Microeconomics

Microeconomics

  1. Markets seek equilibrium, and the demand for goods and services will come to an equilibrium with supply of goods and services.  When markets are not in equilibrium, surpluses and shortages, as well as underground markets, can exist.  Sometimes, the government may want to intervene in markets to try to help reduce economic hardships.

    Analyze the impact of an increase in the minimum wage from the current level to $15 per hour.  How would the following be affected?

    a.  employment of people previously earning less than $15 per hour

    b.  the unemployment rate of teenagers

    c.  the availability of on-the-job training for low-skilled workers

    d.  the demand for high-skilled workers who are good substitutes for low-skilled workers

    Review the mechanics of price floors and price ceilings.  Why does a price floor lead to surpluses?  Why does a price ceiling lead to shortages?  Review consumer and producer surplus.  A price floor will lead to a transfer of consumer surplus to producer surplus; a price ceiling will lead to a transfer of producer surplus to consumer surplus; both price regulations lead to deadweight losses, which is a loss of surplus to society.  Why?

    2. Politicians have a strong incentive to follow a strategy that will enhance their chances of getting elected and re-elected.  Political competition more or less forces them to focus on how their actions influence their support among voters and political contributors.

    What is market failure, and what kinds of things can lead to market failure?  What is government failure?  Can government failure lead to market failure?

    Review concepts like shortsightedness and rent seeking.  What are the effects of government intervention in markets with some of the price regulations like price floors and price ceilings we discussed in chapter 4?

    3. Recent research confirms that the demand for cigarettes is not only price inelastic, but it also indicates smokers with incomes in the lower half of all incomes respond to a given price increase by reducing their purchases by amounts that are more than four times as large as the purchase reductions made by smokers in the upper half of all incomes.

    How can the income and substitution effects of a price change help explain this?

    Review price elasticity of demand and supply.  Price elasticity describes the sensitivity between quantity demanded/supplied and price when a change in price occurs.  A relatively lower change in quantity versus a change in price means the product is more price inelastic; a higher relative change in quantity versus a price change indicates more price elastic.  Review the substitution effect and income effect dynamics.

    4. To maximize profit, a price taker will expand its output as long as the sale of additional units adds more to revenues (marginal revenues) than to costs (marginal costs).  Therefore, the profit-maximizing price taker will produce the output level at which marginal revenue (and price) equals marginal cost.

    In a price-taker market, if a business produces efficiently (i.e., that is, where marginal revenues = marginal costs), the firm will be able to make at least a normal profit.  True of False.  Explain.

    All firms produce where MR=MC.  Price takers produce and price where P=ATC=MC=MR.  That is the “normal profit” level.  Profits above that level are considered “economic profits.”  Review economic profits, normal profits, explicit costs, and implicit costs.

    5. A profit-maximizing price searcher will expand output as long as marginal revenue either exceeds or is equal to marginal cost, lowering its price or raising its price until the midpoint of their demand curve and highest total revenues are achieved.

    Why are oligopolies able to earn both short-run economic profits and long-run economic profits, while price taking firms like perfect competitors can only earn short-run economic profits?

    Review the characteristics of perfect competition and imperfect competition (monopolistic competition, oligopoly, and monopoly).  Barriers to entry don’t exist for perfect competition, but barriers to entry exist for imperfect competition.  What are the implications of barriers to entry to the firm and competition?  Review consumer surplus and producer surplus; what happens to consumer surplus is price is above equilibrium, or in this case above normal profits?

    6. Profit-maximizing firms will hire additional units of a resource up to the point at which the marginal revenue product (MRP) of the resource equals its price.  With multiple inputs, firms will expand their use of each until the marginal product divided by the price (MP/P) is equal across all inputs

    What is the link between marginal revenue product and wages?  Due to there being discrepancies between the productivity and resource offerings (i.e., education, skills, experience) in labor markets, is it justified for one employee with a higher marginal revenue product to earn a higher wage than an employee with a lower marginal revenue product?  Does this notion of marginal revenue product and wages conflict with minimum wage laws?

    Review the mechanics of demand and supply.  How does marginality work in economics?

    7. Imports increase the domestic supply and lead to lower prices for consumers.  Exports reduce the domestic supply and push price upward.  The net effect of international trade is an expansion in total output and higher income levels for both trading partners (law of comparative advantages).

    “Imports destroy jobs; exports create them.  The average American is hurt by imports and helped by exports.”  Do you agree or disagree with this statement?  Explain and support.

    Review absolute and comparative advantages.  Personal private property protection allows for greater entrepreneurial ventures, and thus an expanding economy and job growth; can import tariffs and quotas reduce the benefits of trade?  Review the mechanics of import tariffs and quotas and world price.