Returns to scale - Wikipedia
Cost–benefit analysis · Deadweight loss · Distribution · Economies of scale · Economies of scope · Elasticity · Equilibrium · General. In economics, a cost curve is a graph of the costs of production as a function of total quantity produced. In a free market economy, productively efficient firms use these curves to find A perfectly competitive and productively efficient firm organizes its factors of production in such a way that the factors of production is at the. Review Sheet for the Third Midterm of Economics (Prof. Kelly) Shapes of the various cost curves. Relationship between Short-run and Long-run Average Total Cost. then the firm is said to experience constant returns to scale (and constant costs). MC and ATC are similar to those for perfectly competitive firms;. c.
Thus marginal cost initially falls, reaches a minimum value and then increases. When the marginal cost curve is above an average cost curve the average curve is rising. When the marginal costs curve is below an average curve the average curve is falling. This relation holds regardless of whether the marginal curve is rising or falling. Stated otherwise, LRMC is the minimum increase in total cost associated with an increase of one unit of output when all inputs are variable.
The long-run marginal cost curve tends to be flatter than its short-run counterpart due to increased input flexibility as to cost minimization. The long-run marginal cost curve intersects the long-run average cost curve at the minimum point of the latter. Long-run marginal cost equals short run marginal-cost at the least-long-run-average-cost level of production.
Graphing cost curves together[ edit ] Cost curves in perfect competition compared to marginal revenue Cost curves can be combined to provide information about firms. In this diagram for example, firms are assumed to be in a perfectly competitive market. In a perfectly competitive market the price that firms are faced with would be the price at which the marginal cost curve cuts the average cost curve. Cost curves and production functions[ edit ] Assuming that factor prices are constant, the production function determines all cost functions.
Cost curve - Wikipedia
In this case, with perfect competition in the output market the long-run market equilibrium will involve all firms operating at the minimum point of their long-run average cost curves i. If, however, the firm is not a perfect competitor in the input markets, then the above conclusions are modified. For example, if there are increasing returns to scale in some range of output levels, but the firm is so big in one or more input markets that increasing its purchases of an input drives up the input's per-unit cost, then the firm could have diseconomies of scale in that range of output levels.
Conversely, if the firm is able to get bulk discounts of an input, then it could have economies of scale in some range of output levels even if it has decreasing returns in production in that output range.
If MC equals average total cost, then average total cost is at its minimum value.
If MC equals average variable cost, then average variable cost is at its minimum value. Relationship between short run and long run cost curves[ edit ] Basic: In other words, output per unit of labor input increases as the scale of production rises, hence increasing returns to scale. Another way to characterize economies of scale is with a decreasing average cost curve. When average costs decline as output increases, it means that it becomes cheaper to produce the average unit as the scale of production rises, hence resulting in economies of scale.
Economies of scale are most likely to be found in industries with large fixed costs in production. Fixed costs are those costs that must be incurred even if production were to drop to zero.
Returns to scale
For example, fixed costs arise when large amounts of capital equipment must be put into place even if only one unit is to be produced and if the costs of this equipment must still be paid even with zero output. In this case, the larger the output, the more the costs of this equipment can be spread out among more units of the good. Large fixed costs and hence economies of scale are prevalent in highly capital-intensive industries such as chemicals, petroleum, steel, automobiles, and so on.
Economies of Scale and Perfect Competition It is worth noting that the assumption of economies of scale in production can represent a deviation from the assumption of perfectly competitive markets. In most perfectly competitive models, it is assumed that production takes place with constant returns to scale i.
This means that the unit cost of production remains constant as the scale of production increases. When that assumption is changed, it can open up the possibility of positive profits and strategic behavior among firms. Because there are numerous ways to conceive of strategic interactions between firms, there are also numerous models and results that could be obtained.
To avoid some of these problems, a number of models have been developed that retain some of the key features of perfect competition while allowing for the presence of economies of scale as well. Key Takeaways Economies of scale refers to the feature of many production processes in which the per-unit cost of producing a product falls as the scale of production rises. Increasing returns to scale refers to the feature of many production processes in which productivity per unit of labor rises as the scale of production rises.
The introduction of economies of scale in production in a model is a deviation from perfect competition when positive economic profits are allowed to prevail.