Google
Sunday 
December 4, 2016 

AmosWEB means Economics with a Touch of Whimsy!

AmosWEBWEB*pediaGLOSS*aramaECON*worldCLASS*portalQUIZ*tasticPED GuideXtra CrediteTutorA*PLS
Today's Index
Yesterday's Index
190.9

Help us compile the AmosWEB Free Lunch Index. Tell us about your last lunch.

Skipped lunch altogether.
Bought by another.
Ate lunch at home.
Brought lunch from home.
Fast food drive through.
Fast food dine in.
All-you-can eat buffet.
Casual dining with tip.
Fancy upscale with tip.

More About the Index
Something, something about finals?

Lack of sleep.
Roommate finishing early.
No more boring lectures.
Semester almost over.
Forgot you were taking a class.
That other thing.

SOCIAL SECURITY TAX: A tax on wage earnings that's used to fund the Social Security system. In principle, the Social Security tax is divided equally between employer and employee--your share is listed under the FICA heading of your paycheck. In practice, however, employees really end up paying both employee and employer contributes. The reason is that employers need to consider the entire cost of hiring an employee, including wages, fringe benefits, and assorted taxes. The more they pay in these nonwage items, like Social Security taxes, the less they pay in wages. In that the Social security tax is only on earnings, and excludes profit, interest, and rent, it tends to be a regressive tax.

Visit the GLOSS*arama


MARGINAL UTILITY AND DEMAND:

An explanation of the law of demand and the negatively-sloped demand curve based on utility analysis and the law of diminishing marginal utility. The law of diminishing marginal utility states that marginal utility declines as consumption increases. Because demand price depends on the marginal utility obtained from a good, price also declines as consumption increases, meaning price and quantity demanded are inversely related, which is the law of demand.
Marginal utility and the law of diminishing marginal utility can be used to provide insight into market demand, the law of demand, and the demand curve. This insight rests on two propositions.

  • One, the law of diminishing marginal utility means that the marginal utility obtained from consuming a good declines as the quantity consumed increases.

  • Two, the marginal utility of a good underlies the demand price that buyers are willing and able to pay for a good.

When combined, these two propositions indicate the demand price that buyers are willing and able to pay for a good declines as the quantity demanded (and consumed) increases, which is the law of demand.

Starting with Utility

Edgar Rides the Coaster
Sundae Utility
The graph displayed at the right is Edgar Millbottom's marginal utility curve for riding the Monster Loop Death Plunge roller coaster during a day at the Shady Valley Amusement Park. By transforming this curve ever so slightly, Edgar's demand curve for roller coaster rides can be derived.

But first, consider the marginal utility curve itself.

  • The vertical axis measures marginal utility in utils and the horizontal axis measures quantity in rides on the roller coaster.

  • The marginal utility curve has a negative slope, illustrating the law of diminishing marginal utility.

  • Marginal utility curve intersects the horizontal axis at 6 rides. Marginal utility is positive up to that point, then becomes negative after.
The task at hand is to transform this marginal utility curve into a demand curve. To do this, though, a little more information is needed.

Adjusting the Rule

According to the rule of consumer equilibrium, people like Edgar buy goods such that the marginal utility-price ratio for each good is equal, satisfying this equation:

marginal utility of good 1
price of good 1
=marginal utility of good 2
price of good 2

However, in the derivation of Edgar's demand curve for roller coaster rides, the key comparison is not between roller coaster rides and ONE other good, but with ALL other alternatives. The big assumption, therefore, is that Edgar achieves consumer equilibrium and satisfies this rule of consumer equilibrium for ALL other goods.

If so, then Edgar has a "standard" or "benchmark" marginal utility-price ratio. For the sake of exposition, suppose that Edgar's benchmark marginal utility-price ratio is 2 utils per dollar. In other words, Edgar purchases all sorts of different goods such that the last dollar spent on each good generates 2 utils of satisfaction.

It this case, it is possible to specify the rule of consumer equilibrium as:

marginal utility of roller coaster rides
price of roller coaster rides
=marginal utility of all other goods
price of all other goods
= 2 utils per dollar

If this equation is rearranged just a little, the result is:

marginal utility of roller coaster rides
2 utils per dollar
=price of roller coaster rides

The beauty of this equation is that the price that Edgar is willing and able to pay for roller coaster rides (his demand price) is now connected to the marginal utility derived from those rides.

Making the Conversion

The Conversion
Utility to Demand
In terms of the original marginal utility graph, dividing the marginal utility on the vertical axis by 2 utils per dollar transforms the marginal utility curve into a demand curve. Click the [Demand Curve] button to make this happen.

Not much changes upon clicking the [Demand Curve] button. One change is the measurement units on the vertical axis from utils to dollars. The other change is the elimination of that part of the curve in the negative range of marginal utility and price (negative prices are not relevant). Feel fee to click the [Reset] and [Demand Curve] buttons a couple of times to confirm that not much changes.

Multiple button clicks should serve to emphasize that the marginal utility curve and the demand curve are closely related, that demand is based on marginal utility, and that the law of diminishing marginal utility is the foundation for the law of demand.

<= MARGINAL UTILITYMARGINAL UTILITY CURVE =>


Recommended Citation:

MARGINAL UTILITY AND DEMAND, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia, http://www.AmosWEB.com, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2016. [Accessed: December 4, 2016].


Check Out These Related Terms...

     | consumer equilibrium | rule of consumer equilibrium | marginal utility-price ratio | utility maximization | constrained utility maximization |


Or For A Little Background...

     | demand | demand curve | law of demand | demand price | law of diminishing marginal utility | marginal utility | marginal utility curve | price |


And For Further Study...

     | utility measurement | cardinal utility | ordinal utility | util | utilitarianism | total utility curve | diamond-water paradox | utility | total utility | consumer demand theory | utility analysis | income change, utility analysis | price change, utility analysis | preferences change, utility analysis | price elasticity of demand |


Search Again?

Back to the WEB*pedia


APLS

State of the ECONOMY

Prime Rate
August 26, 2015
3.50%
WSJ Prime

More Stats

BLACK DISMALAPOD
[What's This?]

Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time waiting for visits from door-to-door solicitors wanting to buy either a how-to book on meeting people or clothing for your pet iguana. Be on the lookout for empty parking spaces that appear to be near the entrance to a store.
Your Complete Scope

This isn't me! What am I?

The 1909 Lincoln penny was the first U.S. coin with the likeness of a U.S. President.
"Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something. "

-- Plato, philosopher

SPO
Strongly Pareto Optimal
A PEDestrian's Guide
Xtra Credit
Tell us what you think about AmosWEB. Like what you see? Have suggestions for improvements? Let us know. Click the User Feedback link.

User Feedback



| AmosWEB | WEB*pedia | GLOSS*arama | ECON*world | CLASS*portal | QUIZ*tastic | PED Guide | Xtra Credit | eTutor | A*PLS |
| About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Statement |

Thanks for visiting AmosWEB
Copyright ©2000-2016 AmosWEB*LLC
Send comments or questions to: WebMaster