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Any point inside the production possibilities curve, such as U, represents unemployment or a failure to achieve full employment. The arrows indicate that by realizing full employment, the economy could operate on the curve. This means it could produce more of one or both products than it is producing at point U. Net gain at any output level is measured by the excess of the marginal benefits over the marginal costs associated with that level of output. Maximizing total net gains requires that output be extended to the level where its MB and MC are equal. In Figure 1.4, that optimal quantity is 10,000 units of butter. At any output below this level – for example 5,000 – the net gain can be increased by increasing the output.

• Opportunity cost can be assessed directly with cost effectiveness or cost utility studies.
• Movement along the PPC occurs when there is a change in the combination of goods and services produced.
• At any output above this level – for example 15,000 – the net loss can be lowered by lowering the output.
• Opportunity cost is the value of the best alternative choice when you pursue a certain action.
• As we want more programs, the marginal opportunity cost increases to 2, then 3, and finally as we move from point D to E, we must sacrifice 4 houses for each additional computer program.
• A student may view the cost of attending school as the monetary value of tuition and fees, but the tuition and fees are the accounting costs.

For each additional unit of butter – represented by movements from point A to B, B to C, C to D, and D to E – the society forgoes 1, 2, 3, and 4 units of bread respectively. This increasing loss in the output of bread is what economists call “the increasing opportunity cost” of producing butter. As this phenomenon eventually holds for any pair of commodities, the economists call it “the law of increasing opportunity cost.” This law is represented by an outward bowed production possibilities curve. Economic growth occurs in an economy where the supplies of productive resources increase over time. Economic growth is an expansion of an economy’s production possibilities.

A society attains the optimal output level when its resources are allocated in the most efficient manner possible. Resources are allocated most efficiently when the marginal benefit derived from the allocation equals the marginal cost. We know from Figure 1.3 that the society has to sacrifice larger and larger quantities of bread to obtain each additional unit of butter. The costs of additional unit of butter, therefore, rise as more units are produced. At the same time, the additional benefits derived from the production and consumption of butter decline with each successive unit of butter.

So far, we have considered Alexei’s choice between studying and free time. We now apply our model of constrained choice to Angela, a self-sufficient farmer who chooses how many hours to work. We assume that Angela produces grain to eat and does not sell it to anyone else. C is below the feasible frontier but D is on the feasible frontier. To find the feasible set one needs to know the number of hours that Alexei sleeps per day.

## Women In Economics

The greater the diversity in people and their skills, the greater the opportunity for beneficial trade through comparative advantage. The production possibilities frontier model illustrates for a nation’s leaders what goods to produce, how to produce them, and for what markets. Explore how shifts in the economy lead to shifts in the production possibilities curve of a country using real-world examples. Nations specialize in trading goods with the lowest opportunity cost in order to gain a comparative advantage. Explore the gains from trade and the benefits of countries specializing in the goods that are the least expensive to produce and exchange with other nations. Learn how to calculate opportunity cost, see law of increasing opportunity cost examples, and view graphs.

In the transition to widget production, workers would likely need training and time to develop the skills required to be as productive at making widgets as making gadgets. The question that must be answer is, “Do the benefits of education outweigh the costs?” If they do, school should be selected. If the costs are greater than the benefits, the full-time job should be kept.

For example, an increase in the unemployment rate would move a society further inside the PPC. Note that the resources still exist so the PPC has not changed, we are just not using all of resources that we have. In a market system, the households own the resources and willingly supply those to businesses in the resource market in return for a payment for the use of those resources. Remember that households are paid wages for their labor, interest for their capital, rent for their land, and profit for their entrepreneurial ability.

For example, if a community decides to use part of its budget to reduce classroom size in schools, it cannot use that same money to achieve another priority, such as improving the aesthetics of bookkeeping the downtown area. Meeting concerns of parents and having better educated residents has clear benefits, but the opportunity cost is a more pleasing downtown drawing in tourism or new business.

Using a production possibility frontier can help you visualize the possible output combinations if your business attempts to produce two goods that use the same set of resources. This can help you make production decisions that have the best results for your business. You can visualize the law of increasing cost on an economic model called a production possibility frontier .

Another source of economic growth is ideas that take the form of new applied technology, or innovations. Innovation allows a given quantity of resources to produce a larger output. Division of labor and specialization is yet another way that an economy can experience economic growth. As people specialize in specific tasks, they are able to produce more than if they spread their talents and energies over many unspecialized tasks. Division of labor and specialization occur at the international level. We will learn that economies specialize at the international level in activities for which they have an absolute advantage – that is, the country can produce a good with fewer resources than can other countries.

## What Is Opportunity Cost?

The analysis in Figure 3.12 demonstrates the effect on the production function. At E, Alexei has the highest ratio of final grade per hour of free time per day.

The opportunity cost of moving from point C to D is 40 tons of oranges. The per-unit opportunity cost of moving from point C to point D is 1/2 ton of oranges (40 tons of oranges/80 tons of pears). At this point, you do not have the needed amounts of resources to produce the number of goods shown. That an amazing invention has never been found in some secret warehouse does nothing to reduce people’s belief that such things exist; they’re hidden, aren’t they? The reality is that the opportunity cost of hiding a valuable invention is so great that inventions worth more than they cost are quickly made available.

Compensation for Resources Provided by the Business OwnerLandrentrentLaborwagewageCapitalinterestinterestInformationroyaltyroyaltyAssumed riskpremiumprofit?? Compensating others for providing resources for use in your business are recognized as costs on an income statement. The return available to compensate the business owners for their resources is the “net income” or “accounting profit” on an income statement.

## Reading: The Concept Of Opportunity Cost

Since the 9/11 hijackings, security screening has become more intensive, and consequently, the procedure takes longer than in the past. Say that, on average, each air passenger spends an extra 30 minutes in the airport per trip. Economists commonly place a value on time to convert an opportunity cost in time into a monetary figure. Because many air travelers are relatively highly paid businesspeople, conservative estimates set the average “price of time” for air travelers at \$20 per hour. Accordingly, the opportunity cost of delays in airports could be as much as 800 million × 0.5 hours × \$20/hour—or, \$8 billion per year. Clearly, the opportunity costs of waiting time can be just as substantial as costs involving direct spending. As we combine the production possibilities curves for more and more units, the curve becomes smoother.

Therefore, they will choose bundles to the left of E where their indifference curves are tangent to the feasible frontier. At E the indifference curve is tangent to the feasible frontier. The marginal rate of substitution is equal to the marginal rate of transformation . The marginal product of labour at 10 hours of study equals the marginal rate of transformation at 14 hours of free time. It represents according to the law of increasing opportunity costs, the trade-off he must make between grade and free time. At any point on the frontier, taking more free time has an opportunity cost in terms of grade points foregone, corresponding to the slope of the frontier. If we looked at smaller changes in study time even further we would get closer to the true marginal product, which is the slope of the tangent to the curve at 4 hours of study.

At this point, Econ Isle can produce 12 gadgets and 0 widgets. This point shows widget production increased by 2, and this by 2 more, and this by 2 more, indicating all widgets and no gadgets. It shows that Econ Isle can produce a maximum of 12 gadgets and 6 widgets or any other combination along the line. So let’s compare straight and curved frontier lines to better understand what is more likely to happen when production changes.

One way to demonstrate the concept of opportunity costs is through an example of investment capital. A private investor purchases \$10,000 in a certain security, such as shares in a corporation, and after one year the investment has appreciated in value to \$10,500. The investor considers other ways the \$10,000 could have been invested, and discovers a bank certificate with an annual yield of 6 percent and a government bond that carries an annual yield of 7.5 percent. After a year, the bank certificate would have appreciated in value to \$10,600, and the government bond would have appreciated to \$10,750. The opportunity cost of purchasing shares is \$100 relative to the bank certificate, and \$250 relative to the government bond. The investor’s decision to purchase shares with a 5 percent return comes at the cost of a lost opportunity to earn 6 or 7.5 percent.

## Assumptions Of The Production Possibilities Curve

At each point on the production function, the marginal product is the increase in the grade from studying one more hour. The marginal product corresponds to the slope of the production function. The marginal product at four hours of study is approximately 7, which is the increase in the grade from one more hour of study.

To see the difference, consider an attorney and their secretary. The attorney is better at producing legal services than the secretary and is also a faster typist and organizer. In this case, the attorney has an absolute advantage in both the production of legal services and secretarial work. Comparative advantage is one of the most important concepts in economic theory and a fundamental tenet of the argument that all actors, at all times, can mutually benefit from cooperation and voluntary trade. It is also a foundational principle in the theory of international trade. Learn what is opportunity cost, including the opportunity cost definition, assessment and examples. An important part of marketing is establishing competitive prices for goods and services.