## 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.

### KEY TAKEAWAYS

• In Panel (a), the total product curve for a variable factor in the short run shows that the firm experiences increasing marginal returns from zero to& Fa units of the variable factor (zero to Qa units of output), diminishing marginal returns from Fa to Fb (Qa to Qb units of output), and negative marginal returns beyond Fb units of the variable factor.
• Panel (b) shows that marginal product rises over the range of increasing marginal returns, falls over the range of diminishing marginal returns, and becomes negative over the range of negative marginal returns. Average product rises when marginal product is above it and falls when marginal product is below it.
• In Panel (c), total cost rises at a decreasing rate over the range of output from zero to Qa This was the range of output that was shown in Panel (a) to exhibit increasing marginal returns. Beyond Qa, the range of diminishing marginal returns, total cost rises at an increasing rate. The total cost at zero units of output (shown as the intercept on the vertical axis) is total fixed cost.
• Panel (d) shows that marginal cost falls over the range of increasing marginal returns, then rises over the range of diminishing marginal returns. The marginal cost curve intersects the average total cost and average variable cost curves at their lowest points. Average fixed cost falls as output increases. Note that average total cost equals average variable cost plus average fixed cost.
• Assuming labor is the variable factor of production, the following definitions and relations describe production and cost in the short run:

M P L = Δ Q / Δ L

A P L = Q / L

T V C + T F C = T C

A T C = T C / Q

A V C = T V C / Q

A F C = T F C / Q

M C = Δ T C / Δ Q