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Solution Solution The Rational Consumer 1. For each of the following situations, decide whether Al has increasing, constant, or diminishing marginal utility. a. The more economics classes Al takes, the more he enjoys the subject. And the more classes he takes, the easier each one gets, making him enjoy each additional class even more than the one before. b. Al likes loud music. In fact, according to him, the louder, the better. Each time he turns the volume up a notch, he adds 5 utils to his total utility. c. Al enjoys watching reruns of the old sitcom Friends. He claims that these episodes are always funny, but he does admit that the more he sees an episode, the less funny it gets. d. Al loves toasted marshmallows. The more he eats, however, the fuller he gets and the less he enjoys each additional marshmallow. And there is a point at which he becomes satiated: beyond that point, more marshmallows actually make him feel worse rather than better. 1. a. Al has increasing marginal utility of economics classes. Each additional class adds more to his total utility than the previous class. b. Al has constant marginal utility of volume of music. His total utility increases by 5 utils for each additional notch of volume, so his marginal utility is constant at 5 utils. c. Al has diminishing marginal utility of Friends episodes. Although additional episodes increase his total utility, they do so less and less. That is, his marginal utility declines. d. Al has diminishing marginal utility of marshmallows. For a certain range, addi- tional marshmallows add to his total utility, so total utility increases. But total utility increases by less and less. In fact, total utility eventually begins to decline. In other words, his marginal utility becomes smaller and smaller and eventually becomes negative. 2. Use the concept of marginal utility to explain the following: Newspaper vending machines are designed so that once you have paid for one paper, you could take more than one paper at a time. But soda vending machines, once you have paid for one soda, dispense only one soda at a time. 2. After you have taken the first newspaper, the marginal utility of the second newspa- per is zero: you dont learn any more news by having two copies of the same paper instead of just one. So once you have paid for the vending machine to open, you will take only one paper. For soda, on the other hand, marginal utility is positive: after you have drunk the first soda, the second will still give you more utility. It will give you less utility than the first sodathat is, there is diminishing marginal utilitybut the marginal utility of the second soda is still positive. If the vending machine allowed you to take more than one soda at a time after paying for only one, you would. So the soda vending machine has to be designed to prevent you from taking more than one soda, and it does so by dispensing only one soda at a time.... View Full Document

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