Indifference Curves

Read this section for additional details about indifference curves and consumer behavior.

1. Introduction

Economists use a vocabulary of maximizing utility to describe people's preferences. In Consumer Choices, the level of utility that a person receives is described in numerical terms. This appendix presents an alternative approach to describing personal preferences, called indifference curves, which avoids any need for using numbers to measure utility. By setting aside the assumption of putting a numerical valuation on utility - an assumption that many students and economists find uncomfortably unrealistic - the indifference curve framework helps to clarify the logic of the underlying model.

Source: Steven A. Greenlaw and Timothy Taylor,
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