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The foundations of a demand curve: an example of housing

The two graphs show how budget constraints influence the demand curve.
(a) As the price increases from P 0 to P 1 to P 2 to P 3 , the budget constraint on the upper part of the diagram shifts to the left. The utility-maximizing choice changes from M 0 to M 1 to M 2 to M 3 . As a result, the quantity demanded of housing shifts from Q 0 to Q 1 to Q 2 to Q 3 , ceteris paribus . (b) The demand curve graphs each combination of the price of housing and the quantity of housing demanded, ceteris paribus . Indeed, the quantities of housing are the same at the points on both (a) and (b). Thus, the original price of housing (P 0 ) and the original quantity of housing (Q 0 ) appear on the demand curve as point E 0 . The higher price of housing (P 1 ) and the corresponding lower quantity demanded of housing (Q 1 ) appear on the demand curve as point E 1 .

So, as the price of housing rises, the budget constraint shifts to the left, and the quantity consumed of housing falls, ceteris paribus (meaning, with all other things being the same). This relationship—the price of housing rising from P 0 to P 1 to P 2 to P 3 , while the quantity of housing demanded falls from Q 0 to Q 1 to Q 2 to Q 3 —is graphed on the demand curve in [link] (b). Indeed, the vertical dashed lines stretching between the top and bottom of [link] show that the quantity of housing demanded at each point is the same in both (a) and (b). The shape of a demand curve is ultimately determined by the underlying choices about maximizing utility subject to a budget constraint. And while economists may not be able to measure “utils,” they can certainly measure price and quantity demanded.

Applications in government and business

The budget constraint framework for making utility-maximizing choices offers a reminder that people can react to a change in price or income in a range of different ways. For example, in the winter months of 2005, costs for heating homes increased significantly in many parts of the country as prices for natural gas and electricity soared, due in large part to the disruption caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Some people reacted by reducing the quantity demanded of energy; for example, by turning down the thermostats in their homes by a few degrees and wearing a heavier sweater inside. Even so, many home heating bills rose, so people adjusted their consumption in other ways, too. As you learned in the chapter on Elasticity , the short run demand for home heating is generally inelastic. Each household cut back on what it valued least on the margin; for some it might have been some dinners out, or a vacation, or postponing buying a new refrigerator or a new car. Indeed, sharply higher energy prices can have effects beyond the energy market, leading to a widespread reduction in purchasing throughout the rest of the economy.

A similar issue arises when the government imposes taxes on certain products, like it does on gasoline, cigarettes, and alcohol. Say that a tax on alcohol leads to a higher price at the liquor store, the higher price of alcohol causes the budget constraint to pivot left, and consumption of alcoholic beverages is likely to decrease. However, people may also react to the higher price of alcoholic beverages by cutting back on other purchases. For example, they might cut back on snacks at restaurants like chicken wings and nachos. It would be unwise to assume that the liquor industry is the only one affected by the tax on alcoholic beverages. Read the next Clear It Up to learn about how buying decisions are influenced by who controls the household income.

Does who controls household income make a difference?

In the mid-1970s, the United Kingdom made an interesting policy change in its “child allowance” policy. This program provides a fixed amount of money per child to every family, regardless of family income. Traditionally, the child allowance had been distributed to families by withholding less in taxes from the paycheck of the family wage earner—typically the father in this time period. The new policy instead provided the child allowance as a cash payment to the mother. As a result of this change, households have the same level of income and face the same prices in the market, but the money is more likely to be in the purse of the mother than in the wallet of the father.

Should this change in policy alter household consumption patterns? Basic models of consumption decisions, of the sort examined in this chapter, assume that it does not matter whether the mother or the father receives the money, because both parents seek to maximize the utility of the family as a whole. In effect, this model assumes that everyone in the family has the same preferences.

In reality, the share of income controlled by the father or the mother does affect what the household consumes. When the mother controls a larger share of family income a number of studies, in the United Kingdom and in a wide variety of other countries, have found that the family tends to spend more on restaurant meals, child care, and women’s clothing, and less on alcohol and tobacco. As the mother controls a larger share of household resources, children’s health improves, too. These findings suggest that when providing assistance to poor families, in high-income countries and low-income countries alike, the monetary amount of assistance is not all that matters: it also matters which member of the family actually receives the money.

The budget constraint framework serves as a constant reminder to think about the full range of effects that can arise from changes in income or price, not just effects on the one product that might seem most immediately affected.

Key concepts and summary

The budget constraint framework suggest that when income or price changes, a range of responses are possible. When income rises, households will demand a higher quantity of normal goods, but a lower quantity of inferior goods. When the price of a good rises, households will typically demand less of that good—but whether they will demand a much lower quantity or only a slightly lower quantity will depend on personal preferences. Also, a higher price for one good can lead to more or less of the other good being demanded.

Problems

If a 10% decrease in the price of one product that you buy causes an 8% increase in quantity demanded of that product, will another 10% decrease in the price cause another 8% increase (no more and no less) in quantity demanded?

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Questions & Answers

what is elastic
fadoju Reply
how is equilibrium defined in financial market?
infinity Reply
what is the definition of money
infinity
Money is define as anything that is generally acceptable as a means of exchange nd settlement of dept
Simeon
what is elastic
fadoju
how do choices end up determining what, how and for whom goods and services are produced
Ayesha Reply
there are 10 000 seats available for the Wimbledon tennis Championships. the price per ticket is fixed by the organisers. the supply of seats is thus: A. completely elastic B. completely inelastic C. elastic D. unitary elastic E. elastic which option is the answer?
Esihle Reply
what is international trade
Naomi Reply
the trade between two or more countries outside the territory of own country
Mukeem
it's an international trade
Ivan
Multilateral trade it is
Antony
how do monopolistic firm make profit in the short run and long run
Ediga Reply
oligopolistic competition is known to have a kinked demand curve .why there is such a tease my in oligopolistic form only
Ediga
please can anyone help me in econs
Oppong
Manuel in which context
Daizy
please in utility
Oppong
what is demand ?
Tonight Reply
The amount of some goods or services consumers need to purchase
Adu
The amount of goods or services that consumers are willing and can afford to purchase.
Ivan
it is goods and services consumers are willing and able to buy at given price over a given period of time
Rebecca
as quantity of good and service that a consumer is willing and able to purchase at a given price and at the particular market price.
MOHAMMED
The amount of goods and services consumers are able and willing to buy and pay for at a given price and at given point in time.
Solomon
refers to the quantity of goods and services that customers are willing and able to purchase at various prices over a period of time
Ryt
what are subsidies
Yaya Reply
how do trade unions deal with subsidies
Yaya
bro can you explain decision making
WhatsApp
Decision making is a process to use your limited resources for best productive purpose.
Dipam
explain why an increase in national income may not always lead to improvement in economic wellbeing of all the citizens?
Mendo
How many types of labour do we have pls
ROA
two
nabil
skilled and unskilled labour
nabil
Thanks 🙏
ROA
what are the factors that affects efficiency of labour ?
nabil
What are tools of economics analysis
Adu
Adu Tumwah,,, The tools of economics analysis are; Charts, graphs, equations, table, arithemetic mean, etc.
Dennis
Subsidies are payments made by the government to the producers of goods and services
Daizy
what is the marginal revenue if p=10-2q
Karen Reply
what's the difference between demand goods and supply gooda
Spiff Reply
why is 2% the optimal inflation rate in many countries
Spiff
why is 2% the optimal inflation rate in many countries
Spiff
what's inflation
Thando Reply
a general rise in the prices of services and goods in a particular country
Spiff
why is 2% the optimal inflation rate in many countries?
amina
resulting in a fall in the value of money,,
Spiff
for example
Spiff
Inflation is the continuous rise of price of goods and services in a nation
Oluchi
persistent increase in the general price level
Anyere
what will the effective demand if inflation is constant and real wage is less then money wage ?
Vipul Reply
to start
Dennis
to start with your question i think we have to break it down into key words, and they effective demand ,inflation and real wages ... Ok when we say demand is effective we mean the demand is backed up by capital .. it is backed up by the ability to pay for the good/commodity demanded for
Dennis
in other hand inflation is the persistent rise of goods and services in and particular country's economy
Dennis
so what is real wages it means the amount paid to labour for a particular work done
Dennis
money wage is the money/capital paid to a worker
Dennis
knowing this terms you can be able to answer your question....
Dennis
What is monopoly
Oluchi Reply
I believe that a market is monopolistic if there is no competition. in other words, a given company is the only one offering the product/service.
amina
am a fan of monopoly
Okeke
it is correct
Spiff
and in other word,,, is a thing that belongs to one person or group that another people will not able to share
Spiff
a single seller and large number of consumer
Vipul
A monopoly is a firm that is the sole producer of a good or service for which there are no close substitutes. It exist because of barriers to entry. The barriers can be legal or natural.
Dennis
Ok
Oluchi
give tree difference between economic good and free good
Gideon Reply
economic goods produced by man efforts and free goods are free by nature
Kobwa
What are tools of economics analysis
Adu
economics provides tools to know our better desire and how to get maximum utility and right way right time decission power.
Inno
economic good are related to income to fullfill satisfaction and free goods are natural resourses like sunshine rain air water from earth e.t.c
Inno
graphs,pie chart,histograms,tables,curves,etc.
nabil
why do government sometimes impose indirect taxes rather than direct taxes.
nabil
just five points with no explanations
nabil
what is want
Wasila Reply
anything just come from your heart
domingo
no matter how much you give
domingo
is what you desire to have
Tsai
their the human desire it's need(s).
Gideon
YES
Erik
like medicine food etc
domingo

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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