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In this example, a small or medium plant, like S or M, will not be able to compete in the market with a large or a very large plant like L or V, because the firm that operates L or V will be able to produce and sell their output at a lower price. In this example, economies of scale operate up to point L, but beyond point L to V, the additional scale of production does not continue to reduce average costs of production.

Economies of scale

The graph shows declining average costs. The x-axis plots the quantity of production or the scale of the plant and the y-axis plots the average costs. The average cost curve is a declining function, starting at (30, 30) with plant S, declining at a decreasing rate to (150, 10) with plant L, and (200, 10) with plant V, as explained in the text.
Production Plant S, has an average cost of production of $30 per toaster oven. Production plant M has an average cost of production of $20 per toaster oven. Production plant L has an average cost of production of only $10 per toaster oven. Production plant V would still have an average cost of production of $10 per toaster oven. Thus, production plant M can produce toaster ovens more cheaply than plant S because of economies of scale, and plants L or V can produce more cheaply than S or M because of economies of scale. However, the economies of scale end at an output level of 150. Plant V, despite being larger, cannot produce more cheaply on average than plant L.

The concept of economies of scale becomes especially relevant to international trade when it enables one or two large producers to supply the entire country. For example, a single large automobile factory could probably supply all the cars purchased in a smaller economy like the United Kingdom or Belgium in a given year. However, if a country has only one or two large factories producing cars, and no international trade , then consumers in that country would have relatively little choice between kinds of cars (other than the color of the paint and other nonessential options). Little or no competition will exist between different car manufacturers.

International trade provides a way to combine the lower average production costs that come from economies of scale and still have competition and variety for consumers. Large automobile factories in different countries can make and sell their products around the world. If the U.S. automobile market was made up of only General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, the level of competition and consumer choice would be quite a lot lower than when U.S. carmakers must face competition from Toyota, Honda, Suzuki, Fiat, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Volkswagen, Kia, Hyundai, BMW, Subaru, and others. Greater competition brings with it innovation and responsiveness to what consumers want. America’s car producers make far better cars now than they did several decades ago, and much of the reason is competitive pressure, especially from East Asian and European carmakers.

Dynamic comparative advantage

The sources of gains from intra-industry trade between similar economies—namely, the learning that comes from a high degree of specialization and splitting up the value chain and from economies of scale—do not contradict the earlier theory of comparative advantage. Instead, they help to broaden the concept.

In intra-industry trade, the level of worker productivity is not determined by climate or geography. It is not even determined by the general level of education or skill. Instead, the level of worker productivity is determined by how firms engage in specific learning about specialized products, including taking advantage of economies of scale. In this vision, comparative advantage can be dynamic—that is, it can evolve and change over time as new skills are developed and as the value chain is split up in new ways. This line of thinking also suggests that countries are not destined to have the same comparative advantage forever, but must instead be flexible in response to ongoing changes in comparative advantage.

Key concepts and summary

A large share of global trade happens between high-income economies that are quite similar in having well-educated workers and advanced technology. These countries practice intra-industry trade, in which they import and export the same products at the same time, like cars, machinery, and computers. In the case of intra-industry trade between economies with similar income levels, the gains from trade come from specialized learning in very particular tasks and from economies of scale. Splitting up the value chain means that several stages of producing a good take place in different countries around the world.

Problems

From earlier chapters you will recall that technological change shifts the average cost curves. Draw a graph showing how technological change could influence intra-industry trade.

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Consider two countries: South Korea and Taiwan. Taiwan can produce one million mobile phones per day at the cost of $10 per phone and South Korea can produce 50 million mobile phones at $5 per phone. Assume these phones are the same type and quality and there is only one price. What is the minimum price at which both countries will engage in trade?

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References

U.S. Census Bureau. 2015. “U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services: December 2014.” Accessed April 13, 2015. http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/international/trade/2015/pdf/trad1214.pdf.

U.S. Census Bureau. U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. 2015. “U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services February 2015.” Accessed April 10, 2015. https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/Press-Release/current_press_release/ft900.pdf.

Vernengo, Matias. “What Do Undergraduates Really Need to Know About Trade and Finance?” in Political Economy and Contemporary Capitalism: Radical Perspectives on Economic Theory and Policy , ed. Ron Baiman, Heather Boushey, and Dawn Saunders. M. E. Sharpe Inc, 2000. Armonk. 177-183.

Questions & Answers

6. The countries of Figistan and Blah are small island countries in the South Pacific. Both produce fruit and timber. Each island has a labor force of 1,200. The following table gives production per month for each worker in each country. a. Which country has an absolute advantage in the product
Bablu Reply
6. The countries of Figistan and Blah are small island countries in the South Pacific. Both produce fruit and timber. Each island has a labor force of 1,200. The following table gives production per month for each worker in each country. a. Which country has an absolute advantage in the producti
Bablu
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Neil
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Neil
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Neil
BASKETS OF FRUIT BOARD FEET OF TIMBER Figistan workers 10 5 Blah workers 30 10 Productivity of one worker for one month
Bablu
basket of fruit |basket of timber Figistan workers 10 5 Blah workers 30 10
Bablu
a. Which country has an absolute advantage in the production of fruit? Which country has an absolute advantage in the production of timber? b. Which country has a comparative advantage in the produc- tion of fruit? of timber? c. Sketch the ppf’s for both countries. d. Assuming no trading betwe
Bablu
i don.t understand plz explain esaily
Saifullah Reply
hello . you mean about assignments help ?
Nhamo
which 1u don't understand
ubong
marginal cost for what
Xasan
definition of economics
Abdal
Marginal cost is the additional increase in quantity produced as a result of increasing total cost
The
MC=dTC/dQ i.e change in total cost as a result of change in quantity produced
The
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Soga
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Abdal
What happens to the quantity of dollars when the demand for it increases and supply decreases? Does the quantity or volume remain the same?
Anamaya
hello
Bablu
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Bablu
yes
Abdal
yes
Soga
price of dollars will increase
Harsh
what are the principles of economics
Gajendra Reply
Economics is a social science that studies how people satisfy unlimited wants with scarce resources. It involves the analysis of choice and trade through the use of intuitive graphs and mathematical elements. The discipline is divided into two sections: microeconomics (micro) and macroeconomics(macr
Zain
micro and macro principles
Souley
I want to know about microeconomics principles
Gajendra
micro study economics partly eg hw mankind's makes decisions
Souley
explain clearly
Gajendra
it focuses on the actions of Individual agent within an economy like households,business etc
Souley
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Gajendra
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Souley
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Paul
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Souley
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Gajendra
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Souley
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The
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Steven
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Souley
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The
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The
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The
is true
Souley
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Kojo
what's the scope for an economist?
Aman
no idea
Steven
I'm having exams soon but I barely know the concepts, monopoly is difficult
Steven
I can help with assignments
Nhamo
Gajendra or anybody can you advice me on how I can improve on studying Economics
The
should I read a topic everyday. it will be difficult because I have other courses
The
what's unemployment
Souley Reply
increase in inflation
Zain
increase in jobless peaople
Zain
who are capable of doing job
Zain
hi
Vijay
hi
Zain
distinguish between substitution effect and income effect
albert Reply
Elucidate more on this please!
Moshood Reply
hello
Kojo
hi
Peter
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Abdal
Hi
Anamaya
Watsup
Darlington
Hello
Darlington
hi
Abdal
Who is an economist
Darlington
Hi
Ihtisham
hi
Peter
hi
Abdal
yes
Fazal
still studying
sean
The substitution effect is the change in consumption patterns due to a change in the relative prices of goods.
Moshood
Income effect is the change in consumption patterns due to the change in purchasing power.
Moshood
still freshman studying at Tubman University
Emmanuel
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Owusu
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shaikh
what is agriculture?
Emmanuel
Srsly
Neil
Hi everyone.
Royal
Economic is a subject which study buying and selling.
Royal
can u elaborate more?
Dazy
it is the study of the wealth of of a nation
Adesina
It can also be defined as the social science that studies how the available scarce resources can be distributed to satisfy unlimited human want
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Adesina
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Prtj
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ask
kartik
what is economic about
Gene
What the difference between economics and economics education?
Rasaq
economics is all about natural resources and how they are distributed to satisfied human wants
Souley
Almsot the same
Steven
what z international trade
ntaate Reply
The exchange of produce and services among different countries.
Anamaya
the exchange of good & services across international boundaries
WILSON
conditions of international trade?
Nusrat
Compare and contrast between Natural and Artificial Resources and their ultimate impacts in an economy. Give one example to support your discussion.
Angela Reply
Exemple: Diamant or uranium, fer, calcaire
Ramadan
how does interest rate affect aggregate output
kelvin Reply
what is Keynesian theory
kelvin
need a curves for typical isoquost and isoquant
kelvin
what is isoquant
kelvin
isoquat is a curve shows differnt combinations of two inputs which can produce same level of output
Majid
examples of giffen goods
Getrude
then what isoquost
Peter
, if the price of an essential food staple, such as rice, rises it may mean that consumers have less money to buy more expensive foods, so they will actually be forced to buy more rice.
Peter
that's an example
Peter
majid Khan that's the wrong definition of isoquant
The
you are defining isocost
The
isocost curve is a locus of points that shows the different combinations of commodities purchased by a consumer with a fixed budget
The
The change in fiscal policy leads to an increased level of output and interest rates is because an increase in government expenses directly affects aggregate demand. A decline in taxes result in more disposable income, consequently leading to a rise in consumption expenditure.
Peter
dats for kelvin
Peter
dats d answer for the audio how does interest rate affect aggregate output
Peter
question not audio
Peter
u are right joker
Peter
what is journal entry?
Abel
explain the nature of economics
Matilda Reply
interpret micro economic issues
Matilda
ito ang dami ng producto na nais handa at kanyang ibenta ng isang prodyuser
Jomar Reply
i dont understand
Gaabshe
even I also don't understand ..this language.. vn I converse everybody say farzana ur language is not understood by all user? now no one there is question about it?
shaikh
he is saying that "this is the amount of product it wants to be ready and sells by a producer"
Aman
I Merr has knowledge,which is the economiccircuit role in a society
Ramadan
What is diminishing returns?
Shadrach Reply
explain competitive demand
ADENIJI Reply
the demand that are compiting for sale. the buyer can substitute one for another good
Iftikhar
yg
Margarette
the demand where commodities fight for the market. in this type of demand, commodities can be substituted for the most suitable one subject to ( price, consumers choice, consumers income etc)
WILSON
Demand is said to be competitive when a commodity that is needed to satisfy wants in place of another similar goods. increase in price of a commodity X will result in increase in demand of the substitute (commmodity Y).
yusuf
examples of giffen goods are garri (cassava), maize
yusuf Reply
what is Public Finance?
kweku Reply
it's basically the field of economics that deals with the government's involvement in the economy; from spending to maybe interest rate manipulation, etc.
Matthew
examples of giffen goods
Getrude

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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