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

  • Analyze arguments against economic approaches to decision-making
  • Interpret a tradeoff diagram
  • Contrast normative statements and positive statements

It is one thing to understand the economic approach to decision-making and another thing to feel comfortable applying it. The sources of discomfort typically fall into two categories: that people do not act in the way that fits the economic way of thinking, and that even if people did act that way, they should try not to. Let’s consider these arguments in turn.

First objection: people, firms, and society do not act like this

The economic approach to decision-making seems to require more information than most individuals possess and more careful decision-making than most individuals actually display. After all, do you or any of your friends draw a budget constraint and mutter to yourself about maximizing utility before you head to the shopping mall? Do members of the U.S. Congress contemplate production possibilities frontiers before they vote on the annual budget? The messy ways in which people and societies operate somehow doesn’t look much like neat budget constraints or smoothly curving production possibilities frontiers.

However, the economics approach can be a useful way to analyze and understand the tradeoffs of economic decisions even so. To appreciate this point, imagine for a moment that you are playing basketball, dribbling to the right, and throwing a bounce-pass to the left to a teammate who is running toward the basket. A physicist or engineer could work out the correct speed and trajectory for the pass, given the different movements involved and the weight and bounciness of the ball. But when you are playing basketball, you do not perform any of these calculations. You just pass the ball, and if you are a good player, you will do so with high accuracy.

Someone might argue: “The scientist’s formula of the bounce-pass requires a far greater knowledge of physics and far more specific information about speeds of movement and weights than the basketball player actually has, so it must be an unrealistic description of how basketball passes are actually made.” This reaction would be wrongheaded. The fact that a good player can throw the ball accurately because of practice and skill, without making a physics calculation, does not mean that the physics calculation is wrong.

Similarly, from an economic point of view, someone who goes shopping for groceries every week has a great deal of practice with how to purchase the combination of goods that will provide that person with utility, even if the shopper does not phrase decisions in terms of a budget constraint. Government institutions may work imperfectly and slowly, but in general, a democratic form of government feels pressure from voters and social institutions to make the choices that are most widely preferred by people in that society. So, when thinking about the economic actions of groups of people, firms, and society, it is reasonable, as a first approximation, to analyze them with the tools of economic analysis. For more on this, read about behavioral economics in the chapter on Consumer Choices .

Questions & Answers

what is monopoly and what is monopolaist
Javid Reply
what is the affect of rise in value of dollar ?
Shabana
monopoly"a single firm or company owns all or nearly all of the market for a given type of product or service "monopoly is a price maker ...barrier of entry ,non availability of close substitute.
Shabana
monopolistic competition or market is a situation where there are few or many firm producing identical but differentiated product .eg difference in advertisement ,packing etc
Shabana
monopolistic competition or market is a situation where there are few or many firm producing identical but differentiated product .eg difference in advertisement ,packing
jay
monopoly is a market situation ...where there is a single seller and large number of buyers deals with commodities having no close substitutes......here the sellers are price makers... there is restrictions in the entry and exit of new firms in this market structure....
lovely
what is money?
Hilary
money is a medium of exchange.....through which...commodities are bought and sold
lovely
money is a medium/means of exchange that generally accepted by law
Prince
What is tranfer earnings
Admire
what is savings income?
Limitles
transfer earning is the minimum income that a factor is willing to accept in an occupation,it is also call the supply price of a factor
Fung
what is envelope curve
Dharam
what is depreciation
Fung
depreciation means decrease in value of a assets due to normal wear or year ,means decrease in value of assets like a machine due to its daily use
ru
Refers to wear and tear of capital machinery
apule
what is meant by currency depreciation?
Shabana
an envelope curve is also call an umbrella curve it is any curve that is enclosed by being tangen t to a series of other curves
Fung
fall in the value of currency vis-a-vis any other currency usually $ due to marker forces is called currency depreciation. it is different from devaluation where in value of currency is deliberately reduced to improve BoT
mohammad
depreciation in its broad sense means loss in the value of fixed capital say a tractor due to i) normal wear and tear ii) normal rate of accidental damage iii) expected absolescence to meet this, Depereciation Reserve Fund is created it is calculated by firms on the basis of their experience.
mohammad
what is green revolution ?discuss the achievement of green revolution in India
Sweety Reply
green revolution is the third revolution of agricultural refers to a set of research and development of technology transfer initiative occuring between 1930s and the late 1960s that increased agricultural is called green revolution
Javid
what calculation for demand and supply
Amoo Reply
what is nationalisation
Awuni Reply
it is a process of converting private assets into public assets by undertaking the control of government or state authority
ru
anything which is widely acceptable as a medium of exchange
Shabana Reply
money ,currency
ru
Hello plz,what is the full mean of tertiary?
al Reply
tertiary also called philoshper
Waseem
tertiary means third..for example primary sector ,secondary and tertiary sector... means three number..
ru
ru 9ice tnk
al
your most welcome.
ru
tnz
al
what is money
Tettey
what is a bank
Walters
a financial institution which holds money for its clients ,which collect deposit and lend money at interest and trades generally in money...
Shabana
what is bankers draft ?kindly explain with example .
Shabana
money "anything which is widely acceptable as a medium of exchange"
Shabana
yes u ryt #shabana
Dar
difference between cost and price
Dar
Shallow definition
Adam
cost"the value of input that is the amount of money which is used to produce a good or service . price"an amount of money which has to b paid to buy something.
Shabana
Tertiary is an adjective(pre position) for stages or levels and refers to "top, final, full term ." ; Advanced.
Anderson
bank draft is a type of cheque which a person buy for to pay someone who is not willing to accept a personal cheque .
ru
tertiary sector is an providing any kind of services.
Madhu
primary sector is 'agriculture', secondary sector is ' industrial sector ,and the tertiary sector is ,' service sector' ,
Dharam
what is occupational structure
Madhu Reply
occupational structure refers to the distribution of occupation on the basis of educational ,socoial ,income level in a society or economy
ru
no that is not a exact meaning
Madhu
than what is exact meaning
Dharam
It refers to also the what is the average income of the person
Madhu
what is deficit
Obiajunwa Reply
deficit = expenses > revenue
Waseem
yeah expenses over revenue results in deficit
Paulina
insufficiency
Anderson
What is What is Equilibrium
Bright Reply
from business point of view it is that point where business revanu are equal to its expenses.
ru
in economy where demand is equal to supply is called equalibrium
ru
Equilibrium in economics is where quantity demanded is equal to quantity supplied
Collins
what are the objectives of devaluation
Oyedun
how the government solve the problem of scarcity
SUNDAY Reply
how government solve the problem of scarcity
SUNDAY
by deciding the output limit for every industry and providing resources to these industries according to output limit .the problem can be solved
ru
and by controlling the activity of production like as a mixed economy this problem can be solved
ru
by proper planning to cater the needs of people, demand & supply process may prove helpful. and by imposing heavy import duty on the product to shift the demand towards available alternative sources.
Abida
changing the methods of production, and tax system
Khushal
In problems of scarcity government should adopt a plan or state budget, form a long term policy , deal with corruption , mobilise resources ,systems and monitor.
Anderson
by doing various plans or scheme and providing various kind of free or in less price to the needy people
Madhu
Plx anyone explain bankers draft by giving example.
Shabana
what is price elasticity of demand?
Asamoah Reply
price elasticity of demand is the percentage in quantity demanded of a good or service to the percentage change in its price.
Cobbina
Price elasticity of demand is a measure used in economics to show the responsiveness, or elasticity, of the quantity demanded of a good or service to a change in its price when nothing but the price changes.
TOHEEB
Price elasticity of Demand is a prepotionat change in the demand due to change in price of the goods and service
Dawal
what is monopoly and monopolistic?
KPAAKPA
Price elasticity of demand is the economy measure to show the responsiveness and change in price due to change in quantity.
Lomayani
what is economics
Kenethy Reply
one simple reason to build format in level great leverage for better control knowing grown level greater with word trade..
Larod
Any one who can assit me with Multiplier
Wendy
Yeah sure
Aqrar
You mean Multiplier effect!5
Aqrar
ECONOMICS IS THE STUDY OF ECONOMIC ISSUES OR (ECONOMIC PROBLEMS)ARUSING OUT OF THE FACT THAT RESOURCES ARE SCARCE IN RELATION TO OUR NEEDS,DESIRES OR WE CAN SAY THAT RESOURCES ARE LIMITED OR WANTS ARE UN LIMITED HOW CAN WE UTILIZE LIMITED RESOURCES FOR SETESFY OUR WANTS
Nazneen
is called economics
Nazneen
is call economist
KPAAKPA
then
Nazneen
Economics is all about management of scarce resources. In other words its is about efficience.
Aqrar
Nazneen lets discuss some advance concepts and models
Aqrar
I.can see you have good concepts of Econ
Aqrar
what is multiplier
Wendy
@Wendy A phenomenon whereby a given change in a particular input, such as government spending, causes a larger change in an output, such as gross domestic product.
Aqrar
economic is social science that deal with the human behavior as a difference b/ween earth and scale.
jacob
Economics is a science that studies human behaviour in relation to ends and scarce means which have alternative uses
Collins
economics is a social science that deal with human behavior in aspect of end and scarce and the alternative use
Chibuzor
pls I want to known the difference between inflation and deflation, what is there difference ?
jacob
economics is the study of how man used scarce recourse to satisfy human wants
abdullahi
inflation is the increase in the general price level while deflation is decrease in general price level.
Azhar
evening,dear friends. I'm very glad to be one of you so will you please give me full imformaton about economics epically the time table of the first year of the univerysity
abdullahi
hi iam from india
Naa
economic is the study of human behavior, want by professor Robert say is all about choice and want
KPAAKPA
what is SCARCITY?
KPAAKPA
Scarcity is the limitation of resources within the economy
karl
means that human wants for goods, services and resources exceed what is available
KPAAKPA
Scarcity is inefficient resources to satisfy human want.
Pat
inflation can define as general rise in the price due to too much money in circulation, while is the decrease of the price of goods due to low money in circulation.
Musa
what is the law of dimension return?
jacob
Jacob it's diminishing return
The
The study of house hold management and money measurements
Wardan
hi
Augustine
what is mearnt of economies of scale..pls asist me
Augustine
hii
Vimarsh
when larger amount of output is produced , per unit input costs tend to fall , heading towards economiea of scale ..by acale we mean scale of production here
Vimarsh
economies# scale#
Vimarsh
alright thank u..what are its advantages
Augustine
the cost of production is low and more efficient
Vimarsh
What is demand?
Bright
demand is the various goods and services consumers are willing and able to purchase at a particular price
Paulina
What is inflation
Bright
Economics is a social science focusing on the economy and its agents in production,distribution,buying and selling involving resources such as raw materials and labour at micro ie individual or family and macro ie aggregate or total and state levels . There are several forms or brands or approache
Anderson
scarcity means non availability things or resources which satisfy humans
Madhu
demanding the various goods and services which satisfy humans needs
Madhu
when we calculate shortage and surplus why do we subtract quantity demanded from quantity supplied
The Reply
to determine surplus
Concepcion
true using of graphs
jacob
because we try to avoid negative answers
Eric
what is price ceiling
Nazneen Reply
price ceiling is a government-imposed price control, or limit, on how high a price is charged for a product. Governments use price ceilings to protect consumers from conditions that could make commodities prohibitively expensive.
Rina
price effect= Income Effect+ Substitution Effect
Muhammad
Well described Rina
Aqrar
why average revenue is equal to price in monopoly market?
khin Reply
Because One person get the monopole on demand market without any concurrence
Christian
hlw
Luman
hlw
Sheikh

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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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