1. In recent years, firms seeking to simplify the process of selling their products to busy customers have been turning to online apps, or Web-based application programs. One increasingly useful type of app for many small businesses is the quick-response (QR) app. Middlemen companies, such as Kaywa AT and Scanbuy, Inc, offer these apps.
The apps enable sellers to create codes they can place on poster ads. Consumers can scan the ads with their smartphones to place orders for the firm’s products. For instance, an individual who is about to board a commuter train can use a smartphone to scan a code from the ad of a coffee shop near the train’s destination. The code enables the smartphone to acquire the QR app, which in turn displays the coffee shop’s menu, from which the individual can choose items to purchase remotely. The individual can then pick up those items at the coffee shop upon arrival—hence completing a mobile purchase made possible by a middlemen company that offers the QR app linking the individual to the coffee shop.
Why do you suppose that firms such as coffee shops are willing to pay fees to middlemen for ad codes to be used with QR apps?
2. For several years now, U.S. airlines have charged coach passengers to transport bags as separate cargo. This practice has induced many passengers to pack more items into carry-on bags that they stuff under seats or into overhead compartments.
American Airlines has been assigning coach boarding-group numbers randomly, rather than by groups of rows starting with the rear of the plane and ending with the front coach rows. Under the latter boarding method, many people with seats at the rear of a plane tend to place their carry-on bags in compartments near the front of the plane. Then people arriving in the front at the end of the boarding process spend time scrambling to find places to stow their carry-on. In contrast, under a randomized boarding process that ignores row locations, coach passengers are more likely to stow their bags near their seats. This mode of passenger behavior speeds the overall boarding process by several minutes, thereby ensuring that more flights depart on time.
Suppose the airline has established a system of boarding fees in which passengers wishing to be among the first to board a plane pay the highest fees. Would such a system likely reduce or lengthen boarding times? Why?
3. In recent years, the government of Pakistan has established a support price for wheat of about $0.20 per kilogram of wheat. At this price, consumers are willing to purchase 10 billion kilograms of wheat per year, while Pakistani farmers are willing to grow and harvest 18 billion kilograms of wheat per year. The government purchases and stores all surplus wheat.
a. What are annual consumer expenditures on the Pakistani wheat crop?
b. What are annual government expenditures on the Pakistani wheat crop?
c. How much, in total, do Pakistani wheat farmers receive for the wheat they produce?
d. Suppose that the market clearing price of Pakistani wheat in the absence of price supports is equal to $0.10 per kilogram. At this price, the quantity of wheat demanded is 12 billion kilograms. Under the government wheat price-support program, how much more is spent each year on wheat harvested in Pakistan than otherwise would have been spent in an unregulated market for Pakistani wheat?