The Short- and Long-Run Marginal Cost Curve: A Pedagogical Note

Journal of Economic Education, Vol. 24, No. 1, pp. 34-37, Winter 1993

4 Pages Posted: 29 Dec 2009 Last revised: 3 Aug 2010

See all articles by Robert L. Sexton

Robert L. Sexton

Pepperdine University - Economics Department

Philip E. Graves

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics

Dwight Lee

University of Georgia - C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business - Department of Economics

Date Written: Winter 1993

Abstract

The standard textbook description of relationship between the LRMC and the SRMC for output levels below the optimum for a particular plant size is typically misleading and imprecise. Students are frequently confused as to how the SRMC can ever be below the LRMC since everything is variable in the long run. We clarify the reasoning in ways that have intuitive appeal.

Keywords: Short run marginal cost curve, Long run marginal cost curve, economic education

JEL Classification: A22, A23

Suggested Citation

Sexton, Robert L. and Graves, Philip E. and Lee, Dwight, The Short- and Long-Run Marginal Cost Curve: A Pedagogical Note (Winter 1993). Journal of Economic Education, Vol. 24, No. 1, pp. 34-37, Winter 1993. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1529130

Robert L. Sexton

Pepperdine University - Economics Department ( email )

24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
United States

Philip E. Graves (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics ( email )

Campus Box 256
Boulder, CO 80309-0256
United States

Dwight Lee

University of Georgia - C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

Athens, GA 30602-6254
United States

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