There is often something extra satisfying about obtaining or using more than one of a certain item, whether that item is a can of soda, a pair of jeans, or an airline ticket. The extra satisfaction is an economic term called marginal utility. There are several types of marginal utility, including zero, positive, negative, increasing, and diminishing marginal utility.
Diminishing Marginal Utility
- Consuming one candy bar may satisfy a person's sweet tooth. If a second candy bar is consumed, the satisfaction of eating that second bar will be less than the satisfaction gained from eating the first. If a third is eaten, the satisfaction will be even less.
- After holding your breath under water, coming up for air and taking that first breath feels wonderful. The second breath may bring satisfaction as well, but the satisfaction will decrease as more breaths are taken.
These examples illustrate the concept of marginal utility and show that one more may, or may not, be better.