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By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Explain the difference between explicit costs and implicit costs
  • Understand the relationship between cost and revenue

Private enterprise , the ownership of businesses by private individuals, is a hallmark of the U.S. economy. When people think of businesses, often giants like Wal-Mart, Microsoft, or General Motors come to mind. But firms come in all sizes, as shown in [link] . The vast majority of American firms have fewer than 20 employees. As of 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau counted 5.7 million firms with employees in the U.S. economy. Slightly less than half of all the workers in private firms are at the 17,000 large firms, meaning they employ more than 500 workers. Another 35% of workers in the U.S. economy are at firms with fewer than 100 workers. These small-scale businesses include everything from dentists and lawyers to businesses that mow lawns or clean houses. Indeed, [link] does not include a separate category for the millions of small “non-employer” businesses where a single owner or a few partners are not officially paid wages or a salary, but simply receive whatever they can earn.

(Source: U.S. Census, 2010 www.census.gov)
Range in size of u.s. firms
Number of Employees Firms (% of total firms) Number of Paid Employees (% of total employment)
Total 5,734,538 112.0 million
0–9 4,543,315 (79.2%) 12.3 million (11.0%)
10–19 617,089 (10.8%) 8.3 million (7.4%)
20–99 475,125 (8.3%) 18.6 million (16.6%)
100–499 81,773 (1.4%) 15.9 million (14.2%)
500 or more 17,236 (0.30%) 50.9 million (49.8%)

Each of these businesses, regardless of size or complexity, tries to earn a profit:

Profit = Total Revenue – Total Cost

Total revenue    is the income brought into the firm from selling its products. It is calculated by multiplying the price of the product times the quantity of output sold:

Total Revenue = Price × Quantity

We will see in the following chapters that revenue is a function of the demand for the firm’s products.

We can distinguish between two types of cost: explicit and implicit. Explicit costs are out-of-pocket costs, that is, payments that are actually made. Wages that a firm pays its employees or rent that a firm pays for its office are explicit costs. Implicit costs are more subtle, but just as important. They represent the opportunity cost of using resources already owned by the firm. Often for small businesses, they are resources contributed by the owners; for example, working in the business while not getting a formal salary, or using the ground floor of a home as a retail store. Implicit costs also allow for depreciation of goods, materials, and equipment that are necessary for a company to operate. (See the Work it Out feature for an extended example.)

These two definitions of cost are important for distinguishing between two conceptions of profit, accounting profit and economic profit. Accounting profit is a cash concept. It means total revenue minus explicit costs—the difference between dollars brought in and dollars paid out. Economic profit is total revenue minus total cost, including both explicit and implicit costs. The difference is important because even though a business pays income taxes based on its accounting profit, whether or not it is economically successful depends on its economic profit.

Calculating implicit costs

Consider the following example. Fred currently works for a corporate law firm. He is considering opening his own legal practice, where he expects to earn $200,000 per year once he gets established. To run his own firm, he would need an office and a law clerk. He has found the perfect office, which rents for $50,000 per year. A law clerk could be hired for $35,000 per year. If these figures are accurate, would Fred’s legal practice be profitable?

Step 1. First you have to calculate the costs. You can take what you know about explicit costs and total them:

Office rental :    $50,000 Law clerk's salary : +$35,000 ____________ Total explicit costs :    $85,000

Step 2. Subtracting the explicit costs from the revenue gives you the accounting profit.

Revenues : $200,000 Explicit costs : –$85,000 ____________ Accounting profit : $115,000

But these calculations consider only the explicit costs. To open his own practice, Fred would have to quit his current job, where he is earning an annual salary of $125,000. This would be an implicit cost of opening his own firm.

Step 3. You need to subtract both the explicit and implicit costs to determine the true economic profit:

Economic profit = total revenues – explicit costs – implicit costs = $200,000 – $85,000 – $125,000 = –$10,000 per year

Fred would be losing $10,000 per year. That does not mean he would not want to open his own business, but it does mean he would be earning $10,000 less than if he worked for the corporate firm.

Implicit costs can include other things as well. Maybe Fred values his leisure time, and starting his own firm would require him to put in more hours than at the corporate firm. In this case, the lost leisure would also be an implicit cost that would subtract from economic profits.

Now that we have an idea about the different types of costs, let’s look at cost structures. A firm’s cost structure in the long run may be different from that in the short run. We turn to that distinction in the next section.

Key concepts and summary

Privately owned firms are motivated to earn profits. Profit is the difference between revenues and costs. While accounting profit considers only explicit costs, economic profit considers both explicit and implicit costs.

Problems

A firm is considering an investment that will earn a 6% rate of return. If it were to borrow the money, it would have to pay 8% interest on the loan, but it currently has the cash, so it will not need to borrow. Should the firm make the investment? Show your work.

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

References

2010 U.S. Census. www.census.gov.

Questions & Answers

what is nationalisation
Awuni Reply
it is a process of converting private assets into public assets by undertaking the control of government or state authority
ru
anything which is widely acceptable as a medium of exchange
Shabana Reply
money ,currency
ru
Hello plz,what is the full mean of tertiary?
al Reply
tertiary also called philoshper
Waseem
tertiary means third..for example primary sector ,secondary and tertiary sector... means three number..
ru
ru 9ice tnk
al
your most welcome.
ru
tnz
al
what is money
Tettey
what is a bank
Walters
a financial institution which holds money for its clients ,which collect deposit and lend money at interest and trades generally in money...
Shabana
what is bankers draft ?kindly explain with example .
Shabana
money "anything which is widely acceptable as a medium of exchange"
Shabana
yes u ryt #shabana
Dar
difference between cost and price
Dar
Shallow definition
Adam
cost"the value of input that is the amount of money which is used to produce a good or service . price"an amount of money which has to b paid to buy something.
Shabana
Tertiary is an adjective(pre position) for stages or levels and refers to "top, final, full term ." ; Advanced.
Anderson
bank draft is a type of cheque which a person buy for to pay someone who is not willing to accept a personal cheque .
ru
what is occupational structure
Madhu Reply
occupational structure refers to the distribution of occupation on the basis of educational ,socoial ,income level in a society or economy
ru
what is deficit
Obiajunwa Reply
deficit = expenses > revenue
Waseem
yeah expenses over revenue results in deficit
Paulina
insufficiency
Anderson
What is What is Equilibrium
Bright Reply
from business point of view it is that point where business revanu are equal to its expenses.
ru
in economy where demand is equal to supply is called equalibrium
ru
Equilibrium in economics is where quantity demanded is equal to quantity supplied
Collins
what are the objectives of devaluation
Oyedun
how the government solve the problem of scarcity
SUNDAY Reply
how government solve the problem of scarcity
SUNDAY
by deciding the output limit for every industry and providing resources to these industries according to output limit .the problem can be solved
ru
and by controlling the activity of production like as a mixed economy this problem can be solved
ru
by proper planning to cater the needs of people, demand & supply process may prove helpful. and by imposing heavy import duty on the product to shift the demand towards available alternative sources.
Abida
changing the methods of production, and tax system
Khushal
In problems of scarcity government should adopt a plan or state budget, form a long term policy , deal with corruption , mobilise resources ,systems and monitor.
Anderson
by doing various plans or scheme and providing various kind of free or in less price to the needy people
Madhu
Plx anyone explain bankers draft by giving example.
Shabana
what is price elasticity of demand?
Asamoah Reply
price elasticity of demand is the percentage in quantity demanded of a good or service to the percentage change in its price.
Cobbina
Price elasticity of demand is a measure used in economics to show the responsiveness, or elasticity, of the quantity demanded of a good or service to a change in its price when nothing but the price changes.
TOHEEB
Price elasticity of Demand is a prepotionat change in the demand due to change in price of the goods and service
Dawal
what is monopoly and monopolistic?
KPAAKPA
Price elasticity of demand is the economy measure to show the responsiveness and change in price due to change in quantity.
Lomayani
what is economics
Kenethy Reply
one simple reason to build format in level great leverage for better control knowing grown level greater with word trade..
Larod
Any one who can assit me with Multiplier
Wendy
Yeah sure
Aqrar
You mean Multiplier effect!5
Aqrar
ECONOMICS IS THE STUDY OF ECONOMIC ISSUES OR (ECONOMIC PROBLEMS)ARUSING OUT OF THE FACT THAT RESOURCES ARE SCARCE IN RELATION TO OUR NEEDS,DESIRES OR WE CAN SAY THAT RESOURCES ARE LIMITED OR WANTS ARE UN LIMITED HOW CAN WE UTILIZE LIMITED RESOURCES FOR SETESFY OUR WANTS
Nazneen
is called economics
Nazneen
is call economist
KPAAKPA
then
Nazneen
Economics is all about management of scarce resources. In other words its is about efficience.
Aqrar
Nazneen lets discuss some advance concepts and models
Aqrar
I.can see you have good concepts of Econ
Aqrar
what is multiplier
Wendy
@Wendy A phenomenon whereby a given change in a particular input, such as government spending, causes a larger change in an output, such as gross domestic product.
Aqrar
economic is social science that deal with the human behavior as a difference b/ween earth and scale.
jacob
Economics is a science that studies human behaviour in relation to ends and scarce means which have alternative uses
Collins
economics is a social science that deal with human behavior in aspect of end and scarce and the alternative use
Chibuzor
pls I want to known the difference between inflation and deflation, what is there difference ?
jacob
economics is the study of how man used scarce recourse to satisfy human wants
abdullahi
inflation is the increase in the general price level while deflation is decrease in general price level.
Azhar
evening,dear friends. I'm very glad to be one of you so will you please give me full imformaton about economics epically the time table of the first year of the univerysity
abdullahi
hi iam from india
Naa
economic is the study of human behavior, want by professor Robert say is all about choice and want
KPAAKPA
what is SCARCITY?
KPAAKPA
Scarcity is the limitation of resources within the economy
karl
means that human wants for goods, services and resources exceed what is available
KPAAKPA
Scarcity is inefficient resources to satisfy human want.
Pat
inflation can define as general rise in the price due to too much money in circulation, while is the decrease of the price of goods due to low money in circulation.
Musa
what is the law of dimension return?
jacob
Jacob it's diminishing return
The
The study of house hold management and money measurements
Wardan
hi
Augustine
what is mearnt of economies of scale..pls asist me
Augustine
hii
Vimarsh
when larger amount of output is produced , per unit input costs tend to fall , heading towards economiea of scale ..by acale we mean scale of production here
Vimarsh
economies# scale#
Vimarsh
alright thank u..what are its advantages
Augustine
the cost of production is low and more efficient
Vimarsh
What is demand?
Bright
demand is the various goods and services consumers are willing and able to purchase at a particular price
Paulina
What is inflation
Bright
Economics is a social science focusing on the economy and its agents in production,distribution,buying and selling involving resources such as raw materials and labour at micro ie individual or family and macro ie aggregate or total and state levels . There are several forms or brands or approache
Anderson
scarcity means non availability things or resources which satisfy humans
Madhu
demanding the various goods and services which satisfy humans needs
Madhu
when we calculate shortage and surplus why do we subtract quantity demanded from quantity supplied
The Reply
to determine surplus
Concepcion
true using of graphs
jacob
because we try to avoid negative answers
Eric
what is price ceiling
Nazneen Reply
price ceiling is a government-imposed price control, or limit, on how high a price is charged for a product. Governments use price ceilings to protect consumers from conditions that could make commodities prohibitively expensive.
Rina
price effect= Income Effect+ Substitution Effect
Muhammad
Well described Rina
Aqrar
why average revenue is equal to price in monopoly market?
khin Reply
Because One person get the monopole on demand market without any concurrence
Christian
hlw
Luman
hlw
Sheikh
Black money comes from black mark
james Reply
why perfect competition is also known as price taker?
Chening Reply
In perfect competition a firm is a price taker rather to be a price maker because the products it produces are homogeneous so no one will pay extra. price taker means that firms can not set the price it want. If it charged high price then market price its goods will remain unsold.
Azhar
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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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