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A numerical example of absolute and comparative advantage

Consider a hypothetical world with two countries, Saudi Arabia and the United States, and two products, oil and corn. Further assume that consumers in both countries desire both these goods. These goods are homogeneous, meaning that consumers/producers cannot differentiate between corn or oil from either country. There is only one resource available in both countries, labor hours. Saudi Arabia can produce oil with fewer resources, while the United States can produce corn with fewer resources. [link] illustrates the advantages of the two countries, expressed in terms of how many hours it takes to produce one unit of each good.

How many hours it takes to produce oil and corn
Country Oil (hours per barrel) Corn (hours per bushel)
Saudi Arabia 1 4
United States 2 1

In [link] , Saudi Arabia has an absolute advantage in the production of oil because it only takes an hour to produce a barrel of oil compared to two hours in the United States. The United States has an absolute advantage in the production of corn.

To simplify, let’s say that Saudi Arabia and the United States each have 100 worker hours (see [link] ). We illustrate what each country is capable of producing on its own using a production possibility frontier (PPF) graph, shown in [link] . Recall from Choice in a World of Scarcity that the production possibilities frontier shows the maximum amount that each country can produce given its limited resources, in this case workers, and its level of technology.

Production possibilities before trade
Country Oil Production using 100 worker hours (barrels) Corn Production using 100 worker hours (bushels)
Saudi Arabia 100 or 25
United States 50 or 100

Production possibilities frontiers

These graphs illustrate the production possibilities frontier before trade for both Saudi Arabia and the United States using the data in the table titled “Production Possibilities before Trade”. The x-axis plots corn production, measured by bushels, and the y-axis plots oil, in terms of barrels. All points above the frontier are impossible to produce given the current level of resources and technology.
(a) Saudi Arabia can produce 100 barrels of oil at maximum and zero corn (point A), or 25 bushels of corn and zero oil (point B). It can also produce other combinations of oil and corn if it wants to consume both goods, such as at point C. Here it chooses to produce/consume 60 barrels of oil, leaving 40 work hours that can be allocated to producing 10 bushels of corn, using the data in [link] . (b) If the United States produces only oil, it can produce, at maximum, 50 barrels and zero corn (point A'), or at the other extreme, it can produce a maximum of 100 bushels of corn and no oil (point B'). Other combinations of both oil and corn are possible, such as point C'. All points above the frontiers are impossible to produce given the current level of resources and technology.

Arguably Saudi and U.S. consumers desire both oil and corn to live. Let’s say that before trade occurs, both countries produce and consume at point C or C'. Thus, before trade, the Saudi Arabian economy will devote 60 worker hours to produce oil, as shown in [link] . Given the information in [link] , this choice implies that it produces/consumes 60 barrels of oil. With the remaining 40 worker hours, since it needs four hours to produce a bushel of corn, it can produce only 10 bushels. To be at point C', the U.S. economy devotes 40 worker hours to produce 20 barrels of oil and the remaining worker hours can be allocated to produce 60 bushels of corn.

Questions & Answers

Inflation is defined as the rise in price of a commodity.
Nureni Reply
It is defined as the rise in price of a commodity.
Nureni
the persistent rise in the prices of goods and services. or commodities.
SULEIMAN
pls the third and fourth law of supply
Yarouh
what's GDP?
Allen
gross domestic product
Annor
GDP stands for Gross Domestic Product
Sande
yes
HlobisileM
what us maxima and minima
MiXUP Reply
Maxima s below equilibrium. Whilst minima s above. Equilibrium
Afran
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Afran
is the willingness and the ability of a consumer to purchase goods at a given price and at a particular point in time.
Assan
Ohhk different question? Ask
Afran
why is the demand curve downwards sloppy?
Assan
3 Reasons.. 1... diminishing marginal utility 2... substitution effect 3...income effect
Harshita
thanks
Assan
Because of the negative or inverse relationship between price and quantity demanded
Afran
what is the law of diminishing returns states?
Assan
ohk
Assan
The law states that all other things being equall as much of variable factor(labour) is employed on fixed factor(land) the marginal product rises..attain a maximum and begins to fall.
Afran
What is income elasticity of demand
Afran
what is monetary policy
Edward
Monetary policy is an attempt to influence the economy by opera ting in such monetary variables
Afran
thanks
Edward
Wlcm
Afran
Wht is disutility?
Afran
is disutility? is rightly writing?
Yhlas
is it i wanna say
Yhlas
Yes please Disutility
Afran
what is macro economics?
Oyas
the branch of economics concerned with large-scale or general economic factors, such as interest rates and national productivity.
idk
in other words it is the study of the economic as a whole
idk
What is an Economic growth
Ayumo Reply
Economic growth is the process whereby the real per capita income of an economy increases over a long period of time.
Nureni
what is the generally accepted defination of economics and by who
IDY Reply
Economics is defined by Lionel Robbins as a social science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses
Tba
Importance of economic
Achike Reply
Helps in decision making
MP
I need like 5 importance
Achike
hi
Physcal
Hey
Muhammad
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juwel
hello
Al-ameen
Hello
MP
it helps an individual in rational decision making process
Assan
Fine and u
Buzabaryaho
how does it make individual in rational dicision making decisions
Annor
if an individual is faced with unlimited wants.
Assan
it also helps an individual in arranging their wants in order of their importance.
Assan
ohk
Annor
ok
Al-ameen
Hello guys
Radah
My name is Radah
Radah
Please what is a scale of preference used for?
Radah
it's use for arranging wants in order of their importance.
Assan
in other words when an individual is faced with unlimited wants,scale of preference would help the individual to select the most important wants.
Assan
Thanks
Radah
welcome
Assan
what is tourism
forgive Reply
Tourism is travel for pleasure or business
Yusuf
It is the commercial organization and operation of holidays and visits to places of interest.
Nureni
who is a price taker?
sam Reply
A price taker is a person or a company who have no control to dictate a prices of a goods or services
Unique
Someone who sets price
Nureni
In the trading world, a price taker is a trader who does not affect the price of the stock if he or she buys or sells shares.
Nureni
A price taker refers to a firm or an individual who sets the price of his good and services based on an external factor. In other words he cannot choose and set a price by himself. An example is a firm operating in perfect competition where prices are set through the price mechanism.
Tba
in a common and suitable sense state the law of diminishing returns
Unique Reply
The higher the satisfaction derived from a particular commodity,the lower the demand for it but that law doesn't match in some instances.
Nureni
state the features of an imperfect competitive market
Naomi
@NURENI instance like wat
Unique
imperfect competitive market involves large number of sellers and buyers price makers selling cost product differentiation free entry and exit of a firms
Unique
is economics a science
Alex Reply
yes. a social science.
Carlos
Yes of cause It uses scientific principles in its research. That is to say, analyzing data, making experiment as well as making deductions and drawing conclusions
Aziz
U can understand the scientific nature of economics by learning about the methods used by Abhijit Banerjee(indian) ,the nobel prize laureate 2019.
Harshita
it is considered as a social science
idk
Hence, economics is a science, a social science many can call it, or more appropriately, a young science
Taha
it can be called social science because of behaviour ,which is unpredictable.There r many theroies in economics which make economics a social science But some economic theories makes it science
Harshita
human behaviour*
Harshita
remember science derives from the root words "to know". With that being said most fields of study can be considered as a science or soft science, for they possess key knowledge to attaining understanding of our world.
Alexander
economics is a science cos it deals with human wants, desire or neads in order to satisfy them
Unique
according comparision of political science economic is science.
Hassan
what's the question?
Nureni Reply
question is answering for something to someone
Suheb
Discuss economics system
Henry Reply
discuss institutional system
Henry
Give 3 at most advantages and disadvantages of economics system and institutional syatem
Henry
Give the features characteristics of market or free enterprise
Henry
The structure of an economy is largely determined by the economic system which is a function of the economic ideology of the nation
Nureni
The economic system is grouped into 5 groups: 1: Pure market 2: Developed market 3: Centrally planned or Socialist 4: Mixed market and 5: Market Socialist Economic systems
Nureni
what is inflation
Prince Reply
Inflation is a sustained and general rise in the price of all goods and services of an economy
Tba
hello everyone , I'm New here, third degree price discrimination?
Saeed Reply
2nd degree price discrimination?
Saeed
hi
Kini
hi
Mitchel
Hi
MP
price paid by consumers after the sales tax is called?
Pinias Reply
why government impose price floor on certain products?
Pinias
how can black market be occurred when price ceiling is introduced?
Pinias
How can inflation affect goods and services?
Ph
When prices rise for energy, food, commodities, and other goods and services, the entire economy is affected
Joan
If inflation becomes too high the economy can suffer conversely, if inflation is controlled and at reasonable levels, the economy may prosper. With controlled, lower inflation, employment increases.
Joan
Is it necessary to make decision when it fails you
Evelin Reply
Pls when what fails u
MP
I think so
Kini
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Troy
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Kk
MP
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Ibe
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HlobisileM
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Sande
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Wahab
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HlobisileM
chapter
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HlobisileM
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Abdulai
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kafui
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Ray
Hello guys, what is damping
parheez
It is Dumping not Damping It is defined as selling goods in a foreign country at a price which local producers regard as unfairly low.
Nureni
damping is a place of drop rubbish
Praise
any other ideas
Abdiweli
Dumping is whereby another country takes its unwanted goods (rejects) and sell them in another country.
tafadzwa

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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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