## Production Choices and Costs: The Short Run

Read this section to learn about the behavior of the producer in the short run. Attempt the "Try It" problems at the end of the section before checking your answers. Take a moment to read through the stated learning outcomes for this chapter of the text, which you can find at the beginning of each section. These outcomes should be your goals as you read through the chapter.

### Costs in the Short Run

A firm's costs of production depend on the quantities and prices of its factors of production. Because we expect a firm's output to vary with the firm's use of labor in a specific way, we can also expect the firm's costs to vary with its output in a specific way. We shall put our information about Acme's product curves to work to discover how a firm's costs vary with its level of output.

We distinguish between the costs associated with the use of variable factors of production, which are called variable costs, and the costs associated with the use of fixed factors of production, which are called fixed costs. For most firms, variable costs includes costs for raw materials, salaries of production workers, and utilities. The salaries of top management may be fixed costs; any charges set by contract over a period of time, such as Acme's one-year lease on its building and equipment, are likely to be fixed costs. A term commonly used for fixed costs is overhead. Notice that fixed costs exist only in the short run. In the long run, the quantities of all factors of production are variable, so that all long-run costs are variable.

Total variable cost (TVC) is cost that varies with the level of output. Total fixed cost (TFC) is cost that does not vary with output. Total cost (TC) is the sum of total variable cost and total fixed cost:

Equation 8.3

T V C + T F C = T C