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Costs of production. Outline The economic concept of cost and profit Fixed and sunk cost Profit maximization with limited capacity The cost of production Long run cost Economies of scale Economies of scope The learning curve Cost analysis and optimal decisions. Opportunity cost.

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costs of production
Costs of production
  • Outline
  • The economic concept of cost and profit
  • Fixed and sunk cost
  • Profit maximization with limited capacity
  • The cost of production
  • Long run cost
  • Economies of scale
  • Economies of scope
  • The learning curve
  • Cost analysis and optimal decisions
opportunity cost
Opportunity cost

What is the true cost of pursuing a MBA degree?

  • Economists would count the following as a part of cost:
  • Explicit, out-of-pocket costs such as tuition, books, and fees
  • Implicit, or opportunity, cost, --i.e., the income (or utility) lost by not pursuing your next best alternative, such as a fulltime job.
slide3

Entrepreneurs have opportunity costs as well. For example , if I put my energy and talent into the restaurant business, I am giving up profits I could earn somewhere else.

normal profit
Normal profit

A normal profit is the minimum profit sufficient to compensate entrepreneurs for profits lost by not pursuing their next best business opportunity

Economists treat a normal profit as an implicit cost—that is, the cost of attracting entrepreneurship.

accounting profit
Accounting Profit

We accountants would subtract explicit, or accounting cost, from revenues to compute profit.

Accounting  = Revenues – Explicit (Accounting) Cost

economic profit
Economic Profit

Economists would subtract economic cost (including a normal profit) from revenues to compute an economic profit

Economic  = Revenues – (Explicit + Implicit Cost)

fixed and sunk costs
Fixed and Sunk Costs
  • Fixed costs (FC) are elements of cost that do not vary with the level of output.Examples: Interest payments on bonded indebtedness, fire insurance premiums, salaries and benefits of managerial staff.
  • Sunk costs are costs already incurred and hence non-recoverable.Examples: Research & development costs, advertising costs, cost of specialized equipment.
maximization with limited capacity ordering a best seller
-maximization with limited capacity: Ordering a best seller

Consider a bookseller with a limited amount of shelf space. How many copies of a best seller should be ordered?

Suppose the bookseller’s estimated (inverse) demand equation is given by:

P = 24 – Q,

where P is dollars and Q is quantity in hundreds of copies per month.

The cost to the bookseller is $12 per copy.

3 questions
3 questions
  • How many copies of the bestseller should the merchant order, and what price should she charge, assuming there is unlimited shelf space to stock the bestseller?
  • Now suppose shelf space is limited, so that carrying the bestseller means “crowding out” other books? Assuming the average profit on books already shelved is $4, what is the optimal price and quantity of the bestseller?
  • What if actual demand is less than estimated demand, say:P = 18 – 2Q. The publisher is obligated to refund returned copies for $6 each. How many copies should be returned (if any), and how many should be sold and at what price?
problem 2
Problem 2

The key to 2nd problem is in understanding that the $4 in profit lost for stocking each unit of the bestseller is an implicit cost

Hence marginal cost is given by:

MC = $12 + $4 = $16

problem 3
Problem 3

To solve problem 3 you need to recognize 2 things: (1) Since the books have already been ordered, the $12 price is a sunk cost; and (2) the $6 return charge is an implicit cost of stocking the bestseller

Thus marginal cost is given by:

MC = $4 + $6 = $10

figure 7 1
Figure 7.1

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definitions
Definitions
  • Variable cost (VC) is the sum of the firm’s expenditure for variable inputs such as hourly employees, raw materials or semi-finished articles, or utilities.
  • Average total cost (SAC) is total cost divided by the quantity of output.
  • Average variable cost (AVC) is variable cost divided by the quantity of output.
  • Marginal cost (SMC) is the addition to total cost attributable to the last unit produced
figure 7 2
Figure 7.2

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relationship between average and marginal
Relationship between Average and Marginal
  • When average cost is falling, marginal cost lies everywhere below average cost.
  • When average cost is rising, marginal cost lies everywhere above average cost.
  • When average cost is at its minimum, marginal cost cost is equal to average cost.

If your most recent (marginal) grades are higher than your GPA at the start of the term, your GPA will rise

what explains rising short run marginal cost
What explains rising (short-run) marginal cost?

If labor is the only variable input then marginal cost can be expressed by:

[7.1]

Recall that the marginal product of labor will begin to fall at some point due to the law of diminishing returns.

behavior of average fixed cost
Behavior of Average Fixed Cost

As output increases, fixed cost can be spread more thinly

production costs is the long run
Production costs is the long run
  • In the long run there are no fixed inputs; hence all costs are “variable.”
  • The long run average cost curve shows the minimum average cost achievable at each level of output in the long run—that is, when all inputs are variable.
constant returns to scale

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Constant Returns to Scale

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the u shaped long run average cost function
The U-Shaped Long Run Average Cost Function

Decreasing returns

Increasing returns

slide24

Notice on the previous slide that up to a scale of QMIN, the firm experiences decreasing (long run) unit cost. Economies of scale are exhausted at the point

minimum efficient scale q mes
Minimum Efficient Scale (QMES)

QMES is the minimum scale of operation at which long unit production costs can be minimized.

q mes is large relative to he size of the market
QMES is large relative to he “size of the market.”

To produce on an efficient scale, you must supply 50% of the product demanded at a price equal to minimum unit cost

Demand

Cost per unit

LAC

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how large do you have to be to minimize unit costs 1
How large do you have to be to minimize unit costs?1
  • Not very large (as a percent of U.S. consumption) : Bricks, flour milling, machine tools, cement, glass containers, cigarettes, shoes, bread baking.
  • Fairly large (as a percent of U.S. consumption): Synthetic fibers, passenger cars, household refrigerators and freezers, commercial aircraft.
  • Very large (as a percent of U.S. consumption): Turbine generators, diesel engines, electric motors, mainframe computers.

1F.M. Scherer and D. Ross. Industrial Market Structure and Performance, 3rd edition, 1990, pp. 115-116.

figure 7 5c
Figure 7.5c

Local telephone service, electricity distribution, and cable TV distribution are well represented by this cost function.