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Home Cost Analysis Average Cost


Average Cost:


Definition and Explanation:


The entrepreneurs are no doubt interested in the total costs but they are equally concerned in knowing the cost per unit of the product. The unit cost figures can be derived from the total fixed cost, total variable cost and total cost by dividing each of them with corresponding output.




(1) Average Fixed Cost (AFC):


Average fixed cost refers to fixed cost per unit of output. Average fixed Cost is found out by dividing the total fixed cost by the corresponding output.





                                                                               Output (Q)


For instance, if the total fixed cost of a shoes factory is $5,000 and it produces 500 pairs of shoes, then the average fixed cost is equal to $10 per unit. If it produces 1,000 pairs of shoes, the average fixed cost is $5 and if the total output is 5,000 pairs of shoes, then the average fixed cost is $1 pair of shoe.


From the above example, it is clear, that the fixed cost, i.e., $5,000 remains the same whether the output is 1,000 or 5,000 units.


Behavior of Average Fixed Cost (AFC):


The average fixed cost begins to fall with the increase in the number of units produced, In our example stated above, average fixed cost in the beginning was $10. As the output of the firm increased, it gradually came down to $1. The AFC diminishes with every increase in the quantity of output produced but it never becomes zero.





The concept of average fixed cost can be explained with the help of the curve, in the diagram (13.4) the average fixed cost curve gradually falls from left to right showing the level of output. The larger the level of output, the lower is the average fixed cost and smaller the level of output, the greater is the average fixed cost. The AFC never becomes zero.


(2) Average Variable Cost (AVC):


Average variable cost refers to the variable expenses per unit of output Average variable cost is obtained by dividing the total variable cost by the total output.


For instance, the total variable cost for producing 100 meters of cloth is $800, the average variable cost will be $8 per meter.






Behavior of Average Variable Cost:


When a firm increases its output, the average variable cost decreases in the beginning, reaches a minimum and then increases. Here, a question can be asked as to why AVC decreases in the beginning reaches a minimum and then increases. The answer to this question is very simple.


When in the beginning, a firm is not producing to its full capacity, then the various factors of production employed for the manufacture of a particular commodity remain partially absorbed. As the output of the firm is increased, they are used to its fullest extent. So the AVC begins to decrease. When the plant works to its full capacity, the AVC is at its minimum. If the production is pushed further from the plant capacity, then less efficient machinery and less, efficient labour may have to be employed. This results in the rise of AVC. It is in this way we say that as the output of a firm increases, the AVC decreases in the beginning, reaches a minimum and then increases. The AVC can also be represented in the form of a curve.





The shape of the average variable cost curve (Fig. 13.5) is like a flat U-shaped curve. It shows that when the output is increased, there is a steady fall in the average variable cost due to increasing returns to variable factor. It is minimum when 500 meters of doth are produced. When production is increased to 600 meters, of cloth or more, the average variable cost begins to increase due to diminishing returns to the variable factor.


(3) Average Total Cost (ATC):


Average total cost refers to cost (both fixed and variable) per unit of output. Average total cost is obtained by dividing the total cost by the total number of commodities produced by the firm or when the total sum of average variable cost and average fixed cost is added together, it becomes equal to average total cost.




ATC =  Total Cost (TC)

                                                                             Output (Q)


Behavior of Average Total Cost:


As the output of a firm increases, average total cost like the average variable cost decreases in the beginning reaches a minimum and then it increases. The reasons for decline of ATC in the beginning are that it is the sum of AFC and AVC.


Average fixed cost and average variable costs have both the tendency to fall as output is increased. Average total cost will continue falling so long average variable cost does not rise. Even if average variable cost continues rising, it is not necessary that the average total cost will rise. It can be due to the fact that the increase in average variable cost is less than the fall in average fixed cost. The increase in average variable cost is counterbalanced by a rapid fall of average fixed cost. If the rise in the average variable cost is greater than the fall in average fixed cost, then the average total cost will rise.


The tendency to rise on the part of average total cost-in the beginning is slow, after a certain point it begins to increase rapidly.





The average total cost is represented here by a shaped curve in Fig. (13.6). The average total cost curve is also like a U-shaped curve. It shows that as production increases from 100 meters to 200 meters of cloth, the cost falls rapidly, reaches a minimum but then with higher level of output, the average fixed cost begins to increase.

Relevant Articles:

Concept of Cost of Production
Concepts of Economic Costs

Analysis of Short Run Cost of Production

Average Cost
Short Run and Long Run Average Cost Curves
Marginal Cost
Relation of Average Variable Cost and Average Total Cost to Marginal Cost

Principles and Theories of Micro Economics
Definition and Explanation of Economics
Theory of Consumer Behavior
Indifference Curve Analysis of Consumer's Equilibrium
Theory of Demand
Theory of Supply
Elasticity of Demand
Elasticity of Supply
Equilibrium of Demand and Supply
Economic Resources
Scale of Production
Laws of Returns
Production Function
Cost Analysis
Various Revenue Concepts
Price and output Determination Under Perfect Competition
Price and Output Determination Under Monopoly
Price and Output Determination Under Monopolistic/Imperfect Competition
Theory of Factor Pricing OR Theory of Distribution
Principles and Theories of Macro Economics
National Income and Its Measurement
Principles of Public Finance
Public Revenue and Taxation
National Debt and Income Determination
Fiscal Policy
Determinants of the Level of National Income and Employment
Determination of National Income
Theories of Employment
Theory of International Trade
Balance of Payments
Commercial Policy
Development and Planning Economics
Introduction to Development Economics
Features of Developing Countries
Economic Development and Economic Growth
Theories of Under Development
Theories of Economic Growth
Agriculture and Economic Development
Monetary Economics and Public Finance

History of Money

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