The Shutdown Point

The opportunity that a firm might earn casualty raises a question: Why have the right to the for sure not avoid losses through shutting down and also not creating at all? The prize is the shutting down deserve to reduce variable costs to zero, but in the short run, the firm has currently paid for resolved costs. As a result, if the firm produces a quantity of zero, it would still do losses because it would still need to pay because that its addressed costs. So, when a for sure is suffering losses, that must challenge a question: have to it proceed producing or have to it shut down?

As an example, take into consideration the case of the Yoga Center, which has actually signed a contract come rent room that costs $10,000 every month. If the for sure decides come operate, that marginal prices for hiring yoga teachers is $15,000 for the month. If the firm turn off down, it need to still pay the rent, but it would not have to hire labor. Let’s take it a look at three feasible scenarios. In the an initial scenario, the Yoga facility does no have any type of clients, and also therefore does no make any type of revenues, in which instance it deals with losses of $10,000 equal to the resolved costs. In the 2nd scenario, the Yoga center has clients the earn the center revenues the $10,000 because that the month, but ultimately experience losses the $15,000 due to having to rental yoga instructors come cover the classes. In the 3rd scenario, the Yoga center earns earnings of $20,000 because that the month, but experiences accident of $5,000.

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In all 3 cases, the Yoga center loses money. In all three cases, once the rental contract expires in the long run, presume revenues execute not improve, the certain should leave this business. In the short run, though, the decision varies depending upon the level the losses and whether the firm deserve to cover its change costs. In scenario 1, the center does not have any revenues, so hiring yoga teachers would increase variable costs and losses, therefore it must shut down and also only incur its addressed costs. In scenario 2, the center’s losses room greater because it does no make sufficient revenue to balance out the increased variable costs plus solved costs, for this reason it have to shut under immediately. If price is below the minimum mean variable cost, the firm must shut down. In contrast, in scenario 3 the revenue the the center can earn is high sufficient that the casualty diminish once it stays open, for this reason the facility should remain open up in the short run.

Should the Yoga center Shut Down currently or Later?

Scenario 1

If the facility shuts under now, revenues are zero but it will certainly not incur any variable costs and would only need to pay fixed costs of $10,000.

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

profit = 0 – $10,000 = –$10,000

Scenario 2

The facility earns earnings of $10,000, and variable costs are $15,000. The center should shut down now.

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

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

Scenario 3

The center earns revenues of $20,000, and also variable costs are $15,000. The center should continue in business.

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

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

This example suggests that the an essential factor is whether a firm can earn enough revenues come cover at the very least its variable costs by staying open. Let’s return currently to our raspberry farm. Figure 8.6 illustrates this lesson by including the average variable cost curve to the marginal cost and average price curves. At a price that $2.20 per pack, as presented in number 8.6 (a), the farm yard produces in ~ a level the 50. That is do losses the $56 (as explained earlier), yet price is over average variable cost and also so the firm continues to operate. However, if the price decreased to $1.80 every pack, as presented in number 8.6 (b), and if the firm used its dominion of producing where ns = grandfather = MC, the would develop a quantity of 40. This price is listed below average variable price for this level that output. If the farmer can not pay employees (the change costs), then it has to shut down. At this price and output, total revenues would be $72 (quantity that 40 time price that $1.80) and also total cost would be $144, for overall losses of $72. If the farm shuts down, it should pay just its fixed prices of $62, therefore shutting down is preferable to selling at a price that $1.80 every pack.

Figure 8.6. The Shutdown allude for the Raspberry Farm. In (a), the farm produces at a level of 50. That is do losses the $56, yet price is above average change cost, therefore it proceeds to operate. In (b), total revenues space $72 and also total price is $144, for in its entirety losses the $72. If the farm yard shuts down, it must pay just its fixed expenses of $62. Shutting down is preferable to offering at a price the $1.80 every pack.

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

Table 8.6. Expense of production for the Raspberry Farm

QuantityTotalCostFixedCostVariableCostMarginalCostAverageCostAverageVariable Cost

The intersection the the median variable price curve and also the marginal price curve, which mirrors the price wherein the firm would lack sufficient revenue come cover its change costs, is dubbed the shutdown point. If the perfect competitive firm have the right to charge a price above the shutdown point, climate the for sure is at the very least covering its mean variable costs. It is additionally making enough revenue to cover at least a part of resolved costs, therefore it must limp ahead also if the is do losses in the quick run, because at least those losses will be smaller sized than if the firm shuts down immediately and incurs a loss equal to complete fixed costs. However, if the for sure is receiving a price listed below the price in ~ the shutdown point, climate the certain is not also covering its variable costs. In this case, staying open is do the firm’s losses larger, and it have to shut under immediately. Come summarize, if:

price price = minimum mean variable cost, climate firm remains in business


The typical cost and also average variable price curves division the marginal price curve right into three segments, as displayed in figure 8.7. In ~ the industry price, i beg your pardon the perfectly competitive for sure accepts together given, the profit-maximizing firm choose the calculation level whereby price or marginal revenue, which room the exact same thing for a perfect competitive firm, is same to marginal cost: ns = grandfather = MC.

Figure 8.7. Profit, Loss, Shutdown. The marginal price curve deserve to be divided into three zones, based upon where that is crossed by the mean cost and average variable price curves. The allude where MC crosses AC is called the zero-profit point. If the for sure is operation at a level of output wherein the industry price is at a level greater than the zero-profit point, climate price will certainly be higher than typical cost and also the for sure is earning profits. If the price is precisely at the zero-profit point, then the firm is making zero profits. If price falls in the zone between the shutdown point and the zero-profit point, climate the firm is do losses however will continue to operate in the quick run, since it is extending its change costs. However, if price falls listed below the price in ~ the shutdown point, climate the firm will certainly shut down immediately, because it is not even covering its variable costs.

First think about the upper zone, wherein prices are above the level wherein marginal expense (MC) the cross average price (AC) at the zero benefit point. At any kind of price above that level, the firm will earn revenues in the quick run. If the price falls precisely on the zero profit point where the MC and AC curve cross, then the firm earns zero profits. If a price drops into the zone in between the zero benefit 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 firm is more than spanning its variable costs, the accident are smaller sized than if the certain shut down immediately. Finally, take into consideration a price in ~ or below the shutdown suggest where MC the cross AVC. At any kind of price favor this one, the firm will shut under immediately, since it cannot also cover its change costs.

Watch this video to view an shown example the zero profit, or the regular profit, point:


For a perfectly competitive firm, the marginal price curve is similar to the firm’s it is provided curve beginning from the minimum suggest on the average variable price curve. To recognize why this possibly surprising insight holds true, first think about what the supply curve means. A firm checks the industry price and then looks at its supply curve to decide what amount to produce. Now, think about what it way to say that a firm will certainly maximize its profits by developing at the quantity where p = MC. This rule method that the firm check the sector price, and also then looks at its marginal expense to determine the quantity to produce—and makes sure the the price is higher than the minimum average variable cost. In various other words, the marginal cost curve above the minimum allude on the average variable expense curve i do not care the firm’s supply curve.


Watch this video that addresses just how drought in the United states can affect food prices throughout the world. (Note the the story on the drought is the 2nd one in the news report; you should let the video clip play through the an initial story in bespeak to watch the story top top the drought.)

As disputed in the module top top Demand and Supply, countless of the factors that supply curves transition relate come underlying alters in costs. Because that example, a lower price of an essential inputs or brand-new technologies that mitigate production costs reason supply to transition to the right; in contrast, poor weather or included government regulations can include to prices of details goods in a method that reasons supply to shift to the left. This shifts in the firm’s supply curve can also be understood as move of the marginal expense curve. A shift in prices of production that boosts marginal prices at every levels the output—and move MC come the left—will reason a perfect competitive certain to produce less at any type of given industry price. Whereas a shift in costs of production that to reduce marginal prices at all levels of calculation will change MC come the right and also as a result, a competitive firm will choose to broaden its level of calculation at any type of given price.


To identify the short-run economic condition of a firm in perfect competition, monitor the procedures outlined below. Usage the data shown in Table 8.7 below:

Table 8.7 Calculating Short-Run financial Condition


Step 1. determine the expense structure for the firm. Because that a given total fixed costs and variable costs, calculate complete cost, typical variable cost, average total cost, and marginal cost. Follow the formulas provided in the Cost and Industry structure module. This calculations are presented in Table 8.8 below:

Table 8.8


(5−4)= $28

Step 2. recognize the market price the the certain receives because that its product. This have to be provided information, as the firm in perfect competition is a price taker. Through the offered price, calculate total revenue together equal to price multiply by quantity for all output levels produced. In this example, the provided price is $30. You have the right to see that in the 2nd column that Table 8.9.

Table 8.9

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

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

Table 8.10

QuantityTotal RevenueTotal CostProfits (TR−TC)

Step 4. To uncover the profit-maximizing calculation level, look in ~ the Marginal price column (at every calculation level produced), as presented in Table 8.11, and determine wherein it is same to the market price. The output level where price equals the marginal price is the output level the maximizes profits.

Table 8.11


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

Step 6. If the firm is making financial losses, the firm requirements to determine whether that produces the output level whereby price equals marginal revenue and also equals marginal price or it turn off down and only incurs its addressed costs.

Step 7. for the calculation level wherein marginal revenue is same to marginal cost, check if the sector price is better than the median variable price of developing that output level.

If ns > AVC but P If ns

In this example, the price the $30 is greater than the AVC ($16.40) of developing 5 units of output, for this reason the firm continues producing.

Watch this video to check out an illustrated example the a firm that is facing loses:

Self Check: The Shutdown Point

Answer the question(s) listed below to see exactly how well you understand the topics extended in the vault section. This brief quiz does not count towards your grade in the class, and also you can retake it an unlimited number of times.

You’ll have more success on the Self examine if did you do it completed the reading in this section.

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Use this quiz to inspect your understanding and decide even if it is to (1) examine the vault section more or (2) move on to the next section.