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## Microeconomic Foundation of the Modern

Consumption Theory

## The theory is based on the consumer choice theory and

forms the basis for modern macroeconomic model of
consumption and asset pricing.

## Consider an individual who lives for 2 periods.

Date 1 (subscript 1) denotes current or today and date 2
(subscript 2) denotes future.

(2) C1 = Y1 S

## S = period one saving (if S > 0) or borrowing

(if S < 0). N.B. There is no need to save in period 2.

## Period 2 Budget Constraint

(3) C2 = Y2 + (1+r) S

## r = real rate of interest (the opportunity cost or real

price of consumption)

## We can combine these two budget constraints

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From (2) S = Y1 C1

## Expand the bracket to get the budget constraint in term

of period 2 (future) values

C2 + C1(1+r) = Y2 + (1+r) Y1

## Divide the above equation through by (1+r), we get the

budget constraint in terms of period 1 (present) value

## It implies that the present-value of consumption equals

the present-value of income.

Intercepts:
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## If C1 = 0, C2 = [Y1(1+r) + Y2] => Vertical intercept (FV

of income)
If C2 = 0, C1 = [Y1 + Y2/(1+r)] => Horizontal intercept
(= PV of income)

Future

Slope = -(1+r)
Y20

Y10 Today

## Given an income of (Y10, Y20) what does this person

choose for C1 and C2?

## Below is some basic microeconomic theory of

consumer preferences.
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PREFERENCES

## An individuals preferences for consumption over two

goods can be shown by indifference curves (IC).

## Let the goods be current consumption C1 and future

consumption C2. Each indifference curve (IC)
connecting various combinations of C1 and C2
represents a particular and equal level of satisfaction
(called utility in economics).

## The IC slopes downward (due to trade-offs between C1

and C2, giving up some of one good to have more of the
other good while keeping you equally satisfied!) and
convex towards the origin (due to the assumption of
preferring averages rather than extremes, some cokes
and pizzas rather than many pizzas or cokes and
nothing else!)

C2

Utility level B
C1
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## Slope of an indifference curve is called the marginal

rate of substitution, MRS. That is, it indicates the rate
at which an individual is willing to trade current for
future consumption.

## Note: For a consumer, indifference curves cannot cross.

Why? If A is preferred B and B is preferred to C, then
A should be preferred to C, right? That is, your
preference should be consistent and logical! This also
rules out any upward sloping indifference curve
because it violates the assumption of more is better.

C2

f
e

C1

## The ICs above all violate the assumption of either they

cannot cross or more is better
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## Some indifference curves are not convex but can be

negatively sloped straight lines (if the two goods are
perfect substitutes) or even L shaped (if the two goods
are perfect complements or always consumed in a fixed
proportion).

C2

C1
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PERIOD MODEL

## The choice of C1 and C2 that maximises the consumers

utility is given by the point of tangency between the
highest attainable indifference curve and the budget
constraint.

C2 e1

e*

e2

C1

## Note that e1 and e2 are inefficient as you could move

onto a higher indifference curve (higher utility), given
the budget constraint. If the indifference curve is above
the budget constraint, it is not attainable given the
budget constraint. Only e* is the utility maximizing
choice.