The Shutdown Point

The possibility that a firm might earn accident raises a question: Why can the firm not stop losses through shutting down and not creating at all? The answer is the shutting down can reduce variable prices to zero, however in the short run, the for sure has currently paid for addressed costs. Together a result, if the certain produces a quantity of zero, it would still make losses since it would still must pay for its resolved costs. So, when a for sure is experiencing losses, the must confront a question: should it proceed producing or need to it close up door down?

As an example, think about the case of the Yoga Center, which has signed a contract to rent an are that prices $10,000 every month. If the certain decides come operate, the marginal expenses for rental yoga teachers is $15,000 for the month. If the firm shuts down, it need to still salary the rent, but it would not have to hire labor. Let’s take it a look at three feasible scenarios. In the very first scenario, the Yoga facility does not have any kind of clients, and also therefore does no make any kind of revenues, in which instance it deals with losses the $10,000 equal to the resolved costs. In the second scenario, the Yoga center has clients the earn the facility revenues that $10,000 because that the month, however ultimately experiences losses that $15,000 as result of having to hire yoga instructors to cover the classes. In the 3rd scenario, the Yoga facility earns earnings of $20,000 for the month, but experiences accident of $5,000.

You are watching: If a firm decides to produce no output in the short run, its costs will be

In all 3 cases, the Yoga facility loses money. In all 3 cases, when the rental contract expires in the lengthy run, presume revenues carry out not improve, the firm should exit this business. In the short run, though, the decision varies depending upon the level of losses and also whether the firm deserve to cover its change costs. In scenario 1, the center does no have any type of revenues, so rental yoga teachers would increase variable costs and losses, so it must shut down and also only incur its addressed costs. In script 2, the center’s losses are greater since it does no make sufficient revenue to balance out the boosted variable costs plus addressed costs, for this reason it have to shut under immediately. If price is below the minimum median variable cost, the firm must shut down. In contrast, in script 3 the revenue the the center can knife is high sufficient that the casualty diminish as soon as it continues to be open, therefore the facility should remain open in the short run.

Should the Yoga center Shut Down currently or Later?

Scenario 1

If the facility shuts under now, revenues are zero yet it will not incur any variable costs and would only must pay fixed expenses of $10,000.

profit = total revenue – (fixed costs + variable cost)

profit = 0 – $10,000 = –$10,000

Scenario 2

The center earns earnings of $10,000, and variable expenses are $15,000. The center should shut under now.

profit = total revenue – (fixed costs + variable cost)

profit = $10,000 – ($10,000 + $15,000) = –$15,000

Scenario 3

The center earns earnings of $20,000, and variable prices are $15,000. The facility should proceed in business.

profit = total revenue – (fixed costs + variable cost)

profit = $20,000 – ($10,000 + $15,000) = –$5,000

This example suggests that the crucial factor is whether a firm can earn enough revenues come cover at least its variable costs by staying open. Let’s return now to ours raspberry farm. Figure 8.6 illustrates this class by adding the mean variable cost curve come the marginal cost and average price curves. In ~ a price that $2.20 every pack, as shown in figure 8.6 (a), the farm produces in ~ a level of 50. That is do losses the $56 (as explained earlier), yet price is above average change cost and so the firm continues to operate. However, if the price declined to $1.80 per pack, as presented in figure 8.6 (b), and also if the firm used its dominion of creating where ns = mr = MC, that would create a quantity of 40. This price is listed below average variable expense for this level the output. If the farmer can not pay workers (the change costs), then it needs to shut down. In ~ this price and also output, full revenues would certainly be $72 (quantity the 40 times price the $1.80) and also total cost would be $144, for in its entirety losses the $72. If the farm shuts down, it should pay only its fixed costs of $62, therefore shutting down is preferable to selling at a price of $1.80 every pack.

Figure 8.6. The Shutdown point for the Raspberry Farm. In (a), the farm yard produces at a level of 50. The is do losses the $56, but price is over average change cost, so it proceeds to operate. In (b), complete revenues room $72 and total price is $144, for in its entirety losses of $72. If the farm shuts down, it have to pay just its fixed expenses of $62. Shutting under is preferable to offering at a price that $1.80 every pack.

Looking in ~ Table 8.6, if the price falls below $2.05, the minimum typical variable cost, the firm should shut down.

Table 8.6. Cost of manufacturing for the Raspberry Farm

QuantityTotalCostFixedCostVariableCostMarginalCostAverageCostAverageVariable Cost

The intersection of the average variable cost curve and the marginal expense curve, which mirrors the price where the firm would lack enough revenue to cover its variable costs, is called the shutdown point. If the perfect competitive firm have the right to charge a price above the shutdown point, climate the firm is at the very least covering its median variable costs. The is also making enough revenue to cover at least a section of addressed costs, for this reason it need to limp ahead even if that is making losses in the quick run, since at the very least those losses will certainly be smaller than if the certain shuts under immediately and incurs a loss same to complete fixed costs. However, if the firm is receiving a price below the price at the shutdown point, climate the certain is not also covering its change costs. In this case, staying open up is make the firm’s accident larger, and also it have to shut down immediately. To summarize, if:

price price = minimum median variable cost, climate firm stays in business


The mean cost and average variable expense curves division the marginal cost curve into three segments, as displayed in number 8.7. At the industry price, i beg your pardon the perfectly competitive firm accepts as given, the profit-maximizing firm chooses the calculation level where price or marginal revenue, which are the same thing for a perfectly competitive firm, is same to marginal cost: p = mr = MC.

Figure 8.7. Profit, Loss, Shutdown. The marginal expense curve can be split into 3 zones, based upon where the is crossed by the mean cost and average variable cost curves. The allude where MC crosses AC is referred to as the zero-profit point. If the firm is operating at a level that output whereby the sector price is at a level higher than the zero-profit point, then price will be higher than mean cost and also the certain is earning profits. If the price is exactly at the zero-profit point, then the certain is make zero profits. If price falls in the zone in between the shutdown point and the zero-profit point, climate the certain is make losses but will continue to run in the short run, because it is extending its variable costs. However, if price falls below the price at the shutdown point, climate the firm will certainly shut under immediately, since it is not also covering its variable costs.

First take into consideration the upper zone, where prices are above the level wherein marginal price (MC) crosses average cost (AC) in ~ the zero benefit point. At any kind of price above that level, the firm will certainly earn revenues in the brief run. If the price falls precisely on the zero profit point where the MC and AC curves cross, then the certain earns zero profits. If a price falls into the zone between the zero profit point, whereby MC the cross AC, and also the shutdown point, where MC crosses AVC, the firm will be make losses in the brief run—but since the for sure is an ext than covering its variable costs, the casualty are smaller than if the certain shut under immediately. Finally, take into consideration a price in ~ or listed below the shutdown suggest where MC crosses AVC. At any kind of price like this one, the firm will shut down immediately, because it cannot even cover its change costs.

Watch this video clip to check out an shown example the zero profit, or the typical profit, point:

MARGINAL COST and also THE FIRM’S it is provided CURVE

For a perfectly competitive firm, the marginal cost curve is similar to the firm’s it is provided curve beginning from the minimum point on the average variable expense curve. To recognize why this probably surprising insight holds true, very first think around what the it is provided curve means. A firm checks the market price and also then looks at its it is provided curve to decide what quantity to produce. Now, think around what it method to say the a firm will maximize its revenues by developing at the amount where p = MC. This rule means that the firm checks the market price, and then looks in ~ its marginal cost to recognize the quantity to produce—and provides sure that the price is better than the minimum median variable cost. In various other words, the marginal price curve above the minimum point on the average variable cost curve becomes the firm’s it is provided curve.


Watch this video that addresses how drought in the United claims can influence food prices throughout the world. (Note that the story on the drought is the second one in the news report; you need to let the video clip play with the an initial story in bespeak to watch the story ~ above the drought.)

As disputed in the module on Demand and Supply, numerous of the factors that it is provided curves change relate come underlying changes in costs. Because that example, a reduced price of key inputs or new technologies that minimize production costs cause supply to change to the right; in contrast, poor weather or added government regulation can add to costs of particular goods in a means that causes supply to change to the left. These shifts in the firm’s it is provided curve can additionally be taken as move of the marginal price curve. A change in costs of production that rises marginal expenses at all levels of output—and move MC to the left—will cause a perfectly competitive certain to produce less at any given market price. Whereas a transition in prices of production that decreases marginal expenses at every levels of calculation will change MC come the right and also as a result, a competitive for sure will select to expand its level of calculation at any type of given price.


To recognize the short-run economic problem of a firm in perfect competition, monitor the procedures outlined below. Usage the data displayed in Table 8.7 below:

Table 8.7 Calculating Short-Run financial Condition


Step 1. identify the expense structure because that the firm. Because that a given full fixed costs and variable costs, calculate total cost, average variable cost, average full cost, and marginal cost. Follow the formulas provided in the Cost and also Industry framework module. This calculations are shown in Table 8.8 below:

Table 8.8


(5−4)= $28

Step 2. identify the sector price that the for sure receives because that its product. This must be provided information, as the for sure in perfect vain is a price taker. With the offered price, calculate full revenue together equal come price multiply by amount for all calculation levels produced. In this example, the provided price is $30. You can see that in the second column of Table 8.9.

Table 8.9

28. Row 3: in ~ Q = 2, ns = 28, TR is 28x2=$56. Heat 4: in ~ Q = 3, p = 28, TR is 28x3=$84. Heat 5: in ~ Q = 4, ns = 28, TR is 28x4= 112. Heat 6: in ~ Q = 5, ns = 28, TR is 28x5= 140.">QuantityPriceTotal Revenue (P × Q)

Step 3. Calculate earnings as complete cost subtracted from total revenue, as shown in Table 8.10 below:

Table 8.10

QuantityTotal RevenueTotal CostProfits (TR−TC)

Step 4. To discover the profit-maximizing output level, look at the Marginal price column (at every output level produced), as shown in Table 8.11, and determine wherein it is same to the industry price. The calculation level where price amounts to the marginal expense is the calculation level that maximizes profits.

Table 8.11


Step 5. once you have identified the profit-maximizing calculation level (in this case, output amount 5), you have the right to look at the lot of revenues made (in this case, $50).

Step 6. If the firm is making economic losses, the firm demands to recognize whether it produces the calculation level where price equals marginal revenue and equals marginal cost or it turn off down and only incurs its resolved costs.

Step 7. for the output level wherein marginal revenue is equal to marginal cost, inspect if the sector price is higher than the average variable price of creating that output level.

If p > AVC but P If ns

In this example, the price the $30 is greater than the AVC ($16.40) of creating 5 devices of output, so the firm proceeds producing.

Watch this video clip to watch an portrayed example the a firm that is facing loses:

Self Check: The Shutdown Point

Answer the question(s) below to see how well you know the topics covered in the ahead section. This quick quiz go not count toward your class in the class, and you deserve to retake the an unlimited number of times.

You’ll have much more success top top the Self check if you’ve completed the reading in this section.

See more: When A Man Kisses Your Forehead ? What It Means When A Guy Kisses Your Forehead

Use this quiz to check your understanding and decide whether to (1) examine the vault section further or (2) relocate on to the next section.