The law of demand versus diminishing marginal utility
Diminishing marginal utility (DMU) is neither necessary nor sufficient for downward-sloping demand. Yet, upper-division undergraduate and beginning graduate students often presumeotherwise. This paper provides two simple counter-examples that can be used to help students understand that the Law of Demand does not depend on DMU. The examples are accompaniedwith the geometry and basic mathematics of the utility functions and the implied ordinary/Marshallian demands.
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- Cicchetti, Charles J & Fisher, Anthony C & Smith, V Kerry, 1976. "An Econometric Evaluation of a Generalized Consumer Surplus Measure: The Mineral King Controversy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(6), pages 1259-76, November.
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- Burt, Oscar R & Brewer, Durward, 1971. "Estimation of Net Social Benefits from Outdoor Recreation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(5), pages 813-27, September.
- LaFrance, Jeffrey T., 1985. "Linear demand functions in theory and practice," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 147-166, October.
- Hausman, Jerry A, 1981. "Exact Consumer's Surplus and Deadweight Loss," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 662-76, September.
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