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Quantity Demanded vs. Demand + Choc-Oat-Chip Bars

If you’ve taught economics, you know that two of the most mixed up terms are demand and quantity demanded. The problem is that in everyday language, we use demand loosely. But when in an Econ class, it is important to distinguish between the two. I’ve been making these choc-oat-chip bars forever. Unfortunately, I’m not sure where they came from - maybe the Quaker Oats container itself? I love oatmeal cookies, and I love chocolate chip cookies. These are unlike either, but still really delicious. They are best baked in a 9x13 pan. Depending on how large you slice them, you get between 12 and 16 bars.

How in the world do those last two paragraphs go together? A demand curve represents the collection of quantities desired at every price. Quantity demanded refers to a particular amount at a particular price. On a single demand curve, as price falls, the quantity demanded rises. As price increases, the quantity demanded falls. The key point being that a price change causes movement along a demand curve, it does not cause the whole curve to move. In this example, the batch of choc-oat-chip bars represents the demand curve. It is a bundle (or a bunch) of different bars. The bars make up the batch. Just as the quantities demanded at each price make up the demand. Cutting up the batch into different quantities doesn’t fundamentally change what you baked. For demand to change - or shift, something besides price has to change. Maybe it’s prices of other goods, the number of people in a population, income, etc. When those change, it moves the entire curve. At each price, quantity demanded will be different. For the choc-oat-chip bars, changing them in some way (besides the size of the pieces you cut) would cause the batch to change. Maybe you take the chocolate out (which I don’t recommend). Or you add cinnamon (yum). Or you substitute margarine for butter (how I grew up making them). The whole thing is different. Each bar is different. That’s it! Hopefully this provides a way to remind your students the difference between demand and quantity demanded.

Choc-Oat-Chip Bars

Pre-heat oven to 375

Beat together:

1 cup margarine

1 ¼ cup brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar


2 eggs

2 Tbsp. milk

2 tsp. vanilla


1 ¾ cup flour

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

Stir in:

2 ½ cup Quick Oats

2 cups chocolate chips

press into a greased 9x13 in. pan

Bake at 375 for 30-35 min

(I prefer to make them in the bar form)

For ways to change the bars: replace 1/2 the chocolate chips with caramel or butterscotch chips. Add a tsp. of cinnamon.


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