(Key Question) Cite three examples of recent decisions that you made in which you, at least implicitly, weighed marginal costs and marginal benefits.
Student answers will vary, but may include the decision to come to class, to skip breakfast to get a few extra minutes of sleep, to attend college, or to make a purchase. Marginal benefits of attending class may include the acquisition of knowledge, participation in discussion, and better preparation for an upcoming examination. Marginal costs may include lost opportunities for sleep, meals, or studying for other classes. In evaluating the discussion of marginal benefits and marginal costs, be careful to watch for sunk costs offered as a rationale for marginal decisions. 1-5
Indicate whether each of the following statements applies to microeconomics or macroeconomics:
The unemployment rate in the United States was 4.9 percent in January 2008.
A U.S. software firm discharged 15 workers last month and transferred the work to India.
An unexpected freeze in central Florida reduced the citrus crop and caused the price of oranges to rise.
U.S. output, adjusted for inflation, grew by 2.2 percent in 2007.
Last week Wells Fargo Bank lowered its interest rate on business loans by one-half of 1 percentage point.
The consumer price index rose by 2.8 percent in 2007.
Macroeconomics: (a), (d), and (f)
Microeconomics: (b), (c), and (e)
Suppose you won $15 on a lotto ticket at the local 7-Eleven and decided to spend all the winnings on candy bars and bags of peanuts. The price of candy bars is $.75 and the price of peanuts is $1.50.
Construct a table showing the alternative combinations of the two products that are available.
Plot the data in your able as a budget line in a graph. What is the slope of the budget line? What is the opportunity cost of one more candy bar? Of one more bag of peanuts? Do these opportunity costs rise, fall, or remain constant as each additional unit of the product is purchased.
How, in general, would you decide which of the available combinations of candy bars and bags of peanuts to buy?
Suppose that you had won $30 on your ticket, not $15. Show the $30 budget line in your diagram. Why would this budget line be preferable to the old one?
|Goods |A |B |C |D |E |F | |Candy bars |0 |4 |8 |12 |16 |20 | |Bags of peanuts |10 |8 |6 |4 |2 |0 |
The slope for the budget line above, with candy bars on the horizontal axis, is -0.5 (= -Pcb/Pbp). Note that the figure could also be drawn with bags of peanuts on the horizontal axis. The slope of that budget line would be -2.
The opportunity cost of one more candy bar is ½ of a bag of peanuts. The opportunity cost of one more bag of peanuts is 2 candy bars. These opportunity costs are constant. They can be found by comparing any two of the consumption alternatives for the two goods.
The decision of how much of each to buy would involve weighing the marginal benefits and marginal costs of the various alternatives. If, for example, the marginal benefits of moving from alternative C to alternative D are greater than the marginal costs, then this consumer should move to D (and then compare again with E, and so forth, until MB=MC is attained).
The budget line at $30 would be preferable because it would allow greater consumption of both goods. 1-10
Below is a production possibilities table for consumer goods (automobiles) and capital goods (forklifts):
|Type of Production |Production Alternatives...
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