<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

This example suggests that the key factor is whether a firm can earn enough revenues to cover at least its variable costs by remaining open. Let’s return now to our raspberry farm. [link] illustrates this lesson by adding the average variable cost curve to the marginal cost and average cost curves. At a price of $2.20 per pack, as shown in [link] (a), the farm produces at a level of 50. It is making losses of $56 (as explained earlier), but price is above average variable cost and so the firm continues to operate. However, if the price declined to $1.80 per pack, as shown in [link] (b), and if the firm applied its rule of producing where P = MR = MC, it would produce a quantity of 40. This price is below average variable cost for this level of output. If the farmer cannot pay workers (the variable costs), then it has to shut down. At this price and output, total revenues would be $72 (quantity of 40 times price of $1.80) and total cost would be $144, for overall losses of $72. If the farm shuts down, it must pay only its fixed costs of $62, so shutting down is preferable to selling at a price of $1.80 per pack.

The shutdown point for the raspberry farm

The graphs show that despite negative profits (i.e. losses), firms can continue to operate. However, when prices drop beneath variable cost, firms will shut down
In (a), the farm produces at a level of 50. It is making losses of $56, but price is above average variable cost, so it continues to operate. In (b), total revenues are $72 and total cost is $144, for overall losses of $72. If the farm shuts down, it must pay only its fixed costs of $62. Shutting down is preferable to selling at a price of $1.80 per pack.

Looking at [link] , if the price falls below $2.05, the minimum average variable cost, the firm must shut down.

Cost of production for the raspberry farm
Quantity Total Cost Fixed Cost Variable Cost Marginal Cost Average Cost Average Variable Cost
0 $62 $62 - - - -
10 $90 $62 $28 $2.80 $9.00 $2.80
20 $110 $62 $48 $2.00 $5.50 $2.40
30 $126 $62 $64 $1.60 $4.20 $2.13
40 $144 $62 $82 $1.80 $3.60 $2.05
50 $166 $62 $104 $2.20 $3.32 $2.08
60 $192 $62 $130 $2.60 $3.20 $2.16
70 $224 $62 $162 $3.20 $3.20 $2.31
80 $264 $62 $202 $4.00 $3.30 $2.52
90 $324 $62 $262 $6.00 $3.60 $2.91
100 $404 $62 $342 $8.00 $4.04 $3.42

The intersection of the average variable cost curve and the marginal cost curve, which shows the price where the firm would lack enough revenue to cover its variable costs, is called the shutdown point . If the perfectly competitive firm can charge a price above the shutdown point, then the firm is at least covering its average variable costs. It is also making enough revenue to cover at least a portion of fixed costs, so it should limp ahead even if it is making losses in the short run, since at least those losses will be smaller than if the firm shuts down immediately and incurs a loss equal to total fixed costs. However, if the firm is receiving a price below the price at the shutdown point, then the firm is not even covering its variable costs. In this case, staying open is making the firm’s losses larger, and it should shut down immediately. To summarize, if:

  • price<minimum average variable cost, then firm shuts down
  • price = minimum average variable cost, then firm stays in business

Questions & Answers

what is the effect of inflation in GDP
ahmed Reply
why do inflation effect economic
Chelsea Reply
explain in detail what is economic what is scarcity what is alternate uses
Ejiro Reply
What is law of demand
Hilary
economic as a science refers to study of human resource
Kaunda
Law of demand- With all the factors remaining same if price increases of a commodity, the quantity of demand of that commodity decreases and vice versa
Dey
Thanks dey sunita
Hilary
What is law of supply
Hilary
what are the factors that affect demand
Elly Reply
what are the factors that affect demand of a good
Elly
what are the factors that affect demand of a good
Elly
what are the factors that affect demand of a commodity
Elly
1. the price of the product 2. the price of other products 3. consumers income 4. expectation of future changes in price 5. taste and preference etc.
ALI
what course scarcity
Bashari Reply
Scarcity is the limited availability of a commodity, which may be in demand in the market or by the commons. Scarcity also includes an individual's lack of resources to buy commodities. The opposite of scarcity is abundance.
Marc
Reasons that explain why the division of labor increases an economy's level of production
Chukwuka Reply
Please I don't understand the meaning and the concept of economics as a science
Ophelia Reply
economics as a science refers to the study of human behavior. how they make decisions etc
Saidou
economics is science because it uses scientific methods in analysing societal problems.. observation experimentation and conclusion inherently are used to analyse. however it is not pure science but social science because it studies human and it's environs
Bonney
what's elasticity of demand
Isaac Reply
are u asking because you don't know or what
Stephen
A measure of the responsiveness of a product demanded to a change in market price
Yuusuf
the degree of responsiveness of a product demanded to a little change in the price
Saidou
the degree of responsiveness of quantity demanded of a commodity to the changes in the price if the commodity in question, changes in the price of other related commodities and changes in the income of consumer
Bonney
what is international trade
Kwame Reply
international trade is a trade between foreign country
IYke
it is the exchange of goods and services between countries
Bonney
it's the exchange of goods and services from one foreign country to another
Israel
how is demand run
Ogonna Reply
what s the causes of poverty for human being
Femi Reply
lack of knowledge and resources
Asrat
it is lack of inclusive political and economic institutions in that country given a strong central government.
tesfaye
luck of economics
Donkor
poverty is due to poor system of taxation
Hamza
progressive system of taxation can reduce poverty
Hamza
lack of knowledge
IYke
Isn't it poor system of taxation that causes poverty
Chukwuka
How is a monopoly market different from an oligopoly one?
Antony Reply
Qn.5.a)explain four ways on how elasticity of demand determines the incidence of tax b)design five mechanisms that can be uxed to reduc the gvt expendture in develping countriex lik tz
ALLY
l dont know can l have brief notes
Hilda
What is anatomy and physiology
emeka Reply
Important of monopoly
Daniel Reply
Importance of monopoly
Ibrahim Reply

Get the best Principles of economics course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Principles of economics' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask