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MARKET FAILURES: Conditions in which a market does not efficiently allocate resources to achieve the greatest possible consumer satisfaction. The four main market failures are--(1) public good, (2) market control, (3) externality, and (4) imperfect information. In each case, a market acting without any government imposed direction, does not direct an efficient amount of our resources into the production, distribution, or consumption of the good.

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Lesson 3: Scarcity | Unit 4: College Cost Page: 12 of 17

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An example of the opportunity cost of attending college.
  • Tuition, fees, textbooks, sliderule, etc. ($932.71 per semester) is an explicit opportunity cost.
  • The opportunity cost is all other things that you could have bought with this money-fuzzy dice, hot fudge sundaes, a used Ford Pinto, music CDs.
  • The tuition cost of your college degree is the added up over all semesters ($7,461,68).
However, the TOTAL COST actually goes well beyond this explicit $7,461,68 payment, since there are other costs that don't involve a money payment:
  • By attending school you have foregone alternative activities like working.
  • Unearned income, $15,000 per year, $60,000 for four years, is an extremely important implicit opportunity cost of a college education.
  • Implicit opportunity costs need not have a dollar value attached.
  • The foregone satisfaction from activities like watching television or sleeping, are also implicit opportunity costs.

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ABSTRACTION

Simplifying the complexities of the real world by ignoring (hopefully) unimportant details while doing economic analysis. Abstraction is an essential feature of the scientific method. Hypothesis verification, model construction, and comparative static analysis are not possible without abstraction.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time going from convenience store to convenience store seeking to buy either a turbo-powered vacuum cleaner or a battery-powered, rechargeable vacuum cleaner. Be on the lookout for defective microphones.
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