and services supplied is equal to the quantity demanded.


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Economics Chapter 6: Prices and Decision Making

  • Surplus is a situation in which the quantity supplied is greater than the quantity demanded at a given price.

  • Shortage is a situation in which the quantity demanded is greater than the quantity supplied at a given price.


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Economics Chapter 6: Prices and Decision Making

  • Equilibrium Price is the price that “clears the market” by leaving neither a surplus nor a shortage at the end of the trading period.


Economics chapter 6 prices and decision making9
Economics Chapter 6: Prices and Decision Making

1st left hand page Question #2:

Imagine that you want to go to a concert but you find out it is sold out at ticket outlets. What effect will this shortage of tickets have on the price of any remaining concert tickets? Explain.



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Economics Chapter 6: Prices and Decision Making

2nd left hand page Question #1:

U.S. soybean farmers had a record-high harvest in 1998. What likely affect did the increase in the supply of soybeans have on their price? Explain


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Economics Chapter 6: Prices and Decision Making

Market Demand and Supply Schedule


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Economics Chapter 6: Prices and Decision Making

  • In a competitive market, prices are established by the forces of supply and demand. If the price is too high, a temporary surplus appears until the price goes down. If the price is too low, a temporary shortage appears until the price rises. Eventually the market reaches the equilibrium price where there is neither a shortage nor a surplus.


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Economics Chapter 6: Prices and Decision Making

  • A change in price can be caused by a change in supply or a change in demand. The size of the price change is affected by the elasticity of both curves. The more elastic the curves, the smaller the price change; the less elastic the curves, the larger the price change.


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Economics Chapter 6: Prices and Decision Making

  • The Theory of Competitive Pricing represents a set of ideal conditions and outcomes. The theory serves as a model by which to measure the performance of other, less competitive markets. Because of this, absolutely pure competition is not needed for the theory of competitive pricing to be practical.


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Economics Chapter 6: Prices and Decision Making

Social Goal vs Market Efficiency

  • Governments sometimes fix prices at levels above or below the equilibrium price to achieve the social goals of equity and security.


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Economics Chapter 6: Prices and Decision Making

  • Price Ceiling – a maximum legal price that can be charged for a product.

  • Price Floors – the lowest legal price that can be paid for a good or service.

  • If the fixed price is a price ceiling, as in the case of rent controls, a shortage usually appears fir as long as the price remains fixed below the equilibrium price.


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Economics Chapter 6: Prices and Decision Making

Target Price – a price floor for farm products

Agricultural price supports were introduced during the 1930s to support farm incomes.

  • Non-Course Loan support programs allowed farmers to borrow against crops and then keep the loan or forfeit the crop if market prices were low.


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Economics Chapter 6: Prices and Decision Making

  • Later deficiency payments were used, supplying the farmer with a check that made up the difference between the target price and the actual price received for the product.


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Economics Chapter 6: Prices and Decision Making

  • “When Markets Talk” – are said to talk when prices in them move up or down significantly.


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Economics Chapter 6: Prices and Decision Making

2nd left hand page Question #2:

Think of the last item you decided not to buy. What message did your decision send to the manufacturer? Explain your answer.