The Number of Goods as a Welfare Variable: A Simplified Graphic Approach
AbstractTrade, the Internet, and product innovation have greatly enlarged the number of goods ( N) in the consumer's choice set. The welfare effect of the growth in N has been extensively discussed in the specialized literature, but very little has filtered down to our textbook models of a competitive equilibrium. These focus on the Pareto-optimal allocation of resources for a given N , avoiding the problem of the optimum number of goods, or the welfare gains when the optimum number is increased through trade. This neglect stems from the limitations of our partial-equilibrium analytical tools—for example, indifference maps in which N is fixed. The authors fill this gap in the Hicksian ordinal revolution by developing new indifference curves that express N as a variable, thus allowing them to estimate the variety gains from trade and the real-income gains as new goods enlarge N and to use new pp curves to provide a graphic description of the optimum number of goods in a competitive economy.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal The Journal of Economic Education.
Volume (Year): 39 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (September)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/VECE20
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael McNulty).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.