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PAM 2000, Intermediate Microeconomics
Problem Set 2 suggested answers
I.
True, False or Uncertain.
Explain
. No credit given without explanation.
Use graphs to help explain your answer whenever possible (2 points each).
1)
If a linear supply curve has a zero intercept, the elasticity of supply is
always unity.
Answer: True. A linear supply curve from the origin takes the form Q =ap. Elasticity
equals a*p/Q. Substituting for Q yields a*p/ap. Numerator and denominator cancel
and the elasticity equals one at every price.
2)
If the elasticity of demand for a good rises, ceteris paribus, then the
incidence of a specific tax on consumers will fall.
Answer: True. Intuitively, if the elasticity of demand for a good rises, then that means
that consumers
are more
sensitive to a price change. So they can more easily find
substitutes for the good if its price rises. Thus, when a tax is imposed on that good,
consumers will substitute into those alternatives, and will bear less of the tax.
To see this graphically, consider the tax incidence on consumers for the two extreme cases
of demand elasticity: infinite and zero elastic:
In the infinite elastic case, there is no change in price as the tax is imposed, so consumers
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This note was uploaded on 11/14/2009 for the course PAM 2000 taught by Professor Evans,t. during the Spring '07 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).
 Spring '07
 EVANS,T.

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