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The Theory of Consumer Behavior. The principle assumption upon which the theory of consumer behavior and demand is built is: a consumer attempts to allocate his/her limited money income among available goods and services so as to maximize his/her utility (satisfaction).

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## The Theory of Consumer Behavior

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**The Theory of Consumer Behavior**The principle assumption upon which the theory of consumer behavior and demand is built is: a consumer attempts to allocate his/her limited money income among available goods and services so as to maximize his/her utility (satisfaction).**Theories of Consumer Choice**• The Cardinal Theory • Utility is measurable in a cardinal sense • The Ordinal Theory • Utility is measurable in an ordinal sense**The Cardinal Approach**Nineteenth century economists, such as Jevons, Menger and Walras, assumed that utility was measurable in a cardinal sense, which means that the difference between two measurement is itself numerically significant. UX = f (X), UY = f (Y), ….. Utility is maximized when: MUX / MUY = PX / PY**The Ordinal Approach**Economists following the lead of Hicks, Slutsky and Pareto believe that utility is measurable in an ordinal sense--the utility derived from consuming a good, such as X, is a function of the quantities of X and Y consumed by a consumer. U = f ( X, Y )**Assumptions of the Ordinal Utility Approach**• Complete Ordering; • More is Preferred to Less; • Transitivity or Consistency; • Substitutability or Continuity; and • Optimality**Tools of the Ordinal Approach**• The Budget Line • Budget line illustrates the consumer’s income constraint by showing all of the combinations of quantities of X and Y that the consumer can buy. • The Indifference Curves • Indifference curves reveal consumer’s preferences for X and Y by identifying the combinations of X and Y which yield the same level of total utility.**Characteristics of Indifference Curves**Indifference Curves are: • Continuous and Everywhere Dense; • Negatively Sloped; • Convex from the Origin; and • Indifference Curves Do Not Intersect.

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