Average Cost: Definition, Formula & Examples

Total Cost in Economics: Definition & Formula

This includes, for instance, necessary machines, stands, and tables. In other words, fixed costs equal the required investment you need to make to start producing. Total cost in economics can be a Total Cost in Economics: Definition & Formula bit confusing to understand, especially when thinking about how it applies to business. However, if you look at an example in your own life, total cost can be easier to comprehend and calculate.

Total Cost in Economics: Definition & Formula

In the long term, the costs of producing a product are variable and will change from one period to another. For example, the production costs for a motor vehicle tire may include expenses such as rubber, labor needed to produce the product, and various manufacturing supplies. In the service industry, the costs of production may entail the material costs of delivering the service, as well as the labor costs paid to employees tasked with providing the service.


Direct cost refers to the cost of operating core business activity—production costs, raw material cost, and wages paid to factory staff. Such costs can be determined by identifying the expenditure on cost objects.

  • If the raw materials and direct labor costs incurred in the production of shirts are $9 per unit and the company produces 1000 units, then the total variable costs are $9,000.
  • There is also the marginal cost which is likely to come up when dealing with average costs and it is described as the slight increases in the total cost of producing a unit.
  • Fixed CostFixed Cost refers to the cost or expense that is not affected by any decrease or increase in the number of units produced or sold over a short-term horizon.
  • Marginal cost is the cost to produce one additional unit of production.

By figuring out your total cost, you might see that you’re spending a lot more on using the gym than you initially thought. Therefore, you’ll now have to find a way to reduce your variable costs or go to a gym that includes all of these things in your membership fee.

What is Average Total Cost?

Marginal revenue is equal to the selling price of a single additional item that was sold. Cost accounting is a form of managerial accounting that aims to capture a company’s total cost of production by assessing its variable and fixed costs. Help in determination or computation of derivative cost elements such as average cost, average fixed cost, average variable cost and marginal cost.

Total Cost in Economics: Definition & Formula

As we can see from the chart below, marginal costs are made up of both fixed and variable costs. So variable costs often increase alongside marginal costs, but are not the only component. For instance, a business may need to buy a new machine which costs $500,000. This is a one off cost, but is required to produce more goods and is therefore calculated within the marginal cost at a certain point. Similarly, divide fixed costs by the number of units produced to get average fixed costs. Similarly, divide fixed costs by the number of units produced to find average fixed costs.

What Is an Example of Marginal Cost?

So, by definition, they change according to the number of goods or services a business produces. It’s amazing how Uber has been able to convince Wall Street that it is primarily a fixed cost tech platform.