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Lecture 2 Utility Analysis of Demand

Theory of Demand
Theory of demand explains
Relation ship between commodity demanded and its price Variations in demand

There are different approaches known to the economists relating to theory of demand The oldest among them is marginal utility approach

Marginal Utility
Marginal utility can be defined as
The change in the total utility resulting from a one-unit change in the consumption of a commodity per unit of time

Marginal Utility
MU=Change in total utility Change in quantity consumed

Basic Assumptions of Marginal Utility Analysis

Cardinal Measurement of Utility
Utility can be measured and the exact measurement can be given by assigning definite numbers e.g. 1, 2, 3 etc. A person can express the satisfaction derived from the consumption of a commodity in quantitative terms

Utilities are independent

Utilities derived from one commodity is independent of other The satisfaction derived from the consumption of one good is not affected by consumption of another good Total utility is simply the sum total of the separate utilities of all the goods consumed by the consumers

Constant Marginal Utility of Money

Marginal utility of money remains constant even though the money with the consumer is decreased by successive purchases made by him

From one s own experience it is possible to draw inference about another person It means that mind of men work identically in similar situation

Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility

Marshall states the law as:
The additional benefit a person derives from a given increase of his stock of a thing diminishes with every increase in stock that he already has

Units (Toasts) Total Utility (Units of Satisfaction) 20 38 53 64 70 70 62 46 Marginal Utility (Units of Satisfaction) 20 18 15 11 6 0 -8 -16 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Suppose a person starts eating pieces of bread one after another. The additional satisfaction will go on decreasing with every successive toast till it drops down to zero.

Graphical representation of example

25 20 15 10 5 0 -5 -10 -15 -20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 Marginal Utility 0

DMU Curve

Limitations of the Law

Suitable Units It is assumed that commodity is taken in suitable units. If not suitable then MU may increase instead of falling. e.g spoon of water or glass of water. Suitable Time Commodity is taken within suitable time otherwise law will not apply e.g taking a glass of water after an hour No change in Consumer s Tastes No change of consumer s taste otherwise law will not apply Normal Persons Law of MU applies to normal persons and not to abnormal persons Constant Income It is essential that income of a person remains constant

Limitations of the Law

Rare Collection This law does not hold in case of rare collections e.g in case of collection of ancient coins utility increases with having more coins Change in Other People s Stock Changes in other people s stock may increase MU. e.g utility of my telephone increases as the number of connection increases Other Possessions Utility also depends on other possessions we have e.g a carriage may be lying useless with us, but as soon as we are able to buy a horse, its utility goes up Fashion The utility of my dress goes up when that dress comes in fashion Not applicable to money The law does not apply to money. More money one has, the more one wants

Importance of the Law

This law forms the basis of theory and practice of taxation Progressive system of Taxation
Richer the person, higher is the rate of tax as MU of money to him is less

Price Determination
The law explains why, with increase in its supply, the value of commodity must fall It thus, forms basis of the theory of value

Household expenditure
This law governs our daily life. Larger purchase will mean lower MU. Therefore, we restrict ourselves to particular commodity

Downward sloping Demand Curve

This law tells us why demand curve slopes downwards

Value-in-use and value-in-exchange

This law explains the divergence between value-in-use and value-in-exchange E.g air has great utility (value in use) but little (value in exchange), because it has no MU

The socialist argue on the basis of this law The MU of the wealth, that rich might lose, to rich is not so great while to MU to this amount is great

Law of Equi-Marginal Utility

According to this law
A consumer is in equilibrium when he distributes his given money income among various goods in such a way that marginal utility derived from the past rupee spent on each good is the same

The main assumptions of the law of equimarginal utility are as under:
Independent utilities.
The marginal utilities of different commodities are independent of each other and diminishes with more and more purchases.

Constant marginal utility of money.

The marginal utility of money remains constant to the consumer as he spends more and more of it on the purchases of goods.

Utility is cardinally measurable. Every consumer is rational in the purchase of goods. Limited money income.
A consumer has limited amount of money income to spend.

Explanation of the Law

The law of equi-marginal utility is simply an extension of the law of diminishing marginal utility to two or more than two commodities. The law of equi-marginal, is known, by various names.
Law of Substitution, the Law of Maximum Satisfaction, Law of Indifference,

Every consumer has unlimited wants. However, the income at his disposal at any time is limited.
The consumer is therefore, faced with a choice among many commodities that he can and would like to pay He therefore, consciously or unconsciously compares the satisfaction which he obtains from the purchase of the commodity and the price which he pays for it As he buys more and more of that commodity, the utility of the successive units begins to diminish He stops further purchase of the commodity at a point where the marginal utility of the commodity and its price are just equal.

The consumer will maximize total utility from his given income when the utility from the last rupee spent on each good is the same.

Suppose a person has Rs.5 with him which he wishes to spend on two commodities, tea and cigarettes. The marginal utility derived from both these commodities is as under:

Units of Money 1 2 3 4 5 Rs.5

MU of Tea 10 8 6 4 2 Total Utility = 30

MU of Cigarettes 12 10 8 6 3 Total Utility = 39

Explanation of Example
If the prudent consumer
spends Rs. 5.00 on the purchase of tea, he gets 30 utility. If he spends Rs. 5.00 on the purchase of cigarettes, the total utility derived is 39 which is higher than tea

By spending Rs. 4.00 on tea and Rs. 1.00 on cigarettes, he gets 40 utility (10+8+6+4+12=40)

By spending Rs. 3.00 on tea and Rs. 2.00 on cigarettes, he derives 46 Utility (10+8+6+12+10=46) By spending Rs. 2.00 on tea and Rs. 3.00 on cigarettes, he gets 48 utility (10+8+12+10+8=48) By spending Rs. 1.00 on tea and Rs. 4.00 on cigarettes, he gets 46 utility (10+12+10+8+6=46)


MU is the marginal utility curve for tea KL is marginal utility of cigarette When a consumer spends OP amount (Rs.2) on tea and OC (Rs.3) on cigarettes, the marginal utility derived from the consumption of both the items (Tea and Cigarettes) is equal to 8 units (EP=NC).

The consumer gets the maximum utility when he spends Rs. 2.00 on tea and Rs. 3.00 on cigarettes and by no other alteration in the expenditure.

Limitations of the Law

Effect of fashions and customs
The law of equi-marginal utility may become inoperative if people forced by fashions and customs spend money on the purchase of those commodities which they clearly know yield less utility but they cannot transfer the unit of money from the less advantageous uses to the more advantageous uses because they are forced by the customs of the country

Ignorance or Carelessness
Sometimes people due to their ignorance of price or carelessness to weigh the utility of the purchased commodity do not obtain the maximum advantage by equating the marginal utility in all the uses

Indivisible Units
If the goods are not divisible to equalise MUs, then again the law may become inoperative.

Unlimited Resources
This law does not have apply where there are unlimited resources

Basic Assumptions
This law rests upon some questionable assumptions E.g we assume that utility can be added and compared while MU of money remains constant

Importance of the Law

The application of the principle of substitution extends over almost every field of economic enquiry.
Every consumer consciously or unconsciously trying to get the maximum satisfaction from his limited resources acts upon this principle of substitution. Same is the case with the producer. In the field of exchange and in theory of distribution too, this law plays a vital role. In short, despite its limitation, the law of maximum satisfaction is meaningful general statement of how consumers behave

It applies equally to the theory of production and theory of distribution.

it is applied on the substitution of various factors of production to the point where marginal return from all the factors are equal. The government can also use this analysis for evaluation of its different economic prices

The equal marginal rule also guides an individual in the spending of his saving on different types of assets. The law of equal marginal utility also guides an individual in the allocation of his time between work and leisure In short, despite limitations the law of substitution is applicable to all problems of allocation of scarce resources

Consumer s Equilibrium
Suppose there are two goods 'x' and 'y' on which the consumer has to spend his given income. The consumer s behavior is based on two factors:
Marginal Utilities of goods 'x' and 'y The prices of goods 'x' and 'y The consumer is in equilibrium position when marginal utility of money expenditure on each good is the same.

The consumer is in equilibrium in respect of the purchases of goods 'x' and 'y' when:
MUx = MUy
Where MU is Marginal Utility and P equals Price Px Py

If MUx / Px and MUy / Py are not equal and MUx / Px is greater than
MUy / Py, then the consumer will substitute good 'x' for good 'y'. As a result the marginal utility of good 'x' will fall.

It is necessary to distinguish between demand and desire or need
e.g. a sickly child needs a tonic, a peon desires to have a TV set Such needs and desires do not constitute demand Willing to pay and able to pay constitute demand

Demand for any thing at a given price is the amount of it which will be bought per unit of time at that price
It simply means that how much a person will be willing to buy of a commodity at a certain price in set of possible prices during some specified period of time Demand is always per unit of time e.g. per day, per week, per month etc.

Types of Demand
Price Demand
Price demand refers to the various quantities of a commodity or service that a consumer would purchase at a given time in a market at various hypothetical prices

Income Demand
The income demand refers to the various quantities of goods and services purchased by the consumers at various levels of income

Cross Demand
The cross demand means the quantities of a good or service which will be purchased with reference to change in price not of this good but of other inter-related goods These goods are either substitutes or complementary goods

Demand Curve

Law of Demand
A rise in price of a commodity or service is followed by a reduction in demand a fall in price is followed by an increase in demand, if conditions of demand remain constant
These conditions relate to the consumer s tastes, his income, prices of other goods, possibility of other substitutes, unexpected price change etc.

Limitations of the Law

Change in taste or fashion
Fashion has gone out so less demand even with decrease in price

Change in income
Increase in income may have increased in demand though prices have gone up

Change in other s prices

Decrease in coffee s price may lead to decrease in demand of tea

Discovery of substitutes
E.g CNG Vs Petrol

Anticipatory changes in prices

Anticipation that prices will may rise leads to more demand even with increase in price

Mark of distinction
Rich demands more with price increase because it can be considered as mark of distinction

Derivation in of Demand Curve

Consumer s equilibrium

If price of X falls The equation would be disturbed The equality can be restored by purchasing more of X This means that as price of goods falls, its demand increases

Causes of Changes in Demand

Changes in tastes, preference, fashion Climate or weather changes Changes in size of composition of population Changes in money supply Change in price of a commodity Change in level of distribution of income Change in savings Change in asset preferences Conditions of trade Exceptions or anticipations

Short comings of Utility Analysis

Unsound Psychology
Market demand is an objective phenomenon while utility theorist try to explain it in terms of desire, motivation etc.

Cardinal Measurement Not possible Wrong Assumption of Independent Utilities

Utilities are interdependent E.g increase in demand of pen would lead to increase in demand of paper

Income effect and substitution effect not brought out

Income increased due to fall in price Income increase due to fall in price of substitution

Assumption of Constant Marginal Utility of Money is Wrong Applies to one-commodity world Assumes too much and explains too little

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