# Microeconomics: Principles, Applications, and Tools

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1 Microeconomics: Principles, Applications, and Tools NINTH EDITION Chapter 8 Production Technology and Cost

2 Learning Objectives 8.1 Define economic cost and economic profit. 8.2 Draw the short-run marginal-cost and average-cost curves. 8.3 Draw the long-run marginal-cost and average cost curves. 8.4 Provide examples of production costs.

3 8.1 ECONOMIC COST AND ECONOMIC PROFIT Economic cost The opportunity cost of the inputs used in the production process; equal to explicit cost plus implicit cost. Economic profit Total revenue minus economic cost. Economic profit = total revenue economic cost PRINCIPLE OF OPPORTUNITY COST The opportunity cost of something is what you sacrifice to get it.

4 8.1 ECONOMIC COST AND ECONOMIC PROFIT TABLE 8.1 Economic Cost versus Accounting Cost Economic Cost Accounting Cost Explicit: monetary payments for labour, capital, materials \$10,000 \$10,000 Implicit: opportunity cost of entrepreneur s time 5,000 - Implicit: opportunity cost of funds 2,000 - Total 17,000 10,000 Explicit cost A monetary payment. Implicit cost An opportunity cost that does not involve a monetary payment.

5 APPLICATION ECONOMIC COST AND ECONOMIC PROFIT OPPORTUNITY COST AND ENTREPENEURSHIP APPLYING THE CONCEPTS #1: What is the opportunity cost of an entrepreneur? For many workers, participating in the sharing economy as a driver for Uber or Lyft, is an attractive way to earn an income. The cost of driving for Uber includes the opportunity cost of time diverted from working at a regular job. If a regular job pays \$3,000 per month, that s only part of the opportunity cost. In addition, many regular jobs have benefits uch as paid sick leave, vacation days an subsidized health insurance. Driving for Uber does not provide these benefits. A worker who switches from a regular job to Uber will sacrifice more than the \$3,000 salary.

6 8.1 ECONOMIC COST AND ECONOMIC PROFIT Economic cost = explicit cost + implicit cost Accounting cost = explicit cost Accounting cost The explicit costs of production. Accounting profit Total revenue minus accounting cost. Accounting profit = total revenue accounting cost

7 8.2 A FIRM WITH A FIXED PRODUCTION FACILITY: SHORT-RUN COSTS Production and Marginal Product Marginal product of labor The change in output from one additional unit of labor. Diminishing returns As one input increases while the other inputs are held fixed, output increases at a decreasing rate. PRINCIPLE OF DIMINISHING RETURNS Suppose output is produced with two or more inputs, and we increase one input while holding the other input or inputs fixed. Beyond some point called the point of diminishing returns output will increase at a decreasing rate.

8 8.2 A FIRM WITH A FIXED PRODUCTION FACILITY: SHORT-RUN COSTS Production and Marginal Product Total-product curve A curve showing the relationship between the quantity of labor and the quantity of output produced, ceteris paribus.

9 8.2 A FIRM WITH A FIXED PRODUCTION FACILITY: SHORT-RUN COSTS Production and Marginal Product The total-product curve shows the relationship between the quantity of labor and the quantity of output, given a fixed production facility. Labor Quantity of Output Produced Marginal Product of Labor For the first two workers, output increases at an increasing rate because of labor specialization. Diminishing returns occurs for three or more workers, so output increases at a decreasing rate.

10 8.2 A FIRM WITH A FIXED PRODUCTION FACILITY: SHORT-RUN COSTS Short-Run Total Cost Fixed cost (FC) Cost that does not vary with the quantity produced. Variable cost (VC) Cost that varies with the quantity produced. Short-run total cost (TC) The total cost of production when at least one input is fixed; equal to fixed cost plus variable cost.

11 8.2 A FIRM WITH A FIXED PRODUCTION FACILITY: SHORT-RUN COSTS Short-Run Total Cost TABLE 8.2 Short Run Costs 1 Labour 2 Output 3 Fixed Cost (FC) 4 Variable Cost (VC) 5 Total Cost (TC) 6 Average Fixed Cost (AFC) 7 Average Variable Cost (AVC) 8 Average Total Cost (ATC) 9 Marginal Cost (MC) 0 0 \$100 \$ 0 \$ \$ \$ \$ \$ \$ The short-run total-cost curve shows the relationship between the quantity of output and production costs, given a fixed production facility. Short-run total cost equals fixed cost (the cost that does not vary with the quantity produced) plus variable cost (the cost that varies with the quantity produced).

12 8.2 A FIRM WITH A FIXED PRODUCTION FACILITY: SHORT-RUN COSTS Short-Run Average Costs Average fixed cost (AFC) Fixed cost divided by the quantity produced.

13 8.2 A FIRM WITH A FIXED PRODUCTION FACILITY: SHORT-RUN COSTS Short-Run Average Costs The short-run average-total-cost curve (ATC) is U-shaped. As the quantity produced increases, fixed costs are spread over more and more units, pushing down the average total cost. In contrast, as the quantity increases, diminishing returns eventually pulls up the average total cost. The gap between ATC and AVC is the average fixed cost (AFC).

14 8.2 A FIRM WITH A FIXED PRODUCTION FACILITY: SHORT-RUN COSTS Short-Run Average Costs Short-run average total cost (ATC) Short-run total cost divided by the quantity produced; equal to AFC plus AVC.

15 8.2 A FIRM WITH A FIXED PRODUCTION FACILITY: SHORT-RUN COSTS Short-Run Marginal Cost Short-run marginal cost (MC) The change in short-run total cost resulting from a one-unit increase in output.

16 8.2 A FIRM WITH A FIXED PRODUCTION FACILITY: SHORT-RUN COSTS The Relationship between Marginal Cost and Average Cost The marginal-cost curve (MC) is negatively sloped for small quantities of output, because of the benefits of labor specialization, and positively sloped for large quantities, because of diminishing returns. The MC curve intersects the averagecost curve (ATC) at the minimum point of the average curve. At this point ATC is neither falling nor rising.

17 APPLICATION 2 THE RISING MARGINAL COST OF CRUDE OIL APPLYING THE CONCEPTS #2: Why is the marginal-cost curve positively sloped? For the first 40 million barrels per day, the marginal cost is less than \$10 per barrel. The marginal cost increases to roughly \$20 per barrel for 65 million barrels per day. The marginal cost increase rapidly to roughly \$80 per barrel for 75 million barrels per day, the quantity produced in early The marginal cost curve reflects variation in the cost of extracting oil from different sources. The marginal cost is relatively low for nations in the Middle East and Russia. It is in the intermediate range for the North Sea, oil sands in Canada and offshore in the U.S. The marginal cost is high for oil from the Arctic, biodiesel, and ethanol.

18 8.3 PRODUCTION AND COST IN THE LONG RUN Expansion and Replication Long-run total cost (LTC) The total cost of production when a firm is perfectly flexible in choosing its inputs. Long-run average cost (LAC) The long-run cost divided by the quantity produced.

19 8.3 PRODUCTION AND COST IN THE LONG RUN Expansion and Replication Constant returns to scale A situation in which the long-run total cost increases proportionately with output, so average cost is constant. Long-run marginal cost (LMC) The change in long-run cost resulting from a one-unit increase in output.

20 8.3 PRODUCTION AND COST IN THE LONG RUN Expansion and Replication The long-run average-cost curve (LAC) is negatively sloped for up to 10 paddles per day, a result of indivisible inputs and the effects of labor specialization. If the firm replicates the operation that produces 10 paddles per day, the long run average-cost curve will be horizontal beyond 10 paddles per day. Labor 1 Capital 2 Output 3 Labor Cost 4 Long-Run Total Cost (LTC) 5 Long-Run Average Cost (LAC) 1 \$100 1 \$ 50 \$150 \$

21 8.3 PRODUCTION AND COST IN THE LONG RUN Reducing Output with Indivisible Inputs Indivisible input An input that cannot be scaled down to produce a smaller quantity of output.

22 8.3 PRODUCTION AND COST IN THE LONG RUN Scaling Down and Labor Specialization Labor specialization makes workers more productive because of continuity and repetition. When we reduce the workforce each worker will become less specialized, performing a wider variety of production tasks. The loss of specialization will decrease labor productivity, leading to higher average cost.

23 8.3 PRODUCTION AND COST IN THE LONG RUN Economies of Scale Economies of scale A situation in which the long-run average cost of production decreases as output increases. Minimum efficient scale The output at which scale economies are exhausted.

24 8.3 PRODUCTION AND COST IN THE LONG RUN Diseconomies of Scale Diseconomies of scale A situation in which the long-run average cost of production increases as output increases.

25 FIGURE 8.6 Actual Long-Run Average-Cost Curves for Aluminum, Truck Freight, and Hospital Services

26 8.3 PRODUCTION AND COST IN THE LONG RUN Short-Run versus Long-Run Average Cost The difference between the short run and long run is a firm s flexibility in choosing inputs.

27 APPLICATION 3 Indivisible Inputs and the Cost of Fake Killer Whales APPLYING THE CONCEPTS #3: How do indivisible inputs affect production costs? Sea lions off the Washington coast eat steelhead and other fish, depleting some species threatened with extinction and decreasing the harvest of the commercial fishing industry. Rick Funk is a plastics manufacturer who has offered to build a life-sized fiberglass killer whale, mount it on a rail like a roller coaster, and send the whale diving through the water to scare off the sea lions, whales natural prey. According to Funk, it would cost about \$16,000 to make the first whale, including \$11,000 for the mold and \$5,000 for labor and materials. Once the mold is made, each additional whale would cost an additional \$5,000. In other words, the cost of producing the first fake killer whale is more than three times the cost of producing the second.

28 Examples of Production Cost Scale Economies in Wind Power There are scale economies in the production of electricity from wind because electricity can be generated from turbines of different sizes. Although large wind turbines are more costly than small ones, the higher cost is more than offset by greater generating capacity. The scale economies occur because the cost of purchasing, installing, and maintaining a wind turbine increases less than proportionately with the turbine s generating capacity. TABLE 8.4 Wind Turbines and the Average Cost of Electricity Small Turbine (150 kilowatt) Large Turbine (600 kilowatt) Purchase price of turbine \$150,000 \$420,000 Installation cost \$100,000 \$100,000 Operating and maintenance cost \$75,000 \$126,000 Total Cost \$325,000 \$646,000 Electricity generated (kilowatt-hours) 5 million 20 million Average cost (per kilowatt-hour) \$0.065 \$0.032 SOURCE: Based on Danish Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association, Guided Tour of Wind Energy (2003), (accessed June 27, 2006).

29 The Average Cost of a Music Video For an information good such as a music video, the cost of producing the first copy is very high, but the marginal cost of reproduction is relatively low, and for products distributed online, the marginal cost is zero.

30 Solar versus Nuclear: The Crossover In 1998, the cost of electricity produced with solar technology was \$0.32 per kilowatt-hour (Kwh), compared to \$0.07 per Kwh for electricity produced with nuclear technology. Recent innovations have reduced the unit cost of solar power, to \$0.21 per Kwh in 2005 and to \$0.16 per Kwh in Over that same period, the unit cost of nuclear power increased. The projected unit cost of electricity is about \$0.16 per Kwh. In other words, the cost gap between solar and nuclear power has been eliminated.

31 Summary TABLE 8.5 The Language and Mathematics of Costs Type of Cost Definition Symbols and Equations Economic cost The opportunity cost of the inputs used in the production process; equal to explicit cost implicit cost - Explicit cost The actual monetary payment for inputs - Implicit cost The opportunity cost of inputs that do not involve a monetary payment - Accounting cost Short-Run Costs Explicit cost - Fixed cost Cost that does not vary with the quantity produced FC Variable cost Cost that varies with the quantity produced VC Short-run total cost Short-run marginal cost The total cost of production when at least one input is fixed TC = FC + VC MC = TC/ Q Average fixed cost Fixed cost divided by the quantity produced AFC = FC/Q Average variable cost Variable cost divided by the quantity produced AVC = VC/Q Short-run average total cost Long-Run Costs Long-run total cost Short-run total cost divided by the quantity produced The total cost of production when a firm is perfectly flexible in choosing its inputs ATC = AFC + AVC LTC Long-run average cost Long-run total cost divided by the quantity produced LAC = LTC/Q Long-run marginal cost The change in long-run cost resulting from a one-unit increase in output LMC = LTC/ Q

32 Learning Objectives 8.1 Define economic cost and economic profit. 8.2 Draw the short-run marginal-cost and average-cost curves. 8.3 Draw the long-run marginal-cost and average cost curves. 8.4 Provide examples of production costs.

33 KEY TERMS Accounting cost Accounting profit Average fixed cost (AFC) Average variable cost (AVC) Constant returns to scale Diminishing returns Diseconomies of scale Economic cost Economic profit Economies of scale Explicit cost Fixed cost (FC) Implicit cost Indivisible input Long-run average cost (LAC) Long-run marginal cost (LMC) Long-run total cost (LTC) Marginal product of labor Minimum efficient scale Short-run average total cost (ATC) Short-run marginal cost (MC) Short-run total cost (TC) Total-product curve Variable cost (VC)

34 Questions?

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