The Educational Choice Anomaly for Principles Students: Using Ordinary Supply and Demand Rather than Indifference Curves

Journal of Economic Education, Vol. 42, No. 3, pp. 1-5, Forthcoming

6 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2010 Last revised: 29 May 2011

See all articles by Philip E. Graves

Philip E. Graves

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics

Robert L. Sexton

Pepperdine University - Economics Department

Lauren Calimeris

St. John Fisher College

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 12, 2010

Abstract

The “surprise value” of many economic observations makes our discipline quite interesting for many students. One such anomaly is that providing “free” education in an effort to reduce the number of dropouts can often result in a lower level of educational quality purchased. This result is easy to show with indifference curves, but many instructors of introductory courses do not introduce this analytical technique. As a consequence, a result that many students find quite interesting is seldom presented. We show here that it is easy to clarify the educational choice anomaly with ordinary supply and demand curves. Moreover, the exercise of doing so provides students with a greater understanding of benefit/cost analysis as well as consumer and producer surplus.

Keywords: educational choice, dropouts, subsidized education

JEL Classification: A1, A2, D1, I2, I3

Suggested Citation

Graves, Philip E. and Sexton, Robert L. and Calimeris, Lauren, The Educational Choice Anomaly for Principles Students: Using Ordinary Supply and Demand Rather than Indifference Curves (October 12, 2010). Journal of Economic Education, Vol. 42, No. 3, pp. 1-5, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1691369

Philip E. Graves (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics ( email )

Campus Box 256
Boulder, CO 80309-0256
United States

Robert L. Sexton

Pepperdine University - Economics Department ( email )

24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
United States

Lauren Calimeris

St. John Fisher College ( email )

3690 East Ave.
Rochester, NY 14618
United States

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