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Indifference Curve

What is the Indifference Curve?

The satisfaction level of an individual cannot be in the quantitative value. Although people will, and do, recognize the preferences that will offer them greater, or little, or the equivalent degree of pleasure, the indifference curve displays individual variations of products that have the same degree of benefit or contentment.

For instance, Figure 1 illustrates three indifference curves that display Emma’s choice for the exchange she encounters in her two fundamental comfort projects: consuming donuts and reading books. Each indifference curve (Ul, Um, and Uh) depicts one amount of benefit. Initially, we analyze the significance of the actual indifference curve, and afterward, we observe the correlation among them

Emma will derive equivalent benefit from across all variations of books and donuts on a specified indifference curve. The highest indifference curve (Uh) has a higher advantage than the center curve (Um). Similarly, the center indifference curve (Um) has a higher benefit over UI.

Assumptions of Indifference Curve

The following are some assumptions of an indifference curve:

  1. The individual is reasonable/rational. It has comprehensive data on all related elements of the financial world where it resides.
  2.  The individual may define the combo of products based on the satisfaction they make. Even so, he cannot be quantitatively articulate how strongly he likes a sure thing above the other.
  3. If an individual favors option A against option B and option B against option C, he favors option A against option C.
  4. If a variation of X contains other assets versus a Y variation, so X is preferable over Y.

Indifference curves function through certain assumptions, for instance, generally, each indifference curve seems to be convex to the source, and no two indifference curves will ever intersect. People are almost always inclined to become most pleased whenever acquiring packages of products on indifference curves much further away from the source. When cash flow grows, individuals will usually change their spending levels to buy additional products with the effect whereby they will eventually wind up on an indifference curve that is farther distant from origin—thus best placed.

Most primary microeconomic theory concepts arise in the study of indifference curves, namely personal preferences, the theory of marginal utility, earnings, replacement results, and the idea of subjective value. Indifference curve investigation highlights marginal rates of substitution (MRS) and future expenses. Certain other economic factors and potential problems are viewed as static or overlooked until placed upon the indifference graph.

 Numerous economic frameworks rely on indifference curves to ensure that products’ ideal preference for every individual is made based on an individual’s earnings.  The traditional theory implies that the perfect demand package occurs at a phase where the individual’s indifference curve is tangent to the expenditure restriction. MRS (Marginal Rate of Substitution) is classified as the gradient of the indifference curve. MRS is the pace at which the individual does, inclining to abandon one benefit for others. In particular, an individual prefers strawberries. The individual will be reluctant to turn them away for bananas, and the gradient will demonstrate the substitution rate.

Characteristics of the Indifference Curve

The complete component of efficiency can be presented graphically via an indifference curve map, whereby many indifference curves correlate to various efficiency points. There are three distinct indifference curves in the graph, labeled A, B, and C. As long the source is concerned, the larger the benefit is induced across all the consumption packages upon the curve.

A product is referred to as standard products when the product possesses the four characteristics of indifference curves; they are referred to as the traditional products. These can be explained as the individual demands greater than one product to accommodate against reduced usage of the other product, and the individual faces a decreasing marginal rate of substitution while choosing among certain products

  1. Indifference curves never intersect. If they could cross, there will be a great deal of uncertainty regarding the real benefit.
  2. The farther down the Indifference curve falls, the further distant it is from the source, so the more significant the amount of benefit it shows. As seen above on the indifference curve graph, the further away from the original, the more efficient the person yields when consuming.
  3.  The indifference curves decline down. The only method that a person could maximize the usage of a product without benefit is to consume other products and produce a similar quantity of efficiency. Thus, the gradient is slanting down.
  4. Curves of indifference take a convex form. As seen in the above indifference curve graph, the curve appears flattered whenever you shift the turn to the right. It indicates how both entities undergo a reduced marginal utility, as each product’s increased intake induces a smaller value of efficiency versus the former one.

Assumptions of Consumer Preference Theory

Choices are now being made. The customer rates all accessible substitute combinations of products in aspects of their pleasure.

Suppose two amounts of consumption A and B, both comprising dual products; x and y, exists. The individual can specifically decide how one and just one among the preceding is the situation:

Option A is favored to option B, typically described as A p B;

Option B is favored to option A, typically described as B p A;

Option A is oblivious to option B, technically written as A I B.

This aphorism prohibits the idea that the individual could not determine. It implies that perhaps the individual can render the correlation about every possible package of products.

Choices are reflective;

It implies that if option A and option B are similar in all aspects; the customer would accept this fact and be indifferent to comparing option A and option B.

A = B to A I B

Choices are transitory

If you have A p B and B p C, so A p C.

If A I B and B I C, so A I C.

Above is the assumption of continuity.

Choices would be constant

When option A is superior to option B and option C is reasonably similar to option B, option A is select to option C.

A p B and C → B ⇒A p C.

“Continuous” implies endlessly divisible since there are infinite numbers within 1 and 2—all these packets are infinitely divisible;such assumption allows the curves of indifference to be continuous.

Choices show solemn monotony. If option A seems to have more x and y than option B, therefore option A is superior to option B.

This assumption is generally referred to as the “more is the better” assumption.

A substitute variant of this assumption implies that option A and option B possess the equivalent amount of one value, option A is more significant than that; therefore,option A is superior to option B.

So it signifies that products are beneficial instead of harmful. Examples of unpleasant consequences may be illness, emissions, etc., as such, we want fewer of those things.

Slope of Budget Line

Besides, the gradient of a budget line, deducted from the relative cost, reflects an economic value of usage. The value of a product is due to the restricted expense of the individual. The expenditure path is moved outwards, with the cost of products being proportionally affordable.

The individual’s options are restricted by the accessible money Overall budget on products and service lack, although may not surpass, the budget restrictions

Mathematically, the budgetary restrictions for two products X and Y, can be written as:

P X Q X + P Y Q Y ≤B

Here PX and PY are the values of products X and Y and QX and QY, selecting the amounts of products of X and Y. The overall income accessible for the two products is B, the budge of the consumer.

Slope of Indifference Curve

At any point, the gradient of the current indifference position is the negative marginal value of product A as a portion of product B’s marginal value. It means that the optimum utilization package – the average substation rate amongst products A and B – seems to be the cost combination.

Criticism on indifference curve

Curves of indifference, among many conceptual economics elements, are being questioned for overstating or creating misleading assumptions regarding humankind. One notable critique would be that indifference is narratively inconsistent with economic activity, and each conduct inherently reflects choice, not indifference. Alternatively, there would be no intervention.Numerous critics assert that this is hypothetically feasible even to have concave indifference curves or circular curves that are either convex or concave at different origin points. Consumption patterns may also vary among two various time positions yielding particular indifference curves virtually worthless.


Efficiency remains constant across all points on the line on the indifference curve referred to as a contour line. Following are the four characteristics of indifference curves:

  1. Indifference curves can never cross.
  2. The farther out an indifference curve exists, the higher the efficiency it indicates.
  3. Indifference curves are convex.
  4. Curves of indifferences always inclined downwards.

The optimum consumption package is the tangential state between both the indifference curve and the budgetary axis.