microeconomics opportunity costs


In this Assignment, you will demonstrate your understanding of certain economic principles that underlie virtually all decisions that people make. Specifically, the concept of Opportunity Costs by selecting the correct underlying principle and explaining in a series of logical steps which would likely produce the results described.

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1. Howard needs to buy a laptop computer to start online university courses. The price at the local computer store is $650. The identical computer is available at one online site for $605 and another site, for $622. All prices include the appropriate sales tax. The accompanying table indicates the typical shipping and handling charges for the computer ordered online.

Shipping method

Delivery time


Standard shipping

3–7 days


Second–day air

2 business days


Next–day air

1 business day


a. Define “opportunity cost” in economic terms.

b. In this situation, what are the opportunity costs of Howard choosing to buy online instead of at the local computer store? Note that if you buy the computer online, you must wait to get it.

c. Show all of the relevant choices for Howard.

d. What determines which of these choices Howard will choose?

2. During the improving economic conditions of 2015 and early 2016 much additional construction of homes and condos throughout much of the U.S. took place. This provided a significant increase in the income of workers in the construction trades.Many of the construction workers were immigrants and have family and relatives in other countries. Often these workers would send part of their income to their less fortunate relatives in their old country, especially in Mexico and some of the South American countries.

a. Which of the economic principles best describes this situation?

b. Using the principle you have selected, describe the chain of events that best explains how increased spending for U.S. home and condo construction is likely to affect the performance of the economies of these South American countries.

3. From June 2008 oil was at a high of $144.78 per barrel. During the period from April 2011 until July of 2014, the price of oil hovered between about $115.32 per barrel and about $105.22 a barrel. Then, starting in August 2014 oil began a precipitous fall in price from the $105.22 to $33.62 a barrel in January 2016. Although the U.S. has great amounts of oil that can be brought out of the ground by “fracking,” by the beginning of 2016 many of the workers in the U.S. oil exploration and drilling industry were out of work and tremendous amounts of oil exploration equipment was sitting in the equivalent of “used car lots” to be sold.

a. Which of the economic principles best describes this situation?

b. Using the principle you have selected, describe the chain of links that best explains how the falling international oil prices caused U. S. workers to be laid off and available U.S. oil to be left in the ground.

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