Labor Supply and Consumption of Food in a Closed Economy Under a Range of Fixed- and Random-Ratio Schedules: Tests of Unit Price
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
The behavioral economic concept of unit price predicts that consumption and response output (labor supply) are determined by the unit price at which a good is available regardless of the value of the cost and benefit components of the unit price ratio. Experiment 1 assessed 4 pigeons' consumption and response output at a range of unit prices. In one condition, food was available according to a range of fixed-ratio schedules, whereas in the other condition, food was available according to a range of random-ratio schedules. Consistent with unit price predictions, consumption and response output were approximately equivalent across schedule types within the lower range of unit prices. However, at Unit Prices 64 (ratio value = 192) and greater, considerably more consumption and response output were observed in the random-ratio condition. Experiment 2 replicated these findings with 4 pigeons using the rapid demand curve assay procedure that is commonly used in the behavioral economics literature. Findings are integrated with two mathematical models of behavior under variable reinforcer delays.
Madden, G. J., Dake, J. M., Mauel, E. C., & **Rowe, R. R. (2005). Labor supply and consumption of food in a closed economy under a range of fixed- and random-ratio schedules: Tests of unit price. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 83, 99-118.