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Unformatted text preview: are also markets
for money such as Japanese yen and for financial
securities such as Yahoo! stock. Only our imagination
limits what can be traded in markets.
Some markets are physical places where buyers and
sellers meet and where an auctioneer or a broker
helps to determine the prices. Examples of this type
of market are the New York Stock Exchange and the
wholesale fish, meat, and produce markets.
Some markets are groups of people spread around
the world who never meet and know little about each
other but are connected through the Internet or by telephone and fax. Examples are the e-commerce markets
and the currency markets.
But most markets are unorganized collections of
buyers and sellers. You do most of your trading in
this type of market. An example is the market for
basketball shoes. The buyers in this $3 billion-a-year
market are the 45 million Americans who play basketball (or who want to make a fashion statement).
The sellers are the tens of thousands of retail sports
equipment and footwear stores. Each buyer can visit
several different stores, and each seller knows that the
buyer has a choice of stores.
Markets vary in the intensity of competition that
buyers and sellers face. In this chapter, we’re going to
study a competitive market—a market that has many
buyers and many sellers, so no single buyer or seller
can influence the price.
Producers offer items for sale only if the price is
high enough to cover their opportunity cost. And
consumers respond to changing opportunity cost by
seeking cheaper alternatives to expensive items.
We are going to study how people respond to
prices and the forces that determine prices. But to pursue these tasks, we need to understand the relationship between a price and an opportunity cost.
In everyday life, the price of an object is the number of dollars that must be given up in exchange for it.
Economists refer to this price as the money price.
The opportunity cost of an action is the highest-valued alternative forgone....
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