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Separability and AggregationThe Collected Works of W. M. Gorman, Volume I$
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W. M. Gorman, C. Blackorby, and A. F. Shorrocks

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198285212

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198285213.001.0001

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Muellbauer's Representative Consumer

Muellbauer's Representative Consumer

(p.405) 22 Muellbauer's Representative Consumer
Separability and Aggregation

W. M. Gorman (Contributor Webpage)

, C. Blackorby, A. F. Shorrocks
Oxford University Press

The following paper has been constructed from handwritten notes, probably dating from 1976, which contain only an introduction, the beginning of a proof, and a conclusion; the proof of the main result is missing, although a straightforward application of the main result of Sect. 2 of ’More measures for fixed factors’ (Ch. 21) fills this gap. The problem of the representative consumer is one posed and solved by Muellbauer (1976), but it had already been addressed by Gorman in 1953, when it was conceived of in either of two equivalent ways: either the representative consumer replicates average demand with average total income or it replicates total demand with total income. Muellbauer suggested looking for a representative consumer, the proportional breakdown of whose consumption mirrors that of society as a whole, and who replicates the shares demanded, but not necessarily the levels; furthermore, he permitted the utility level of the representative agent to depend upon prices, as well as upon the incomes of all members of the society. Gorman follows the general lines of Muellbauer's treatment, showing that the solution he gets is not quite the general one, and that this has misled him into believing that his central result is not a direct generalization of that in Gorman (1953). He also discusses the ideas of the ’representative consumer’ underlying the two analyses.

Keywords:   consumption, demand, Muellbauer, representative consumer, utility level

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