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Chapter 7

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Chapter 7

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  1. Chapter 7 The Cost of Production

  2. Topics to be Discussed • Measuring Cost: Which Costs Matter? • Cost in the Short Run • Cost in the Long Run • Long-Run Versus Short-Run Cost Curves Chapter 7

  3. Topics to be Discussed • Production with Two Outputs--Economies of Scope • Dynamic Changes in Costs--The Learning Curve • Estimating and Predicting Cost Chapter 7

  4. Introduction • The production technology measures the relationship between input and output. • Given the production technology, managers must choose how to produce. Chapter 7

  5. Introduction • To determine the optimal level of output and the input combinations, we must convert from the unit measurements of the production technology to dollar measurements or costs. Chapter 7

  6. Measuring Cost:Which Costs Matter? Economic Cost vs. Accounting Cost • Accounting Cost • Actual expenses plus depreciation charges for capital equipment • Economic Cost • Cost to a firm of utilizing economic resources in production, including opportunity cost Chapter 7

  7. Measuring Cost:Which Costs Matter? • Opportunity cost. • Cost associated with opportunities that are foregone when a firm’s resources are not put to their highest-value use. Chapter 7

  8. Measuring Cost:Which Costs Matter? • An Example • A firm owns its own building and pays no rent for office space • Does this mean the cost of office space is zero? Chapter 7

  9. Measuring Cost:Which Costs Matter? • Sunk Cost • Expenditure that has been made and cannot be recovered • Should not influence a firm’s decisions. Chapter 7

  10. Measuring Cost:Which Costs Matter? • An Example • A firm pays $500,000 for an option to buy a building. • The cost of the building is $5 million or a total of $5.5 million. • The firm finds another building for $5.25 million. • Which building should the firm buy? Chapter 7

  11. Choosing the Locationfor a New Law School Building • Northwestern University Law School 1) Current location in downtown Chicago 2) Alternative location in Evanston with the main campus Chapter 7

  12. Choosing the Locationfor a New Law School Building • Northwestern University Law School 3) Choosing a Site • Land owned in Chicago • Must purchase land in Evanston • Chicago location might appear cheaper without considering the opportunity cost of the downtown land (i.e. what it could be sold for) Chapter 7

  13. Choosing the Locationfor a New Law School Building • Northwestern University Law School 3) Choosing a Site • Chicago location chosen--very costly • Justified only if there is some intrinsic values associated with being in Chicago • If not, it was an inefficient decision if it was based on the assumption that the downtown land was “free” Chapter 7

  14. Measuring Cost:Which Costs Matter? Fixed and Variable Costs • Total output is a function of variable inputs and fixed inputs. • Therefore, the total cost of production equals the fixed cost (the cost of the fixed inputs) plus the variable cost (the cost of the variable inputs), or… Chapter 7

  15. Measuring Cost:Which Costs Matter? Fixed and Variable Costs • Fixed Cost • Does not vary with the level of output • Variable Cost • Cost that varies as output varies Chapter 7

  16. Measuring Cost:Which Costs Matter? • Fixed Cost • Cost paid by a firm that is in business regardless of the level of output • Sunk Cost • Cost that have been incurred and cannot be recovered Chapter 7

  17. Measuring Cost:Which Costs Matter? • Personal Computers: most costs are variable • Components, labor • Software: most costs are sunk • Cost of developing the software Chapter 7

  18. Measuring Cost:Which Costs Matter? • Pizza • Largest cost component is fixed Chapter 7

  19. A Firm’s Short-Run Costs ($) Rate of Fixed Variable Total Marginal Average Average Average Output Cost Cost Cost Cost Fixed Variable Total (FC) (VC) (TC) (MC) Cost Cost Cost (AFC) (AVC) (ATC) 0 50 0 50 --- --- --- --- 1 50 50 100 50 50 50 100 2 50 78 128 28 25 39 64 3 50 98 148 20 16.7 32.7 49.3 4 50 112 162 14 12.5 28 40.5 5 50 130 180 18 10 26 36 6 50 150 200 20 8.3 25 33.3 7 50 175 225 25 7.1 25 32.1 8 50 204 254 29 6.3 25.5 31.8 9 50 242 292 38 5.6 26.9 32.4 10 50 300 350 58 5 30 35 11 50 385 435 85 4.5 35 39.5

  20. Cost in the Short Run • Marginal Cost (MC) is the cost of expanding output by one unit. Since fixed cost have no impact on marginal cost, it can be written as: Chapter 7

  21. Cost in the Short Run • Average Total Cost (ATC) is the cost per unit of output, or average fixed cost (AFC) plus average variable cost (AVC). This can be written: Chapter 7

  22. Cost in the Short Run • Average Total Cost (ATC) is the cost per unit of output, or average fixed cost (AFC) plus average variable cost (AVC). This can be written: Chapter 7

  23. Cost in the Short Run • The Determinants of Short-Run Cost • The relationship between the production function and cost can be exemplified by either increasing returns and cost or decreasing returns and cost. Chapter 7

  24. Cost in the Short Run • The Determinants of Short-Run Cost • Increasing returns and cost • With increasing returns, output is increasing relative to input and variable cost and total cost will fall relative to output. • Decreasing returns and cost • With decreasing returns, output is decreasing relative to input and variable cost and total cost will rise relative to output. Chapter 7

  25. Cost in the Short Run • For Example: Assume the wage rate (w) is fixed relative to the number of workers hired. Then: Chapter 7

  26. Cost in the Short Run • Continuing: Chapter 7

  27. Cost in the Short Run • Continuing: Chapter 7

  28. Cost in the Short Run • In conclusion: • …and a low marginal product (MP) leads to a high marginal cost (MC) and vise versa. Chapter 7

  29. Cost in the Short Run • Consequently (from the table): • MC decreases initially with increasing returns • 0 through 4 units of output • MC increases with decreasing returns • 5 through 11 units of output Chapter 7

  30. A Firm’s Short-Run Costs ($) Rate of Fixed Variable Total Marginal Average Average Average Output Cost Cost Cost Cost Fixed Variable Total (FC) (VC) (TC) (MC) Cost Cost Cost (AFC) (AVC) (ATC) 0 50 0 50 --- --- --- --- 1 50 50 100 50 50 50 100 2 50 78 128 28 25 39 64 3 50 98 148 20 16.7 32.7 49.3 4 50 112 162 14 12.5 28 40.5 5 50 130 180 18 10 26 36 6 50 150 200 20 8.3 25 33.3 7 50 175 225 25 7.1 25 32.1 8 50 204 254 29 6.3 25.5 31.8 9 50 242 292 38 5.6 26.9 32.4 10 50 300 350 58 5 30 35 11 50 385 435 85 4.5 35 39.5

  31. Total cost is the vertical sum of FC and VC. TC Cost ($ per year) 400 VC Variable cost increases with production and the rate varies with increasing & decreasing returns. 300 200 Fixed cost does not vary with output 100 FC 50 Output 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Cost Curves for a Firm Chapter 7

  32. Cost Curves for a Firm Cost ($ per unit) 100 MC 75 50 ATC AVC 25 AFC Output (units/yr.) 1 0 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Chapter 7

  33. The line drawn from the origin to the tangent of the variable cost curve: Its slope equals AVC The slope of a point on VC equals MC Therefore, MC = AVC at 7 units of output (point A) Cost Curves for a Firm TC P 400 VC 300 200 A 100 FC 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Output Chapter 7

  34. Unit Costs AFC falls continuously When MC < AVC or MC < ATC, AVC & ATC decrease When MC > AVC or MC > ATC, AVC & ATC increase Cost ($ per unit) 100 MC 75 50 ATC AVC 25 AFC 1 0 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Output (units/yr.) Cost Curves for a Firm Chapter 7

  35. Unit Costs MC = AVC and ATC at minimum AVC and ATC Minimum AVC occurs at a lower output than minimum ATC due to FC Cost Curves for a Firm Cost ($ per unit) 100 MC 75 50 ATC AVC 25 AFC 1 0 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Output (units/yr.) Chapter 7

  36. Operating Costs for Aluminum Smelting ($/Ton -based on an output of 600 tons/day) Variable costs that are constant at all output levels Electricity $316 Alumina 369 Other raw materials 125 Plant power and fuel 10 Subtotal $820 Chapter 7

  37. Operating Costs for Aluminum Smelting ($/Ton -based on an output of 600 tons/day) Variable costs that increase when output exceeds 600 tons/day Labor $150 Maintenance 120 Freight 50 Subtotal $320 Total operating costs $1140 Chapter 7

  38. MC AVC The Short-Run VariableCosts of Aluminum Smelting Cost ($ per ton) 1300 1200 1140 1100 Output (tons/day) 300 600 900 Chapter 7

  39. Cost in the Long Run The User Cost of Capital • User Cost of Capital = Economic Depreciation + (Interest Rate)(Value of Capital) Chapter 7

  40. Cost in the Long Run The User Cost of Capital • Example • Delta buys a Boeing 737 for $150 million with an expected life of 30 years • Annual economic depreciation = $150 million/30 = $5 million • Interest rate = 10% Chapter 7

  41. Cost in the Long Run The User Cost of Capital • Example • User Cost of Capital = $5 million + (.10)($150 million – depreciation) • Year 1 = $5 million + (.10)($150 million) = $20 million • Year 10 = $5 million + (.10)($100 million) = $15 million Chapter 7

  42. Cost in the Long Run The User Cost of Capital • Rate per dollar of capital • r = Depreciation Rate + Interest Rate Chapter 7

  43. Cost in the Long Run The User Cost of Capital • Airline Example • Depreciation Rate = 1/30 = 3.33/yr • Rate of Return = 10%/yr • User Cost of Capital • r = 3.33 + 10 = 13.33%/yr Chapter 7

  44. Cost in the Long Run The Cost Minimizing Input Choice • Assumptions • Two Inputs: Labor (L) & capital (K) • Price of labor: wage rate (w) • The price of capital • R = depreciation rate + interest rate Chapter 7

  45. Cost in the Long Run The Cost Minimizing Input Choice The User Cost of Capital • Question • If capital was rented, would it change the value of r ? Chapter 7

  46. Cost in the Long Run The Cost Minimizing Input Choice The User Cost of Capital • The Isocost Line • C = wL + rK • Isocost: A line showing all combinations of L & K that can be purchased for the same cost Chapter 7

  47. Cost in the Long Run The Isocost Line • Rewriting C as linear: • K = C/r - (w/r)L • Slope of the isocost: • is the ratio of the wage rate torental cost of capital. • This shows the rate at which capital can be substituted for labor with no change in cost. Chapter 7

  48. Choosing Inputs • We will address how to minimize cost for a given level of output. • We will do so by combining isocosts with isoquants Chapter 7

  49. Q1is an isoquant for output Q1. Isocost curve C0 shows all combinations of K and L that can produce Q1at this cost level. K2 CO C1 C2 are three isocost lines A K1 Q1 K3 C0 C1 C2 L2 L1 L3 Producing a GivenOutput at Minimum Cost Capital per year Isocost C2 shows quantity Q1 can be produced with combination K2L2or K3L3. However, both of these are higher cost combinations than K1L1. Labor per year Chapter 7

  50. If the price of labor changes, the isocost curve becomes steeper due to the change in the slope -(w/L). This yields a new combination of K and L to produce Q1. Combination B is used in place of combination A. The new combination represents the higher cost of labor relative to capital and therefore capital is substituted for labor. B K2 A K1 Q1 C2 C1 L2 L1 Input Substitution When an Input Price Change Capital per year Labor per year Chapter 7