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From short-run average cost curves to long-run average cost curves

This graph shows a long run average cost as a sum of minimum short run average costs.
The five different short-run average cost (SRAC) curves each represents a different level of fixed costs, from the low level of fixed costs at SRAC 1 to the high level of fixed costs at SRAC 5 . Other SRAC curves, not shown in the diagram, lie between the ones that are shown here. The long-run average cost (LRAC) curve shows the lowest cost for producing each quantity of output when fixed costs can vary, and so it is formed by the bottom edge of the family of SRAC curves. If a firm wished to produce quantity Q 3 , it would choose the fixed costs associated with SRAC 3 .

The long-run average cost curve shows the cost of producing each quantity in the long run, when the firm can choose its level of fixed costs and thus choose which short-run average costs it desires. If the firm plans to produce in the long run at an output of Q 3 , it should make the set of investments that will lead it to locate on SRAC 3 , which allows producing q 3 at the lowest cost. A firm that intends to produce Q 3 would be foolish to choose the level of fixed costs at SRAC 2 or SRAC 4 . At SRAC 2 the level of fixed costs is too low for producing Q 3 at lowest possible cost, and producing q 3 would require adding a very high level of variable costs and make the average cost very high. At SRAC 4 , the level of fixed costs is too high for producing q 3 at lowest possible cost, and again average costs would be very high as a result.

The shape of the long-run cost curve, as drawn in [link] , is fairly common for many industries. The left-hand portion of the long-run average cost curve, where it is downward- sloping from output levels Q 1 to Q 2 to Q 3 , illustrates the case of economies of scale. In this portion of the long-run average cost curve, larger scale leads to lower average costs. This pattern was illustrated earlier in [link] .

In the middle portion of the long-run average cost curve, the flat portion of the curve around Q 3 , economies of scale have been exhausted. In this situation, allowing all inputs to expand does not much change the average cost of production, and it is called constant returns to scale    . In this range of the LRAC curve, the average cost of production does not change much as scale rises or falls. The following Clear it Up feature explains where diminishing marginal returns fit into this analysis.

How do economies of scale compare to diminishing marginal returns?

The concept of economies of scale, where average costs decline as production expands, might seem to conflict with the idea of diminishing marginal returns, where marginal costs rise as production expands. But diminishing marginal returns refers only to the short-run average cost curve, where one variable input (like labor) is increasing, but other inputs (like capital) are fixed. Economies of scale refers to the long-run average cost curve where all inputs are being allowed to increase together. Thus, it is quite possible and common to have an industry that has both diminishing marginal returns when only one input is allowed to change, and at the same time has increasing or constant economies of scale when all inputs change together to produce a larger-scale operation.

Questions & Answers

what is the best definition of economic?
Humble Reply
what is aggregat demand in open economy
Dagim Reply
Aggregate demand is expressed as the total amount of money exchanged for those goods and services at a specific price level and point in time.
Bayou
What is the full meaning of GDP
Akinbulejo Reply
gross domestic product
Yanish
Gross Domestic Product
bode
Formula for calculating the percentage of change in price, quantity, price elasticity of demand
Augustina Reply
Given that the elasticity of supply for a good is 2 and the percentage change in price is 45%.What is the percentage change in quantity supplied
Mbe Reply
Please don't understand
Augustina
Explain
Adebisi
ok
Owoeye
percentage change should be 44%
Owoeye
state and explainfour function of a costumer service
Egba Reply
the circular flow model of the economy is a simplification showing how the economy works and the relationship between income,production and spending in the economy as a whole
Anna Reply
It is an idea that show us the way the economy works about their income, production, and spending in the economy
Augustina
what is circular flow
Ntokozo Reply
what is economics?
Dorcas Reply
Economics is defined as the science that study human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses.
Emmanuella
economics is a social science concerned with the production,distribution, and consumption of goods and services
Michael
Economics as a science studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means with alternative use.
Augustina
economics can be defined as social science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scare means which have alternative uses.... Lionel C Robins
Owoeye
in 2021 Amazon reduced the annual subscription fee for its prime membership service which provides free two_day shipping on many goods and other benefits, from $119 to $99. Zoppa consulting, an investment firm estimated that before the price reduction, prime had 62million subscribers globally. If so, what is the arc elasticity of demand for a prime membership.
Joan Reply
Differences between microeconomics and macroeconomics
tatiana Reply
Macroeconomics deal with the economy as a whole.that is an economy affect the firm ,government and the households eg.unemployment, whilst Microeconomics deal with the the decision making of households,firm and government separately.
Amah
Microeconomics is the branch of economic which studies the behaviour of individual households, firms and industries whiles macroeconomic studies the economy as a whole. It looks at the economy from a a broader perspective.
Augustina
what is Economics
Ebem Reply
the branch of knowledge concerned with the production, consumption, and transfer of wealth and has Influence by sociology!!!!
Ajay
Economics is the study of how humans make decisions when they want to fulfil their requirements and desires for goods, services and resources.
Abdullah
Economics is the study how humans make decisions in the faces of scarcity.
Rose
economic is the study of how human make decision in the fact of scarcity.
Toang
Economics is a social science which study human behavior as a relationship between earn and scarce mean which have alternative uses
Juliet
what is market structure
Fatima
market structure in economics depicts how firms are differentiated and categorised based on types of goods they sell and how their operations are affected by external factors and elements.
Nasir
what is economic theory
Madara
what is demand
Gooluck Reply
demand is the willingness to purchase something
Mohamed
demand is the potential ability or williness to purchases something at a particular price at a given period of time..
Ahmed
Demand refers to as quantities of a goods and services in which consumers are willing and able to purchase at a given period of time. Demand can also be defined as the desire backed by ability to purchase .
Fadiga
what is demand
John Reply
is the production of goods in scarcity
David
thanks
John
Demand refers to as quantities of a goods and services in which consumers are willing and able to purchase at a given period of time.
Fadiga
Demand refers to the quantity of goods and services that a consumer is willing and able to buy at a given price over a period of time
Augustina
Do high interest rate in a country increase investment
Alfred
Government sector is the place they can gain more investment but the economy as a whole investment decrease
Augustina
what is demand of supply
music Reply
Please is it demand and supply or what
Augustina

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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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