1 Introduction

An Economist’s Theory of Reincarnation: If you’re good, you come back on a higher level. Cats come back as dogs, dogs come back as horses, and people—if they’ve been really good like George Washington—come back as money.

If each of us could get all the food, clothing, and toys we want without working, no one would study economics. Unfortunately, most of the good things in life are scarce—we can’t all have as much as we want. Thus, scarcity is the mother of economics.

Microeconomics is the study of how individuals and firms make themselves as well off as possible in a world of scarcity, and the consequences of those individual decisions for markets and the entire economy. In studying microeconomics, we examine how individual consumers ...

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