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

  • Analyze short-run costs as influenced by total cost, fixed cost, variable cost, marginal cost, and average cost.
  • Calculate average profit
  • Evaluate patterns of costs to determine potential profit

The cost of producing a firm’s output depends on how much labor and physical capital the firm uses. A list of the costs involved in producing cars will look very different from the costs involved in producing computer software or haircuts or fast-food meals. However, the cost structure of all firms can be broken down into some common underlying patterns. When a firm looks at its total costs of production in the short run, a useful starting point is to divide total costs into two categories: fixed costs that cannot be changed in the short run and variable costs that can be changed.

Fixed and variable costs

Fixed costs are expenditures that do not change regardless of the level of production, at least not in the short term. Whether you produce a lot or a little, the fixed costs are the same. One example is the rent on a factory or a retail space. Once you sign the lease, the rent is the same regardless of how much you produce, at least until the lease runs out. Fixed costs can take many other forms: for example, the cost of machinery or equipment to produce the product, research and development costs to develop new products, even an expense like advertising to popularize a brand name. The level of fixed costs varies according to the specific line of business: for instance, manufacturing computer chips requires an expensive factory, but a local moving and hauling business can get by with almost no fixed costs at all if it rents trucks by the day when needed.

Variable costs , on the other hand, are incurred in the act of producing—the more you produce, the greater the variable cost. Labor is treated as a variable cost, since producing a greater quantity of a good or service typically requires more workers or more work hours. Variable costs would also include raw materials.

As a concrete example of fixed and variable costs, consider the barber shop called “The Clip Joint” shown in [link] . The data for output and costs are shown in [link] . The fixed costs of operating the barber shop, including the space and equipment, are $160 per day. The variable costs are the costs of hiring barbers, which in our example is $80 per barber each day. The first two columns of the table show the quantity of haircuts the barbershop can produce as it hires additional barbers. The third column shows the fixed costs, which do not change regardless of the level of production. The fourth column shows the variable costs at each level of output. These are calculated by taking the amount of labor hired and multiplying by the wage. For example, two barbers cost: 2 × $80 = $160. Adding together the fixed costs in the third column and the variable costs in the fourth column produces the total costs in the fifth column. So, for example, with two barbers the total cost is: $160 + $160 = $320.

Questions & Answers

Formular for calculating Marginal cost?
Jason Reply
Change in total cost ÷ change in quality
Sneha
Change in total cost divided by change in quality
Sneha
percentage change in total cost divide by percentage change in total quantity
how
what about Average cost
silue
?
silue
average cost is equal to total cost divided by number of good produced. It is also equal to sum of variable costs plus average fixed costs.
Madhu
i do not know about the concept of elasticity of demand
anie
start a new proponda of ECONOMIC ALLIANCES YOU are Ready
Javid Reply
start a new conversation
Madhu Reply
may anyone guide me how the financial market is linked to economics? in detail? and in simple language?
Gopal Reply
economics is all about money matter .where we use money has medium of exchange.
Madhu
Economics means optimim utilization of related factors which can be measured only by time and money
Rakesh
can anyone suggest how to put questions here?
Gopal Reply
Go on any topic for example perface
Rakesh
Then go at last and write in new conversation
Rakesh
why demand and supply equal
Ashitosh Reply
Demand equal to supply coz if supply more then price less and if price less then demand more also opposite​
Rakesh
M i right ?
Rakesh
if supply will be more then the demand, then price will fall down. same with the demand. if the demand is high, then price of the product will rise.. and equilibrium happens when both supply and demand are at equal level.
Gopal
ok thanks
Gopal
if supply is more we can store it . when the food scricty will not occur...
Madhu
and also there is group called fci(food coupration of India.)whenever there is food sacricty this council will provide food for needy people.
Madhu
If supply more then no any want to store because price will be less
Rakesh
Also can not store some products such as electricity.. Milk.. Fruits and vegetables and network
Rakesh
what is the scope of being an economist?
sheraz Reply
what is the scope of economics?
sheraz
Economies of scope is a term that refers to the reduction of per-unit costs through the production of a wider variety of goods or services.
Cette
good
Kranti
great
sheraz
but Cette I meant something else...
sheraz
I mean where can an economist find a job? I mean in which fields?
sheraz
u can work as research analyst and business consultant.
Gopal
market research analyst i mean to say.. u can find jobs in such as Deloitte, KPMG, JP morgan, or any other market research company. u can find it on google by just typing market research companies in your country
Gopal
U can decide to print amount of money .. Can decide the budget and can understand share market .. Means jobs anywhere to understand market trends means companies are going to long term benefits with social welfare with maximum utilization of related factors
Rakesh
Does trade war effect world economy growth?
Yes,it does
Madhu
yh it will
Cette
yup
sheraz
Yes it will create more problems to economy like food sacricty. and it affects towards production and loss through our national income or GDP.
Madhu
what is the difference between explicit cost and implicit cost
ustaz Reply
explicit cost:it is the cost which company made for purchasing or hiring resources from the factor owner. implicit cost : the cost of the owner of the company pay for the project.
دولت
explicit cost is that cost which is identified by the books of accounts of an organisation
Amulya
implicit cost is that cost which is not shown in the books of accounts but due to this cost organisation gets some benefits
Amulya
what is supply
Motunrayo
The willing and able to sells their goods in various price of a commodity is called supply.
Niraj
what are the laws of supply
Motunrayo
what is lonrenzo curve
osidele
What is price elasticity of demand?
Kanishka Reply
price elasticity of demand is a measure used in economics to show elasticity of quantity demanded of good or service to get a change in it's price while nothing but price changes.
Madhu
Price elasticity of demand is a measure of the change in the quantity demanded of a product in relation to its price change Price elasticity of demand = % change in quantity demand / % change in Price
Gaurav
Pls where can I found PRICE CONTROL on this app
Samuel Reply
top left corner
JUDE
A situation in an economy with one producer but many consumers
Kabali Reply
What is the theory of population according to Malthus?
Kabali
What is the Malthusian population theory?
Kabali
The Malthusian theory of population state that, where there are means of substinence like food, human beings have the tendency to procreate (ie.give birth) without restraint (ie. control).
George
he stated that population unchecked grows at a geometric progression ie 1,2,4,8,16 while the means food subsistence grows at arithmetic progression ie 1,2,3,4,5---- he declared that population has the tendency to outstrip the means of subsistence
Fung
What is money?
Kabali
money is any commodity that act as a medium of exchange
Fung
money is medium of exchange which is use in taking goods and giving some of it's worth or money value
Madhu
what is a debit card and a credit card?
Milly
a debit card is a payment card used instead of cash while purchasing
Madhu
a credit card is a payment card issued to users to enable cardholder to pay a merchant for goods and services
Madhu
oky tanx
Milly
good
ABDUL
What is an inferior good.?
Kabali
In economics, an inferior good is a good whose demand decreases when consumer income rises (or demand rises when consumer income decreases), 
Rams
in that case scarcity of food will occur
Madhu
what is monopoly
Richmond Reply
a market situation when there is only one seller of a product representing whole industry.
how
where one business is the dominant one in that market. It determines the market price as they are price makers. No entry, no competition.
karl
it is a market situation where is a single seller and many buyer hear the seller is the price maker the is no free entering and exit in this market
Fung
A situation in the economy where there is one producer and many consumers
Kabali
A market situation where there is one producer and many consumers.
Kabali
Balance of payments for 2018
Mahlatse Reply
what is monopoly and what is monopolaist
Javid Reply
what is the affect of rise in value of dollar ?
Shabana
monopoly"a single firm or company owns all or nearly all of the market for a given type of product or service "monopoly is a price maker ...barrier of entry ,non availability of close substitute.
Shabana
monopolistic competition or market is a situation where there are few or many firm producing identical but differentiated product .eg difference in advertisement ,packing etc
Shabana
monopolistic competition or market is a situation where there are few or many firm producing identical but differentiated product .eg difference in advertisement ,packing
jay
monopoly is a market situation ...where there is a single seller and large number of buyers deals with commodities having no close substitutes......here the sellers are price makers... there is restrictions in the entry and exit of new firms in this market structure....
lovely
what is money?
Hilary
money is a medium of exchange.....through which...commodities are bought and sold
lovely
money is a medium/means of exchange that generally accepted by law
Prince
What is tranfer earnings
Admire
what is savings income?
Limitles
transfer earning is the minimum income that a factor is willing to accept in an occupation,it is also call the supply price of a factor
Fung
what is envelope curve
Dharam
what is depreciation
Fung
depreciation means decrease in value of a assets due to normal wear or year ,means decrease in value of assets like a machine due to its daily use
ru
Refers to wear and tear of capital machinery
apule
what is meant by currency depreciation?
Shabana
an envelope curve is also call an umbrella curve it is any curve that is enclosed by being tangen t to a series of other curves
Fung
fall in the value of currency vis-a-vis any other currency usually $ due to marker forces is called currency depreciation. it is different from devaluation where in value of currency is deliberately reduced to improve BoT
mohammad
depreciation in its broad sense means loss in the value of fixed capital say a tractor due to i) normal wear and tear ii) normal rate of accidental damage iii) expected absolescence to meet this, Depereciation Reserve Fund is created it is calculated by firms on the basis of their experience.
mohammad

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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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