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By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Calculate total utility
  • Propose decisions that maximize utility
  • Explain marginal utility and the significance of diminishing marginal utility

Information on the consumption choices of Americans is available from the Consumer Expenditure Survey carried out by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. [link] shows spending patterns for the average U.S. household. The first row shows income and, after taxes and personal savings are subtracted, it shows that, in 2015, the average U.S. household spent $48,109 on consumption. The table then breaks down consumption into various categories. The average U.S. household spent roughly one-third of its consumption on shelter and other housing expenses, another one-third on food and vehicle expenses, and the rest on a variety of items, as shown. Of course, these patterns will vary for specific households by differing levels of family income, by geography, and by preferences.

(Source: http://www.bls.gov/cex/csxann13.pdf)
U.s. consumption choices in 2015
Average Household Income before Taxes $62,481
Average Annual Expenditures $48.109
Food at home $3,264
Food away from home $2,505
Housing $16,557
Apparel and services $1,700
Transportation $7,677
Healthcare $3,157
Entertainment $2,504
Education $1,074
Personal insurance and pensions $5,357
All else: alcohol, tobacco, reading, personal care, cash contributions, miscellaneous $3,356

Total utility and diminishing marginal utility

To understand how a household will make its choices, economists look at what consumers can afford, as shown in a budget constraint line    , and the total utility    or satisfaction derived from those choices. In a budget constraint line, the quantity of one good is measured on the horizontal axis and the quantity of the other good is measured on the vertical axis. The budget constraint line shows the various combinations of two goods that are affordable given consumer income. Consider the situation of José, shown in [link] . José likes to collect T-shirts and watch movies.

In [link] , the quantity of T-shirts is shown on the horizontal axis, while the quantity of movies is shown on the vertical axis. If José had unlimited income or goods were free, then he could consume without limit. But José, like all of us, faces a budget constraint    . José has a total of $56 to spend. The price of T-shirts is $14 and the price of movies is $7. Notice that the vertical intercept of the budget constraint line is at eight movies and zero T-shirts ($56/$7=8). The horizontal intercept of the budget constraint is four, where José spends of all of his money on T-shirts and no movies ($56/14=4). The slope of the budget constraint line is rise/run or –8/4=–2. The specific choices along the budget constraint line show the combinations of T-shirts and movies that are affordable.

A choice between consumption goods

The points on the graph show how a budget is affected by spending choices. Spending more money at the movies (y-axis) means that Jose' has less money to spend on T-shirts (x-axis).
José has income of $56. Movies cost $7 and T-shirts cost $14. The points on the budget constraint line show the combinations of movies and T-shirts that are affordable.

José wishes to choose the combination that will provide him with the greatest utility    , which is the term economists use to describe a person’s level of satisfaction or happiness with his or her choices.

Questions & Answers

In few words, what is the role of interest rate in economy?
Carlos Reply
what is population
Nyakeh Reply
total number of people in a given area or country
Clement
the total number of people at a given area or country
Clement
total number of people in a given area or country
okhiria
What is price Elasticity of demand?.
Samuel
The responsiveness of the quantity of a commodity demanded to a change in its price, expressed as the percentage change in quantity demanded divided by the percentage change in price.
EMMANUEL
please rice and beans will be what type of demand but note we mostly cook it together
Oladosu Reply
complementary or joint demand
Yillah
but did you know you can demand for rice without beans so how is it joint or complementary
Oladosu
From my point of view, rice and beans are replaceable goods, hence they can't be complementary.
Carlos
what are the money value
Wisdom Reply
Nothing more than a purchase power, in other words, $100 now, must have the same value after 1 year.
Carlos
what is Monopoly
Rebecca Reply
what is money
Lawal Reply
It can be define as a big transaction that can control any business for one place to another base.
Akinlo
money is recognisable note to accept both parties selling and buying
Hassan
i don still understan
Rene
hey
Abdul
hi
Rene
money is anything generally accepted as a medium of exchange
Awwal
Money is anything generally accepted as a medium of exchange and for the settlement of goods and services .
Korda
hi good ppl, pls help out
Tumi
discuss human and natural resources as develop strategies ro improving living condition of citizens in developing countries.
Tumi
I don't understand the question.
Naomi
it's a form of currency used for 2 or more individuals or parties in order to reach their amicable personal or business attainment. one must understand that money itself can manifest in multiple fashions for which the individuals or parties adheres.
are u trying to say we shld discuss ways in which human natural resources help in improving living condition of citizens in developing countries?
Naomi
money is a legal thunder generally accepted as a medium of exchange for the payment of debt ,goods and services
Naomi
money is a way of payment.
Carlos
money is any thing that is generally accepted as a medium of exchange good for good and settlement of debt and means of payment
Yillah
money is nothing but a object which is used for exchange of goods and services.
Harshita
money is anything that is generally accepted as payment of goods and services and settlement of debt
Rebecca
what is demand
Melissa Reply
demand is where the customer is willing and able to buy goods and services during a given period of time
idk
demand is the ability and willingness of an individual to buy goods and services at a given price in a particular period of time
Alpha
demand is the ability to buy a specific quantities of goods and services at a given price and at a specific period of time
rosemary
what are the rules of demand
rosemary
Rosemary Nsebon, Do you mean laws of demand?
Alpha
what are the rules of demand
Rene
the rule of demand is the higher the price the lower the quantity demanded and the lower the price the higher the quantity demanded
mbi
thank
Rene
what is unemployment
Rebecca
unemployment is a scenario or a phenomenon in an economy whereby people are willing are able to work but cannot a job
mbi
Suppose you have a team of two workers: one is a baker and one is a chef. Explain why the kitchen can produce more meals in a given period of time if each worker specializes in what they do best than if each worker tries to do everything from appetizer to dessert. please I need a urgent answer
Oladosu Reply
Enables individuals and countries to consume a variety of goods and services
Iddrisu
what is the meaning of competency
Oladosu Reply
competency is an ability and courage to do something perfectly
Abdullahi
ability to perform some task
Segun
rival
Ray
thanks 🙏 it is also the same with the core competency
Oladosu
A sufficient supply
Ebenezer
Ebenezer you mean the (core competency) right?
Oladosu
what is mean,median and mode
Ikeh Reply
mean is the average number of a given data
Gallant
median is the middle number of a given data
Gallant
in a given data sorry
Mitchel
hi
Sajib
Pls am new here
Physcal
what are development bank in Nigeria
Adedigba Reply
.hi
Physcal
hi
Adedigba
hw
Physcal
and cool
Rosie
nice to meet everyone
Rosie
hi how are dears
Mumtaz
how can we development economic in our country
Mumtaz
hi
Charm
Payroll and​ 4p
Wasuroj
Agriculture
Wasuroj
Export
Wasuroj
Transport
Wasuroj
Change management​ and​ cerrancy
Wasuroj
Empoyee
Wasuroj
Lawyer army and​ Lawyer​
Wasuroj
animal husbandry essay
Rakuane Reply
what's the primary location of capital and money market respectively
ALIMI
what is bank
Nyakeh Reply
A bank is an institution set up purposely for the save keeping of money and other valuables
Alpha
A bank is a financial institution which helps people to save their money
Cyprian
pls define the HRM and HRP
Mumtaz
we have no money in bank....the bank owes us
Ray
When a supply curve start from the origin price elasticity of supply is unitory. Provide a simple proof
Felix Reply
Oui
Bobbo
please help someone should help me this question
Felix
ok
Anita
what is price
Divine Reply
the perchesing amount of something is called price
Nasir

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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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