Glossary: Utility

backward-bending supply curve for labor the situation when high-wage people can earn so much that they respond to a still-higher wage by working fewer hours

behavioral economics a branch of economics that seeks to enrich the understanding of decision-making by integrating the insights of psychology and by investigating how given dollar amounts can mean different things to individuals depending on the situation.

budget constraint line shows the possible combinations of two goods that are affordable given a consumer’s limited income

consumer equilibrium when the ratio of the prices of goods is equal to the ratio of the marginal utilities (point at which the consumer can get the most satisfaction)

diminishing marginal utility the common pattern that each marginal unit of a good consumed provides less of an addition to utility than the previous unit

fungible the idea that units of a good, such as dollars, ounces of gold, or barrels of oil are capable of mutual substitution with each other and carry equal value to the individual.

income effect a higher price means that, in effect, the buying power of income has been reduced, even though actual income has not changed; always happens simultaneously with a substitution effect

marginal utility per dollar the additional satisfaction gained from purchasing a good given the price of the product; MU/Price

marginal utility the additional utility provided by one additional unit of consumption

substitution effect when a price changes, consumers have an incentive to consume less of the good with a relatively higher price and more of the good with a relatively lower price; always happens simultaneously with an income effect

total utility satisfaction derived from consumer choices