1 Microeconomics Celina Hagen Opportunity Cost The opportunity cost is fundamental costs in economics, and is a benefit, profit, or value of something that must be given up to acquire or achieve something else. It is simply the cost of the best alternative forgone. Difference between straight line PPF and bowed out PPF A straight line PPF reflects constant opportunity cost, while a bowed out PPF reflects increasing opportunity cost. A bowed out PPF curve is usually called normal, where as you produce more of product A you give up more of B, but eventually the rate of substitution begins to decline due to lack in factor efficiency, so the curve becomes less elastic. Economic Resources, Economic growth and PPF Economic Resources is the land, labor, capital, and entrepreneurial ability that are used in the production of goods and services; productive agents; factors of production. Economic growth is an increase of real output, and is shown by an outward shift in the PPF that results from an increase in resource supplies or quality or technological improvements. 4. Sources of economic growth Labor size, quantity/quality of capital, quantity/quality of resources, technology, health, and education. 5. Comparative and absolute advantage Comparative advantage is a situation in which a person or country can produce a specific product at a lower opportunity cost than some other person or country. Absolute advantage is a situation in which a person or country is the most efficient producer of that product. 6. Substitute and complement goods Substitute goods are products or services that can be used in place of each other. When the price of one falls, the demand for the other product falls; conversely, when the price of one product rises, the demand for the other product rises. Complement goods are products and services that are used together. When the price of one falls, the demand for the other increases (and conversely). 7. Inferior and normal goods Inferior goods have a negative income elasticity of demand. Demand falls as income rises. Examples of inferior goods are frozen vegetables and cigarettes. Normal goods have a positive income elasticity of demand, so as income rise, the demand rises. Examples of normal goods are fresh vegetables, and instant coffee. 8. Consumer surplus, producer surplus Consumer surplus is the difference between the total amount that consumers are willing and able to pay for a good or service, and the total amount that they actually pay (the market price). Producer surplus is the difference between what producers are willing and able to supply a good for and the price they actually receive. The level of producer surplus is shown by the area above the supply curve, and below the market price. 9. Show how price above equilibrium and below the equilibrium create surplus and shortage of quantity of a good in a market: show in graph A price floor creates a surplus, where the number of supplies supplied is higher than the demand. A price ceiling creates a shortage, where the demand is higher than what is supplied.
2 1 Elastic and inelastic demand; perfectly elastic and perfectly inelastic demand: show in graphs too. Elastic demand is a product or resource demand whose price elasticity is greater than This means the resulting change in quantity demanded is greater than the percentage change in price. Inelastic demand is a product or resource demand for which the elasticity coefficient for price is less than This means the resulting percentage change in quantity demanded is less than the percentage change in price. Perfectly elastic demand is a product or resource demand in which quantity demanded can be of any amount at a particular product price (graphs as a horizontal demand curve). Perfectly inelastic demand is a product or resource demand in which price can be of any amount at a particular quantity of the product or resource demanded; quantity demanded doesn t respond to a change in price (graphs as a vertical demand curve). 1 Elastic, inelastic and unit elastic demand and pricing strategy If the demand is elastic the consumers are very responsive to a change in price, and therefore the price should go down and not up. If the demand is inelastic the consumers are not very responsive to a change in price and therefore the price should rise. Unit elastic demand is in between, and therefore the price should neither go up or down. 1 Factors that affect elasticity of demand of a good Determinants of demand elasticity are 1) the number of substitutes available, 2) time, and 3) proportion of budget. 14. Total revenue, total cost; total profit Total revenue is the total number of dollars received by a firm from the sale of a product. This is calculated by taking the quantity sold multiplied with the price. Total cost (TC) is the variable costs + fixed costs. Total profit is total revenue minus the total costs. 15. Midpoint method of calculation of elasticity of supply The midpoint elasticity formula is a method of calculating elasticity. It is calculated by taking the percentage change in quantity divided by the percentage change in price. 16. Total product, average product, and marginal product Total product (TP) is the total output of a particular good or service produced by a firm. Average product (AP) is the total output produced per unit of a resource employed. This is calculated by taking the total product divided by the quantity produced. Marginal product (MP) is the additional output produced when 1 additional unit of a resource is employed. This is calculated by taking the change in total product divided by the change in the quantity produced. 17. Decreasing marginal returns The law of diminishing marginal returns occurs in the short run when one factor is fixed. If the
3 variable factor of production is increased, there comes a point where it will become less productive, and therefore there will eventually be a decreasing marginal and then average product. 18. Marginal cost, marginal product, marginal utility, marginal revenue, marginal benefit Marginal cost is added cost incurred in producing an additional unit of output. Marginal product is output that results from one additional unit of a factor of production. Marginal utility is added utility of using one more unit of the good or service. Marginal revenue is increase in the gross revenue of a firm produced by selling one additional unit of output. Marginal benefit is an increase in an activity s overall benefit that is caused by a unit increase in the level of that activity, all other factors remaining constant. 19. Allocative and productive efficiency Allocative efficiency is the apportionment of resources among firms and industries to obtain the production of the products most wanted by the consumers. This occurs when production takes place at the output at which its marginal cost and price or marginal benefit are equal, and at which the sum of consumer surplus and producer surplus is maximized. Productive efficiency is the production of a good in the least costly way. This occurs when production takes place at the output at which average total cost is a minimum, and marginal product per dollar s worth of input is the same for all inputs. 20. Utility, total utility, marginal utility, diminishing marginal utility Utility is the ability of a product to satisfy needs or wants. Total utility is the level of satisfaction that a consumer receives through the consumption of a specific good or service. Each individual unit of a good or service has its own marginal utility. Eventually there comes a point where the marginal utility will become less productive and therefore there will eventually be a decreasing marginal utility, which is called diminishing marginal utility. 2 Total Cost, explicit cost, implicit cost; Economic cost; Accounting Cost; Economic profit; Accounting profit Total cost is the sum of total fixed costs and total variable costs. Explicit costs are the monetary payments a firm must make to an outsider to obtain a resource. Implicit costs are the monetary income a firm scarifies when it uses a resource it owns rather than supplying the resource in the market. Economic cost is a payment that must be made to obtain and retain the services of a resource. 2 Total Cost, total fixed cost, total variable cost Total cost is the sum of total fixed cost and total variable costs (TC=TFC+TVC). The total fixed costs are the costs you have no matter how much output you produce. The total variable costs are the costs that vary with how much output you produce, whereas it usually cost more to produce 1000 units of output compared to 10 units of output. 2 ATC, AVC, AFC, MC ATC is a firm s total cost divided by output. This is equal to average fixed cost plus average variable cost. AVC is a firm s total variable cost divided by output. AFC is a firm s total fixed cost divided by output. MC is the additional cost of producing 1 more unit of output. This is equal to the change in total cost divided by the change in output.
4 24. Economies of scale, diseconomies of scale, constant returns to scale Economics of scale is reductions in the average total cost of producing a product as the firm expands the size of its output in the long run. Diseconomies of scale are increases in the average total cost of producing a product as the firm expands the size of its output in the long run. Constant returns to scale is unchanging average total cost of producing a product as the firm expands the size of its output in the long run. 25. Factors that cause economies of scale and diseconomies of scale Factor that cause economics of scale and diseconomies of scale are technology, efficient capital, trained labor, and cheaper materials. 26. Characteristics of monopoly, oligopoly, monopolistic competition, perfect competition 27. Natural monopoly A natural monopoly is a distinct type of monopoly that may arise when there are extremely high fixed costs of distribution, such as exist when large-scale infrastructure is required to ensure supply. Examples of infrastructure include cables and grids for electricity supply, pipelines for gas and water supply, and networks for rail and underground. These costs are also sunk costs, and they deter entry and exit. 28. Sources of barriers to entry Barriers to entry are 1) economies of scale, 2) product differentiation, 3) capital requirements, 4) switching costs, 5) access to distribution channels, 6) cost disadvantages independent of scale,
5 and 7) government policy. 29. Four-firm concentration ratio and HHI Four-firm concentration ration is the percentage of total industry sales accounted for by the top four firms in the industry. Herfindahl index is a measure of the concentration and competitiveness of an industry; calculated as the sum of the squared percentage market shares of the individual firms in the industry. 30. Cartel, collusion; problem in a cartel A cartel is a formal agreement among firms (or countries) in an industry to set the price of a product and establish the outputs of the individual firms (or countries) or to divide the market for the product geographically. The problem in a cartel is that they are difficult to maintain, because the cartel members will be tempted to cheat on their agreement to limit production. Collusion is a situation in which firms act together and in agreement collude to fix prices, divide a market, or otherwise restrict competition. 3 Game theory; Nash equilibrium; Prisoners' dilemma Game theory means of analyzing the business behavior of oligopolists that uses the theory of strategy associated with games such as chess and bridge. Nash equilibrium is a concept of game theory where the optimal output is one where no firm has no incentive to deviate from his or her chosen strategy after considering an opponent s choice. The prisoner's dilemma is an example of a game analyzed in game theory that shows why two purely "rational" individuals might not cooperate, even if it appears that it is in their best interests to do so. 3 Antitrust laws: Sherman Act of 1890 and Clayton Act of 1914 The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 prohibits certain business activities that federal government regulators deem to be anti-competitive and requires the federal government to investigate and pursue trusts. The Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 had the goal of adding further substance to the U.S. antitrust law regime; the Clayton Act sought to prevent anticompetitive practices in their incipiency. That regime started with the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, the first Federal law outlawing practices considered harmful to consumers (monopolies, cartels, and trusts). The Clayton Act specified particular prohibited conduct, the three-level enforcement scheme, the exemptions, and the remedial measures. 3 How and why countries restrict trade. Trade may harm particular domestic industries and their workers, and is why countries restrict trade. They do it through tariffs, import quotas, nontariff barrier, voluntary export restriction, and export subsidy.
6 Study Guide Chapter 1 Chapter 1 introduces you to economics the social science that studies how individuals, institutions, and society make the optimal best choices under conditions of scarcity. The first section of the chapter describes the three key features of the economic perspective. This perspective first recognizes that all choices involve costs and that these costs must be involved in an economic decision. The economic perspective also incorporates the view that to achieve a goal, people make decisions that reflect their purposeful self-interest. The third feature considers that people compare marginal benefits against marginal costs when making decisions and will choose the situation where the marginal benefit is greater than the marginal cost. You will develop a better understanding of these features as you read about the economic issues in this book. Economics relies heavily on the scientific method to develop theories and principles to explain the likely effects from human events and behavior. It involves gathering data, testing hypotheses, and developing theories and principles. In essence, economic theories and principles (and related terms such as laws and models) are generalizations about how the economic world works. Economists develop economic theories and principles at two levels. Microeconomics targets specific units in the economy. Studies at this level research such questions as how prices and output are determined for particular products and how consumers will react to price changes. Macroeconomics focuses on the whole economy, or large segments of it. Studies at this level investigate such issues as how to increase economic growth, control inflation, or maintain full employment. Studies at either level have elements of positive economics, which investigates facts or cause-and-effect relationships, or normative economics, which incorporates subjective views of what ought to be or what policies should be used to address an economic issue. Several sections of the text are devoted to a discussion of the economizing problem from individual or society perspectives. This problem arises from a fundamental conflict between economic wants and economic resources: (1) individuals and society have unlimited economic wants; (2) the economic means or resources to satisfy those wants are limited. This economic problem forces individuals and societies to make a choice. And anytime a choice is made there is an opportunity cost the next best alternative that was not chosen. The economizing problem for individuals is illustrated with a microeconomic model that uses a budget line. It shows graphically the meaning of many concepts defined in the chapter: scarcity, choice, trade-offs, opportunity cost, and optimal allocation. The economizing problem for society is illustrated with a macroeconomic model that uses a production possibilities curve. It also shows graphically the economic concepts just listed, and in addition it can be used to describe macroeconomic conditions related to unemployment, economic growth, and trade. The production possibilities model can also be applied to many real economic situations, such as the economics of war, as you will learn from the text. CHECKLIST When you have studied this chapter you should be able to Write a formal definition of economics. Describe the three key features of the economic perspective. Give applications of the economic perspective.
7 Identify the elements of the scientific method. Define hypothesis, theory, principle, law, and model as they relate to economics. State how economic principles are generalizations and abstractions. Explain the other-things-equal assumption (ceteris paribus) and its use in economics. Distinguish between microeconomics and macroeconomics. Give examples of positive and normative economics. Explain the economizing problem for an individual (from a microeconomic perspective). Describe the concept of a budget line for the individual. Explain how to measure the slope of a budget line and determine the location of the budget line. Use the budget line to illustrate trade-offs and opportunity costs. Describe the economizing problem for society. Define the four types of economic resources for society. State the four assumptions made when a production possibilities table or curve is constructed. Construct a production possibilities curve when given the data. Define opportunity cost and utilize a production possibilities curve to explain the concept. Show how the law of increasing opportunity costs is reflected in the shape of the production possibilities curve. Explain the economic rationale for the law of increasing opportunity costs. Use marginal analysis to define optimal allocation. Explain how optimal allocation determines the optimal point on a production possibilities curve. Use a production possibilities curve to illustrate unemployment. Use the production possibilities curve to illustrate economic growth. Explain how international trade affects a nation's production possibilities curve. Give other applications of the production possibilities model. Identify the five pitfalls to sound economic reasoning (Last Word). CHAPTER OUTLINE Economics studies how individuals, institutions, and society make the optimal or best choices under conditions of scarcity, for which economic wants are unlimited and the means or resources to satisfy those wants are limited. The economic perspective has three interrelated features. It recognizes that scarcity requires choice and that making a choice has an opportunity cost giving up the next best alternative to the choice that was made. It views people as purposeful decision makers who make choices based on their selfinterests. People seek to increase their satisfaction, or utility, from consuming a good or service. They are purposeful because they weigh the costs and benefits in deciding how best to increase that utility. It uses marginal analysis to assess how the marginal costs of a decision compare with the marginal benefits. Economics relies on the scientific method for analysis. Several terms are used in economic analysis that is related to this method.
8 4. A hypothesis is a proposition that is tested and used to develop an economic theory. A highly tested and reliable economic theory is called an economic principle or law. Theories, principles, and laws are meaningful statements about economic behavior or the economy that can be used to predict the likely outcome of an action or event. An economic model is created when several economic laws or principles are used to explain or describe reality. There are several other aspects of economic principles. Each principle or theory is a generalization that shows a tendency or average effect. The other-things-equal assumption (ceteris paribus) is used to limit the influence of other factors when making a generalization. Many economic models can be illustrated graphically and are simplified representations of economic reality. Economic analysis is conducted at two levels, and for each level there can be elements of positive or normative economics. 4. Microeconomics studies the economic behavior of individuals, particular markets, firms, or industries. Macroeconomics looks at the entire economy or its major aggregates or sectors, such as households, businesses, or government. Positive economics focuses on facts and is concerned with what is, or the scientific analysis of economic behavior. Normative economics suggests what ought to be and answers policy questions based on value judgments. Most disagreements among economists involve normative economics. Individuals face an economizing problem because economic wants are greater than the economic means to satisfy those wants. The problem can be illustrated with a microeconomic model with several features. Individuals have limited income to spend. Individuals have virtually unlimited wants for more goods and services, and higherquality goods and services. The economizing problem for the individual can be illustrated with a budget line and two products (for instance, DVDs and books). The budget line shows graphically the combinations of the two products a consumer can purchase with his or her money income. 1) All combinations of the two products on or inside the budget line are attainable by the consumer; all combinations beyond the budget line are unattainable. 2) To obtain more DVDs the consumer has to give up some books, so there is a trade-off; if to get a second DVD the consumer must give up two books, then the opportunity cost of the additional DVD is two books. 3) Limited income forces individuals to evaluate the marginal cost and marginal benefit of a choice to maximize their satisfaction. 4) Changes in money income shift the budget line: an increase in income shifts the line to the right; a decrease in income shifts the line to the left. Society also faces an economizing problem due to scarcity. Economic resources are scarce natural, human, or manufactured inputs used to produce goods and services. Economic resources are sometimes called factors of production and are classified into four categories: 1) 2) 3) land, or natural resources. labor, or the contributed time and abilities of people who are producing goods and services. capital (or capital goods), or the machines, tools, and equipment used to make
9 4) other goods and services; economists refer to the purchase of such capital goods as investment. entrepreneurial ability, or the special human talents of individuals who combine the other factors of production. A macroeconomic model of production possibilities illustrates the economizing problem for society. The four assumptions usually made when such a production possibilities model is used are: (1) there is full employment of available resources; (2) the quantity and quality of resources are fixed; (3) the state of technology does not change; and (4) there are two types of goods being produced (consumer goods and capital goods) The production possibilities table indicates the alternative combinations of goods an economy is capable of producing when it has achieved full employment and optimal allocation. The table illustrates the fundamental choice every economy must make: what quantity of each product it must sacrifice to obtain more of another. The data in the production possibilities table can be plotted on a graph to obtain a production possibilities curve. Each point on the curve shows some maximum output of the two goods. The opportunity cost of producing an additional unit of one good is the amount of the other good that is sacrificed. The law of increasing opportunity costs states that the opportunity cost of producing one more unit of a good (the marginal opportunity cost) increases as more of the good is produced. The production possibilities curve is bowed out from the origin because of the law of increasing opportunity costs. The reason the opportunity cost of producing an additional unit of a good increases as more of it is produced is because resources are not completely adaptable to alternative uses. Optimal allocation means that resources are devoted to the best mix of goods to maximize satisfaction in society. This optimal mix is determined by assessing marginal costs and benefits. The marginal-cost curve for a good increases because of the law of increasing opportunity costs; the marginal-benefit curve decreases because the consumption of a good yields less and less satisfaction. When the marginal benefit is greater than the marginal cost, there is an incentive to produce more of the good, but when the marginal cost is greater than the marginal benefit, there is an incentive to produce less of the good. Optimal or efficient allocation is achieved when the marginal cost of a product equals the marginal benefit of a product. Different outcomes will occur when assumptions underlying the production possibilities model are relaxed. Unemployment. When the economy is operating at a point inside the production possibilities curve it means that resources are not fully employed. Economic growth. The production possibilities curve shifts outward from economic growth because resources are no longer fixed and technology improves. 1) 2) 3) Expansion in the quantity and quality of resources contributes to economic growth and shifts the production possibilities curve outward. Advancement in technology contributes to economic growth and also shifts the production possibilities curve outward. The combination of capital goods and consumer goods an economy chooses to produce in the present can determine the position of the production possibilities curve in the future. Greater production of capital goods relative to consumer goods in the present shifts the production possibilities curve farther outward in the future because that economy is devoting more of its resources to investment than consumption. Trade. When there is international specialization and trade, a nation can obtain more goods and services than is indicated by the production possibilities curve for a domestic economy. The effect on production possibilities is similar to an increase in economic
10 growth. Sound reasoning about economic issues requires the avoidance of five pitfalls Bias is a preconceived belief or opinion that is not warranted by the facts. Loaded terminology is the use of terms in a way that appeals to emotion and leads to a nonobjective analysis of the issues. The fallacy of composition is the assumption that what is true of the part is necessarily true of the whole. The post hoc fallacy ("after this, therefore because of this") is the mistaken belief that when one event precedes another, the first event is the cause of the second. Confusing correlation with causation means that two factors may be related, but that does not mean that one factor caused the other. HINTS AND TIPS The economic perspective presented in the first section of the chapter has three features related to decision making: scarcity and the necessity of choice, purposeful self-interest in decision making, and marginal analysis of the costs and benefits of decisions. Although these features may seem strange to you at first, they are central to the economic thinking used to examine decisions and problems throughout the book. The chapter introduces two pairs of terms: microeconomics and macroeconomics; and positive economics and normative economics. Make sure you understand what each pair means and how they are related to each other. The budget line shows the consumer what it is possible to purchase in the two-good world, given an income. Make sure that you understand what a budget line is. To test your understanding, practice with different income levels and prices. For example, assume you had an income of $100 to spend for two goods (A and B). Good A costs $10 and Good B costs $5. Draw a budget line to show the possible combinations of A and B that you could purchase. The production possibilities curve is a simple and useful economic model for an economy. Practice your understanding of it by using it to explain the following economic concepts: scarcity, choice, opportunity cost, the law of increasing opportunity costs, full employment, optimal allocation, unemployment, and economic growth. Opportunity cost is always measured in terms of a forgone alternative. From a production possibilities table, you can easily calculate how many units of one product you forgo when you get another unit of a product. IMPORTANT TERMS Note: See the Glossary in the back of the book for definitions of terms. Economics Economic perspective Opportunity cost Utility Marginal analysis Scientific method Economic principle Other-things-equal assumption (ceteris paribus) Microeconomics
11 Macroeconomics Aggregate Positive economics Normative economics Economizing problem Budget line Economic resources Land Factors of production Labor Capital Investment Entrepreneurial ability Consumer goods Capital goods Production possibilities curve Law of increasing opportunity costs Economic growth
12 Study Guide Chapter 2 Every economy needs to develop an economic system to respond to the economizing problem of limited resources and unlimited wants. The two basic types of systems are the command system and the market system. In the command system, there is extensive public ownership of resources and the use of central planning for most economic decision making in the economy. In the market system there is extensive private ownership of resources and the use of markets and prices to coordinate and direct economic activity. A major purpose of Chapter 2 is to explain the major characteristics of the market system because it is the one used in most nations. The first part of this section describes the ideological and institutional characteristics of the market system. In this system, most of the resources are owned as private property by citizens, who are free to use them as they wish in their own self-interest. Prices and markets express the self-interests of resource owners, consumers, and business firms. Competition regulates self-interest to prevent the self-interest of any person or any group from working to the disadvantage of the economy and to make selfinterests work for the benefit of the entire economy. Government plays an active, but limited, role in a market economy. Three other characteristics are also found in a market economy. They are the employment of large amounts of capital goods, the development of specialization, and theuse of money. Economies use capital goods and engage in specialization because this is a more efficient use of their resources; it results in larger total output and the greater satisfaction of wants. When workers, business firms, and regions within an economy specialize, they become dependent on each other for the goods and services they do not produce for themselves and must engage in trade. Trade is made more convenient by using money as a medium of exchange. The chapter also explains in detail how the market system works. There are Five Fundamental Questions that any economic system must answer in its attempt to use its scarce resources to satisfy its material wants. The five questions or problems are: (1) What goods and services will be produced? (2) How will the goods and services be produced? (3) Who will get the goods and services? (4) How will the system accommodate change? (5) How will the system promote progress? The explanation of how the market system finds answers to the Five Fundamental Questions is only an approximation a simplified explanation of the methods actually employed by the U.S. economy and other market economies. Yet this explanation contains enough realism to be truthful and is general enough to be understandable. If the aims of this chapter are accomplished, you can begin to understand the market system and methods our economy uses to solve the economizing problem presented in Chapter Although central planning served as a powerful form of economic decision making in command systems such as the Soviet Union and China (before its market reform), it had two serious problems. The first problem was one of coordination, which resulted in production bottlenecks and managers and bureaucrats missing production targets. Central planning also created an incentive problem because it sent out incorrect and inadequate signals for directing the efficient allocation of an economy s resources and gave workers little reason to work hard. The lack of incentives killed entrepreneurship and stifled innovation and technological advance. The chapter ends with a description of the circular flow diagram. In a market economy, there is a resource market and product market that connect households and businesses. In the diagram, there is a monetary flow of money income, consumption expenditures, revenue, and
13 costs. There also is a flow of resources and goods and services. The model shows that households and businesses have dual roles as buyers and sellers depending on whether they are operating in the product market or resource market. CHECKLIST When you have studied this chapter you should be able to Compare and contrast the command system with the market system. Identify the nine important characteristics of the market system. Describe the role of private property rights in the market system. Distinguish between freedom of enterprise and freedom of choice. Explain why self-interest is a driving force of the market system. Identify two features of competition in the market system. Explain the roles of markets and prices in the market system. Describe how the market system relies on technology and capital. Discuss how two types of specialization improve efficiency in the market system. Describe the advantages of money over barter for the exchange of goods and services in the market system. Describe the size and role of government in the market system. List the Five Fundamental Questions to answer about the operation of a market economy. Explain how a market system determines what goods and services will be produced and the role of consumer sovereignty and dollar votes. Explain how goods and services will be produced in a market system. Find the least costly combination of resources needed for production when given the technological data and the prices of the resources. Explain how a market system determines who will get the goods and services it produces. Describe the guiding function of prices to accommodate change in the market system. Explain how the market system promotes progress by fostering technological advances and capital accumulation. State how the invisible hand in the market system tends to promote public or social interests. List three virtues of the market system. Compare how a command economy coordinates economic activity with how a market economy coordinates economic activity. Explain the problems with incentives in a command economy. Draw the circular flow diagram, correctly labeling the two markets and the flows between the two markets. Define the three main categories of businesses: sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation. Describe the role private property plays in helping a market economy find the most productive combination of resources (Last Word). CHAPTER OUTLINE An economic system is a set of institutions and a coordinating mechanism to respond to the economizing problem for an economy. The command system (also called socialism or communism) is based primarily on extensive public ownership of resources and the use of central planning for most economic decision making. There used to be many examples of command economies (Soviet Union), but today there are few (North Korea, Cuba). Most former socialistic nations have been or are being transformed into capitalistic and market-oriented economies. The market system (capitalism) has extensive private ownership of resources and uses markets and prices to coordinate and direct economic activity. In pure (laissez-faire) capitalism there is a limited government role in the economy. In a capitalist economy
14 such as the United States, government plays a large role, but the two characteristics of the market system private property and markets dominate. The market system has the following nine characteristics Private individuals and organizations own and control their property resources by means of the institution of private property. These individuals and organizations possess both the freedom of enterprise and the freedom of choice. These economic units are motivated largely by self-interest. Competition is based on the independent actions of buyers and sellers. They have the freedom to enter or leave markets. This competition spreads economic power and limits its potential abuse. A market is a place, institution, or process where buyers and sellers interact with each other. Markets and prices are used to communicate and coordinate the decisions of buyers and sellers. The market system employs complicated and advanced methods of production, new technology, and large amounts of capital equipment to produce goods and services efficiently. It is a highly specialized economy. Human and geographic specialization increase the productive efficiency of the economy. Human specialization is also calleddivision of labor. It increases productivity because it allows people to split up work into separate tasks and lets people do the task which they are best at doing. Geographic specialization lets nations produce what they do best and then trade with other nations for what else they want. It uses money exclusively to facilitate trade and specialization. Money functions as a medium of exchange that is more efficient to use than barter for trading goods. Government has an active but limited role. The system of prices and markets and households' and business firms' choices furnish the market economy with answers to Five Fundamental Questions What goods and services will be produced? In a market economy, there is consumer sovereignty because consumers are in command and express their wishes for the goods and services through dollar votes. The demands of consumers for products and the desires of business firms to maximize their profits determine what and how much of each product is produced and its price. How will the goods and services be produced? The desires of business firms to maximize profits by keeping their costs of production as low as possible guide them to use the most efficient techniques of production and determine their demands for various resources; competition forces them to use the most efficient techniques and ensures that only the most efficient will be able to stay in business. Who will get the goods and services? With resource prices determined, the money income of each household is determined; and with product prices determined, the quantity of goods and services these money incomes will buy is determined. How will the system accommodate change? The market system is able to accommodate itself to changes in consumer tastes, technology, and resource supplies. The desires of business firms for maximum profits and competition lead the economy to make the appropriate adjustments in the way it uses its resources. How will the system promote progress? Competition and the desire to increase profits promote better techniques of production and capital accumulation. 1) The market system encourages technological advance because it can help increase revenue or decrease costs for businesses, thus increasing profits. The use of new technology spreads rapidly because firms must stay innovative or fail. There can also be creative destruction where new technology creates market positions of firms adopting the new technology and destroys the market position of firms using the old technology. 2) Business owners will take their profit income and use it to make more capital goods that improve production and increase profits.
15 Competition in the economy compels firms seeking to promote their own interests to promote (as though led by an invisible hand ) the best interests of society as a whole. Competition results in an allocation of resources appropriate to consumer wants, production by the most efficient means, and the lowest possible prices. Three noteworthy merits of the market system are 1) 2) 3) The efficient use of resources The incentive the system provides for productive activity The personal freedom allowed participants as consumers, producers, workers, or investors The demise of command systems occurred largely because of two basic problems with a centrally planned economy. The coordination problem involved the difficulty of coordinating the economy's many interdependent segments and avoiding the chain reaction that would result from a bottleneck in any one of the segments. This coordination problem became even more difficult as the economy grew larger and more complex, and more economic decisions had to be made in the production process. There were also inadequate measures of economic performance to determine the degree of success or failure of enterprises or to give clear signals to the economy. The incentive problem arose because in a command economy incentives are ineffective for encouraging economic initiatives and work and for directing the most efficient use of productive resources. In a market economy, profits and losses signal what firms should produce, how they should produce, and how productive resources should be allocated to best meet the wants of a nation. Central planning in the two economies also lacked entrepreneurship and stifled innovation, both of which are important forces for achieving long-term economic growth. Individual workers lacked much motivation to work hard because pay was limited and there were either few consumer goods to buy or they were of low quality. The circular flow diagram (or model) is a device used to clarify the relationships between households and businesses in the product and resource markets. It has two types of flows. The monetary flow of money income, consumption expenditures, business revenue, and business costs runs clockwise. The real flow of resources and goods and services runs counterclockwise. 4. Households are defined as one or more persons occupying a housing unit. Businesses are of three types. A sole proprietorship is a business owned and operated by a single person. A partnership is a business owned and operated by two or more persons. A corporation is a legal entity or structure that operates as a business, so the corporation and not the individual owners are financially responsible for the business's debts and obligations. In the resource market, households sell resources (labor, land, capital, and entrepreneurial ability), and in return, they receive money income. Businesses buy these resources, and their resource costs become the money income for households. In the product market, businesses sell finished goods and services to households, and in return they receive revenue. Households make consumption expenditures to purchase these goods and services, and they use the money income they obtain from selling their resources to make these consumption expenditures. There are tens of billions of ways that resources could be arranged in a market economy, but most combinations would be useless. The reason that a market economy produces the few combinations from the total possible that are productive and serve human goals is because of private property. With it, people have an incentive to make the best use of their resources and find the most rewarding combination. HINTS AND TIPS This chapter describes nine characteristics and institutions of a market system. After
16 reading the section, check your understanding by listing the nine points and writing a short explanation of each one. The section on the Five Fundamental Questions is both the most important and the most difficult part of the chapter. Detailed answers to the five questions are given in this section of the chapter. If you examine each one individually and in the order in which it is presented, you will more easily understand how the market system works. (Actually, the market system finds the answers simultaneously, but make your learning easier for now by considering them one by one.) Be sure to understand the importance and role of each of the following in the operation of the market system: (1) the guiding function of prices, (2) the profit motive of business firms, (3) the entry into and exodus of firms from industries, (4) the meaning of competition, and (5) consumer sovereignty. IMPORTANT TERMS Economic system Command system Market system Private property Freedom of enterprise Freedom of choice Self-interest Competition Market Specialization Division of labor Medium of exchange Barter Money Consumer sovereignty Dollar votes Creative destruction invisible hand Circular flow diagram Households Businesses Sole proprietorship Partnership Corporation Resource market Product market
17 Study Guide Chapter 3 Chapter 3 introduces you to the most fundamental tools of economic analysis: demand and supply. Demand and supply are simply "boxes" or categories into which all the forces and factors that affect the price and the quantity of a good bought and sold in a competitive market are placed. Demand and supply determine price and quantity exchanged. It is necessary to understand why and how they do this. Many students never learn to define demand and supply. They never learn (1) what an increase or decrease in demand or supply means, (2) the important distinctions between "demand" and "quantity demanded" and between "supply" and "quantity supplied," and (3) the equally important distinctions between a change in demand and a change in quantity demanded and between a change in supply and a change in quantity supplied. Having learned these, however, it is no great trick to comprehend the so-called laws of demand and supply. The equilibrium price that is, the price that will tend to prevail in the market as long as demand and supply do not change is simply the price at which quantity demanded and quantity supplied are equal. The quantity bought and sold in the market (the equilibrium quantity) is the quantity demanded and supplied at the equilibrium price. If you can determine the equilibrium price and quantity under one set of demand and supply conditions, you can determine them under any other set. This chapter includes a brief examination of the factors that determine demand and supply and the ways in which changes in these determinants will affect and cause changes in demand and supply. A graphic method is used in this analysis to illustrate demand and supply, equilibrium price and quantity, changes in demand and supply, and the resulting changes in equilibrium price and quantity. The demand curve and the supply curve are graphic representations of the same data contained in the schedules of demand and supply. The application section at the end of the chapter explains government-set prices. When the government sets a legal price in a competitive market, it creates a price ceiling or price floor. This prevents supply and demand from determining the equilibrium price and quantity of a product that will be provided by a competitive market. As you will learn, the economic consequence of a price ceiling is that it will result in a persistent shortage of the product. An example of a price ceiling would be price controls on apartment rents. A price floor will result in a persistent surplus of a product, and the example given is price supports for an agricultural product. You will use demand and supply over and over. It will turn out to be as important to you in economics as jet propulsion is to the pilot of an airplane: You can't get off the ground without it. CHECKLIST When you have studied this chapter you should be able to Explain the economic meaning of markets. Define demand and state the law of demand. Give three explanations for the inverse relationship between price and quantity demanded.
18 Graph the demand curve when you are given a demand schedule. Explain the difference between individual demand and market demand. List the five major determinants of demand and explain how each one shifts the demand curve. Explain how changes in income affect the demand for normal goods and inferior goods. Explain how changes in the prices of a substitute good or a complementary good affect the demand for a product. Distinguish between change in demand and change in the quantity demanded. Define supply and state the law of supply. Graph the supply curve when given a supply schedule. Explain the difference between individual supply and market supply. List the major determinants of supply and explain how each shifts the supply curve. Distinguish between changes in supply and changes in the quantity supplied. Describe how the equilibrium price and quantity are determined in a competitive market. Define surplus and shortage. Determine when you are given the demand for and the supply of a good, the equilibrium price and the equilibrium quantity. Explain the meaning of the rationing function of prices. Distinguish between productive efficiency and allocative efficiency. Predict the effects of changes in demand on equilibrium price and quantity. Predict the effects of changes in supply on equilibrium price and quantity. Predict the effects of changes in both demand and supply on equilibrium price and quantity. Explain the economic effects of a government-set price ceiling on product price and quantity in a competitive market. Describe the economic consequences of a government-set price floor on product price and quantity. CHAPTER OUTLINE A market is any institution or mechanism that brings together buyers ("demanders") and sellers ("suppliers") of a particular good or service. This chapter assumes that markets are highly competitive. Demand is a schedule of prices and the quantities that buyers would purchase at each of these prices during a selected period of time. The law of demand states that there is an inverse or negative relationship between price and quantity demanded. Other things equal, as price increases, buyers will purchase fewer quantities, and as price decreases they will purchase more quantities. There are three explanations for the law of demand: 1) 2) 3) Diminishing marginal utility: After a point, consumers get less satisfaction or benefit from consuming more and more units. Income effect: A higher price for a good decreases the purchasing power of consumers' incomes so they can't buy as much of the good. Substitution effect: A higher price for a good encourages consumers to search for cheaper substitutes and thus buy less of it. The demand curve has a downward slope and is a graphic representation of the law of demand. Market demand for a good is a sum of all the demands of all consumers of that good at each price. Although price has the most important influence on quantity demanded, other
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