Gimme Interaction!
Utility Maximization in a Nutshell


November 2003

Sanjay Paul
Associate Professor of Economics
119 Nicarry Hall
Elizabethtown College
Elizabethtown, PA 17022
tel: (717) 361-1543
email: pauls@etown.edu


Description
We have developed three interactive online exercise sets designed to complement the treatment of utility maximization in principles textbooks. These exercises require students to select values for parameters, draw budget constraints and indifference curves, solve equations, and obtain optimal consumption levels. Furthermore, students are required to change parameter values and conduct comparative-statics exercises. These exercises are designed to enhance the students' grasp of basic concepts in utility theory, their ability to perform arithmetic calculations, and engage in economic reasoning.

Exercise 1: Budget Constraint
Exercise 2: Indifference Curves
Exercise 3: Utility Maximization

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Prepared for the Midwest Conference on Student Learning in Economics: Innovation, Assessment and Classroom Research, Akron, Ohio, November 7, 2003.