Chap_3_-_PPF[1] - Production Possibilities Frontier Because...

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Production Possibilities Frontier Because of scarcity, all economies face trade offs in what they choose to produce. It is overwhelming to try to consider all of the possibilities, so we will consider an economy that only produces two things: pizza and beer. I know nothing about actual pizza or beer production, so these numbers are made up. But they illustrate a point. Table 1 includes some statistics for the pizza and beer economy. The first two columns illustrate how many pizzas or beers the economy could make using all available resources. These combinations are called the Productions Possibilities Frontier . This economy could make 25 pizzas and no beers, or 20 pizzas and 5 beers, or 15 pizzas and 9 beers, and so on. Where the people in the economy chose to produce would depend on the people’s preferences. Lets say the economy started by producing 25 pizzas and no beers. After eating all that pizza, people might want some beer to wash it down. But unfortunately at that moment, all of the resources in the economy are being devoted to producing pizzas. Therefore, in order to produce beer, the economy has to reallocate some of those resources that are being used to produce pizza to instead produce beer. This means that they have to give up some pizzas. In the above example, when the economy moves from producing 25 pizzas to 20 pizzas, it can now produce 5 beers. We can now calculate the opportunity cost of those beers. If you remember, the opportunity cost of a good is what you have to give up in order to get that good. Here, if you want to make 5 beers, you have to give up 5 pizzas. Therefore the opportunity cost is: opportunity cost (first five pizzas) = what yougive up what yougain = 5 pizzas 5 beers = 1 pizza perbeer However, lets say that the people in this economy wanted more beer and where willing to give up 5 more pizzas to get it. Now, when they move from 20 pizzas to 15 pizzas they only are able to produce 4 beers. This is called diminishing returns , and normally happens in large-scale production. Diminishing returns happens for a number of reasons. If an economy is using all of its resources to produce pizza, then some of those resources are probably not so good at producing pizza, and would be much more productive at producing beer. Maybe there is a brewer producing pizza, and some beer barrels are being used to hold tomato sauce or something. So the first time the economy shifts resources from producing pizza to producing beer (ie gives up the first five pizzas), the brewer takes his beer barrels and produces a lot of pizza considering the resources he can use. However, if the economy shifts again and gives up another five pizzas so that it can Table 1: Pizza and Beer Economy Pizza Beer Change in Pizza Change in Beer Opp Cost ( Δ P/ Δ B) 25 0 - - - 20 5 5 5 1 15 9 5 4 1.25 10 12 5 3 1.67 5 14 5 2 2.5 0 15 5 1 5
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2011 for the course ECON 100 taught by Professor Pgking during the Spring '08 term at S.F. State.

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Chap_3_-_PPF[1] - Production Possibilities Frontier Because...

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