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Sunk costs

In the budget constraint framework, all decisions involve what will happen next: that is, what quantities of goods will you consume, how many hours will you work, or how much will you save. These decisions do not look back to past choices. Thus, the budget constraint framework assumes that sunk costs    , which are costs that were incurred in the past and cannot be recovered, should not affect the current decision.

Consider the case of Selena, who pays $8 to see a movie, but after watching the film for 30 minutes, she knows that it is truly terrible. Should she stay and watch the rest of the movie because she paid for the ticket, or should she leave? The money she spent is a sunk cost, and unless the theater manager is feeling kindly, Selena will not get a refund. But staying in the movie still means paying an opportunity cost in time. Her choice is whether to spend the next 90 minutes suffering through a cinematic disaster or to do something—anything—else. The lesson of sunk costs is to forget about the money and time that is irretrievably gone and instead to focus on the marginal costs and benefits of current and future options.

For people and firms alike, dealing with sunk costs can be frustrating. It often means admitting an earlier error in judgment. Many firms, for example, find it hard to give up on a new product that is doing poorly because they spent so much money in creating and launching the product. But the lesson of sunk costs is to ignore them and make decisions based on what will happen in the future.

From a model with two goods to one of many goods

The budget constraint diagram containing just two goods, like most models used in this book, is not realistic. After all, in a modern economy people choose from thousands of goods. However, thinking about a model with many goods is a straightforward extension of what we discussed here. Instead of drawing just one budget constraint, showing the tradeoff between two goods, you can draw multiple budget constraints, showing the possible tradeoffs between many different pairs of goods. Or in more advanced classes in economics, you would use mathematical equations that include many possible goods and services that can be purchased, together with their quantities and prices, and show how the total spending on all goods and services is limited to the overall budget available. The graph with two goods that was presented here clearly illustrates that every choice has an opportunity cost, which is the point that does carry over to the real world.

Key concepts and summary

Economists see the real world as one of scarcity: that is, a world in which people’s desires exceed what is possible. As a result, economic behavior involves tradeoffs in which individuals, firms, and society must give up something that they desire to obtain things that they desire more. Individuals face the tradeoff of what quantities of goods and services to consume. The budget constraint, which is the frontier of the opportunity set, illustrates the range of choices available. The slope of the budget constraint is determined by the relative price of the choices. Choices beyond the budget constraint are not affordable.

Opportunity cost measures cost by what is given up in exchange. Sometimes opportunity cost can be measured in money, but it is often useful to consider time as well, or to measure it in terms of the actual resources that must be given up.

Most economic decisions and tradeoffs are not all-or-nothing. Instead, they involve marginal analysis, which means they are about decisions on the margin, involving a little more or a little less. The law of diminishing marginal utility points out that as a person receives more of something—whether it is a specific good or another resource—the additional marginal gains tend to become smaller. Because sunk costs occurred in the past and cannot be recovered, they should be disregarded in making current decisions.

Problems

Use this information to answer the following 4 questions: Marie has a weekly budget of $24, which she likes to spend on magazines and pies.

If the price of a magazine is $4 each, what is the maximum number of magazines she could buy in a week?

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If the price of a pie is $12, what is the maximum number of pies she could buy in a week?

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Draw Marie’s budget constraint with pies on the horizontal axis and magazines on the vertical axis. What is the slope of the budget constraint?

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What is Marie’s opportunity cost of purchasing a pie?

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References

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. 2015. “Median Weekly Earnings by Educational Attainment in 2014.” Accessed March 27, 2015. http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2015/median-weekly-earnings-by-education-gender-race-and-ethnicity-in-2014.htm.

Robbins, Lionel. An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science . London: Macmillan. 1932.

United States Department of Transportation. “Total Passengers on U.S Airlines and Foreign Airlines U.S. Flights Increased 1.3% in 2012 from 2011.” Accessed October 2013. http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/press_releases/bts016_13

Questions & Answers

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
what is green revolution ?discuss the achievement of green revolution in India
Sweety Reply
green revolution is the third revolution of agricultural refers to a set of research and development of technology transfer initiative occuring between 1930s and the late 1960s that increased agricultural is called green revolution
Javid
the green revolution happened because to improve the agricultural sector towards adopting mordern methods and improvement of agricultural equipments
Madhu
green revolution means new innovation for high yielding varieties seeds towards economic development in agriculture sector. started in 1966, it's achievement increase per productive of all crops ie rice, wheat,maiz,etc...mainly 131 million food grain in 1978-79 produced in india
Rams
Punjab and haryana was the first 2 states which have been successfully adopted hyv's and due to this adoption these two states find more successfull in india and it contributed though our national income and also to GDP growth this helps in development of our nation.
Madhu
what calculation for demand and supply
Amoo Reply
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
yes
Emmanuel
so true
Violet
what are some the things that may lead to nationalisation
Fung
Over exploring of customers by the private individuals Also to make the nationalised organisation social reliable and accessible by all
Richard
feeling of one's is called nationalisation. unity among them self .
Madhu
this is according to History nationalisation means being unity.
Madhu
start a new conversation
Madhu Reply

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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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