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Economic Models

A. Summary

This chapter provides a methodological introduction to the book by showing

why economists use simplified models. The chapter begins with a few

definitions of economics and then turns to a discussion of economic models.

Development of Marshall's analysis of supply and demand is the principle

example of such a model here, and this provides a review for students of what

they learned in introductory economics. The notion of how shifts in supply or

demand curves affect equilibrium prices is highlighted and is repeated in the

chapter’s appendix in a somewhat more formal way. The chapter also reminds

students of the production possibility frontier concept and shows how it

illustrates opportunity costs. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how

economic models might be verified. A brief description of the distinction

between positive and normative analysis is also presented.

**B. Lecture and Discussion Suggestions
**

We have found that a useful way to start the course is with one (or perhaps two)

lectures on the historical development of microeconomics together with some

current examples. For example, many students find economic applications to the

natural world fascinating and some of the economics behind Application 1.1,

might be examined. The simple model of the world oil market in Application 1A.3

is also a good way to introduce models with real world numbers in them.

Application 1.6: Economic Confusion provides normative distinction and to tell a

few economic jokes (several Internet sites offer such jokes if your supply is

running low).

**C. Glossary Entries in the Chapter
**

Diminishing Returns

Economics

Equilibrium Price

Microeconomics

Models

Opportunity Cost

Positive Normative Distinction

Production Possibility Frontier

Supply-Demand Model

Testing Assumptions

Testing Predictions

1

2 Chapter 1: Economic Models APPENDIX TO CHAPTER 1 Mathematics Used in Microeconomics A. The appendix also contains a few illustrations of calculus-type results. Summary This appendix provides a review of basic algebra with a specific focus on the graphical tools that students will encounter later in the text. Although students may not have graphed such a family of curves for a many-variable function before. instructors might wish to pick up on this and use a few calculus ideas in later chapters. Lecture and Discussion Suggestions Since much of the material in this appendix is self-explanatory. Because such graphic solutions lead directly to the economic concept of supply-demand equilibrium. this graphical approach may not be so well known. Showing how a shift in one of the equations changes the solutions for both variables is particularly instructive in that regard. some material at the end of the appendix makes the distinction between endogenous and exogenous variables – a distinction that many students stumble over. we would suggest developing a specific numerical example together with graphic and tabular handouts for students. But this is not a calculus-based text. Depending on student preparation. Glossary Entries in the Chapter Average Effect Contour Lines Dependent Variable . so there is no need to do this. Although students may be familiar with solving simultaneous equations through substitution or subtraction. focus primarily on linear equations since these are most widely used in the book and since students will be most familiar with them. The coverage of linear and quadratic equations here is quite standard and should be familiar to students. The analysis of simultaneous equations presented in the appendix is intended to illustrate how the solution to two linear equations in two unknowns is reflected graphically by the intersection of the two lines. Students should also be directed to the companion workbook and study guide (Microeconomic Problems and Exercises by Brett Katzman) for a great deal of additional practice with such equations. B. The presentation should. The discussion of contour lines seeks to introduce students to the indifference curve concept through the contour map analogy. I believe it is useful to introduce this method of solution to students. this introduction seems to provide good preparation for the economic applications that follow. Two concepts that will be new to some students are graphing contour lines and simultaneous equations. For those who feel a lecture is useful. C. however. most instructors may prefer to skip any lecture on this topic. In that regard.

Chapter 1: Economic Models Functional Notation Independent Variable Intercept Linear Function Marginal Effect Simultaneous Equations Slope Statistical Inference Variables SOLUTIONS TO CHAPTER 1 PROBLEMS 1. Q 700. so a 8 and Q P 8 or Q 800 100 P 100 Pa 3 . Yes. For the demand curve: P = 1 Q = –100 Q 100 at P 1.1 a. the points seem to be on straight lines. b.

2 a. 2 = – a + 1. Q = –100 = 0 (since negative supply is impossible). At P = 4. New demand is Q = –100P + 1100.Chapter 1: Economic Models 4 For the supply curve.5. Q = 300. Q = 200.5. If P = 6. Hence the equation is P 0. Demand = 600 and Supply = 300. b. d. At P = 2. .d Q or Q 200 P 100 200 For supply Q = 200P – 100 If P = 0. For demand Q=800-100P When P = 0. the points also seem to be on a straight line: P 1 Q 200 If P a bQ a Q 200 at P = 2. Excess Demand at P = 0 is 800.5 c. Demand = 400 and Supply = 700. When P = 6. Q = 500. Q = 1100. Excess supply at P = 6 is 1100 – 200 = 900 1. Supply: Q = 200P – 100 Demand: Q = –100P + 800 Supply = Demand: 200P – 100 = –100P + 800 300P = 900 or P = 3 When P = 3. or a = 0. Q = 800. c.

Excess Demand is the following at the various prices P 1 ED 700 100 600 P 2 ED 600 300 300 P 3 ED 500 500 0 P 4 ED 400 700 300 P 5 ED 300 900 600 The auctioneer found the equilibrium price where ED = 0. g. 300 P = 1200 P = 4. f. 5 . Q = 400 h. QS 200. the auctioneer knows that Q = 500 is an equilibrium.Chapter 1: Economic Models e. Q = 700. QD 500 . b. Supply = Demand: 200P – 100 = –100P + 1100. Supply = Demand when QS QD 200P – 400 = –100P + 800 300P = 1200 P = 4. Participants would know this is not an equilibrium price because there would be a shortage of orange juice. 1. Supply is now Q = 200 P – 400. At P = 3.3 a. i. Here is the information the auctioneer gathers from calling quantities: Q 300 PS 2 PD 5 Q 500 PS 3 PD 3 Q 700 PS 4 PD 1 So. this is not an equilibrium price.

Many callout auctions operate this way – though usually quantity supplied is a fixed amount. Q 4 . 1. The following figure graphs the demand and supply curves with P on the horizontal axis. quantity can legitimately be treated as the independent variable. P 10 S 6 2 D 4 10 Q c.Chapter 1: Economic Models 6 c. Solution proceeds as in Part b.4 The complaint is essentially correct – in many economic models price is the independent variable and quantity is the dependent variable. The following graph has P on the vertical axis. a. Equilibrium P is found by P 10 P 2 2 P 12 P 6. . Many financial markets operate with “bid” and “asked” prices which approximate the procedure in part b. b. In that case. Marshall originally chose this approach because he found it easier to draw cost curves (an essential element of supply theory) with quantity on the horizontal axis. The restrictions on P are necessary with linear functions to ensure that quantities do not turn negative.

Reasons for preferring one over the other are not readily apparent in these drawings. developing demand and supply curves from their underlying theoretical foundations does provide some rationale for Marshall’s choice. QS = 2P – 4.5 The algebraic solution proceeds as follows: a. 1. .Chapter 1: Economic Models 7 Q 10 S 4 D 2 6 10 P d. QD = –2P + 20. As we shall see. however. The equations can be graphed either way and will yield the same solution. e.

000 10. b.000 1. T = .01(30) = 9 Taxes = $9.000 I = 100. 1.Chapter 1: Economic Models 8 Set QD = QS: –2P + 20 = 2P – 4 24 = 4P P = 6.000. Substituting gives: QD’ = QS = 10.20 30.01 I 2 I = 10. T = . T = .001 1.000 9. I T 10.000 25.000 I = 50.000.60 50. T = . T = 100.001 9.20 . P = 8.6 c.01(50) 2 = 25 Taxes = $25.000 Marginal Tax Rate .01(10) 2 = 1 2 Taxes = $1. b.000 30.000 I = 30. I = 10. Q = 8 (see graph) a.000 I = 30.60 . Substituting for P gives: QD = QS = 8. Now QD’ = –2P + 24.000 I = 50. Set QD = QS: –2P + 24 = 2P – 4 28 = 4P P = 7.000 Average Rate 10% 30% 50% Marginal Rate 20% 60% 100% c.

8 25. X Y 2 24 4 6 2 21 4 2 X Y 1 is a quarter of an ellipse since both X and Y are positive. Opportunity cost of 1Y is 2X independent of production levels. This point lies beyond the frontier. Example: X0 = 3. Both these points lie below the frontier. Y = 5 b. c. The opportunity cost depends on the levels of output because the slope of a curve is not constant.001 9 1. 100 25 c. X1 = 4 . The opportunity cost of X is the change in Y when one more unit of X is produced. If Y = 0.00 a. d. a.001 1. b.Chapter 1: Economic Models 50. d. X = 10 If X= 0.7 1.

The cost of forgone trade is 5 – 20 = 5 – 2 5 = 1. d. X = 10.Y0 = When X1 = 4. X2 + 4Y2 = 100 If X = Y.Chapter 1: Economic Models 10 When X0 = 3. can consume where any X. will choose X = Y = 5.187 units of Y are "given up" to produce one more unit of X at X = 3.52 units of both X and Y. c.187 9½ 21 .Y1 = [Y1 – Y0] = . Since prefers X = Y. . b. 1. Y combination such that X + Y = 10.9 a. then 5X2 = 100 and X = 20 and Y = 20 .

. None of the other points on the Y = 4 contour line obey the linear equation. Y 10Z 4 Z 2 4 or 4 Z 2 10 Z 4 0 . and income is either 8 or 10. a. As we shall see. If Y X Z the Y = 4 is the same line as “Y = 2” in Figure 1A. In this case Y = 25/4 = 6. Using the quadratic formula yields Z (10 100 64) / 8 or Z 2. Z = 5/4. X = 4.Chapter 1: Economic Models 1.5. Hence the line intersects the contour in two places. Z ) X Z . and Z = 0. e. 0.5 .10 11 This problem provides practice with contour lines.5. the price of good X is 1. If X 10 4 Z . If X 8 4Z . This is so because the contour line is convex and hits the straight line at only a single tangency.25. Yes. This has a solution of Z = 1. this problem is formally equivalent to a utility maximization problem (see Chapter 2) in which utility is given by U ( X . many points on the line X 4 Z 10 provide a higher value for Y (any points between the two identified in part d do). c. the price of good Z is 4. f. d. Y X Z 8Z 4 Z 2 4. The largest value for Y is at the point X = 5. These points of intersection are Z = 2. X = 8. X = 2. b.

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