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Question 1 (Strong and Weak Monotonicity) Here are some questions which may help you
sort out the difference between strong and weak monotonicity
- Give an example of preferences which are weakly monotonic but not strictly monotonic
- Show that, if preferences are strictly monotonic, they must be weakly monotonic
- We said in class that if preferences are strictly monotonic then it will be optimal for the consumer to consume all their income (i.e. be on the budget line). Is this still true if preferences are weakly monotonic?
Data on GDP and Prices
There are three major statistical agencies of the US government: the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Census Bureau. This question is designed to help familiarize you with some of these data sources.
- Go to the BEA website (www.bea.gov), and click the following links: “Gross Domestic Product”, “Interactive Tables: GDP and the National Income and Product Account (NIPA) Historical Tables”, and “Begin using the data…”. Take a moment to examine the data that are available through this page. Look at table 1.1.1 (“Percent Change from Preceding Period in Real Gross Domestic Product”). Plot the quarterly GDP growth data. In which quarters since 2007 did the US experience a decline in Real GDP?
- Recessions are sometimes characterized as periods in which real GDP declines in two or more consecutive quarters. Using this definition, identify the recessions since 1960.
- Go to the BLS website (www.bls.gov), and click “Subjects”. Take a moment to look at the data available from this page. Click “Consumer Price Indexes (CPI)”, and under “CPI databases”, click the “Top Picks” for “All Urban Consumers”.
- Plot the aggregate CPI for the entire US, New York and the South starting from the base year in 1983. Are there any regional differences in the evolution of prices?
- Plot the aggregate CPI, the CPI for housing, the CPI for Apparel and the CPI for Medial Care starting from the base year in 1983. Are relative prices constant or did some goods and services become systematically more expensive than others? Can you think of a reason for this pattern? Why does the line for Apparels look more erratic than the others?
 Remember this is not the official definition for the US, but it is in many countries.
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