Economies Of Scale

Definition of 'Economies Of Scale'


The cost advantage that arises with increased output of a product. Economies of scale arise because of the inverse relationship between the quantity produced and per-unit fixed costs; i.e. the greater the quantity of a good produced, the lower the per-unit fixed cost because these costs are shared over a larger number of goods. Economies of scale may also reduce variable costs per unit because of operational efficiencies and synergies. Economies of scale can be classified into two main types: Internal – arising from within the company; and External – arising from extraneous factors such as industry size.

Investopedia explains 'Economies Of Scale'


“Economies of scale” is a simple concept that can be demonstrated through an example. Assume you are a small business owner and are considering printing a marketing brochure. The printer quotes a price of $5,000 for 500 brochures, and $10,000 for 2,500 copies. While 500 brochures will cost you $10 per brochure, 2,500 will only cost you $4 per brochure. In this case, the printer is passing on part of the cost advantage of printing a larger number of brochures to you. This cost advantage arises because the printer has the same initial set-up cost regardless of whether the number of brochures printed is 500 or 2,500. Once these costs are covered, there is only a marginal extra cost for printing each additional brochure.

Economies of scale can arise in several areas within a large enterprise. While the benefits of this concept in areas such as production and purchasing are obvious, economies of scale can also impact areas like finance. For example, the largest companies often have a lower cost of capital than small firms because they can borrow at lower interest rates. As a result, economies of scale are often cited as a major rationale when two companies announce a merger or takeover.

However, there is a finite upper limit to how large an organization can grow to achieve economies of scale. After reaching a certain size, it becomes increasingly expensive to manage a gigantic organization for a number of reasons, including its complexity, bureaucratic nature and operating inefficiencies. This undesirable phenomenon is referred to as "diseconomies of scale".

Want to know more? Read What Are Economies Of Scale?



Related Video for 'Economies Of Scale'

comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities - TIPS

    A treasury security that is indexed to inflation in order to protect investors from the negative effects of inflation. TIPS are considered an extremely low-risk investment since they are backed by the U.S. government and since their par value rises with inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, while their interest rate remains fixed.
  2. Gilt-Edged Switching

    The selling and repurchasing of certain high-grade stocks or bonds to capture profits. Gilt-edged switching involves gilt-edged security, which can be high-grade stock or bond issued by a financially stable company such as the Blue Chip companies or by certain governments.
  3. Master Limited Partnership - MLP

    A type of limited partnership that is publicly traded. There are two types of partners in this type of partnership: The limited partner is the person or group that provides the capital to the MLP and receives periodic income distributions from the MLP's cash flow, whereas the general partner is the party responsible for managing the MLP's affairs and receives compensation that is linked to the performance of the venture.
  4. Class Action

    An action where an individual represents a group in a court claim. The judgment from the suit is for all the members of the group (class).
  5. Retail Sales

    An aggregated measure of the sales of retail goods over a stated time period, typically based on a data sampling that is extrapolated to model an entire country. In the U.S., the retail sales report is a monthly economic indicator compiled and released by the Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce.
  6. Okun's Law

    The relationship between an economy's unemployment rate and its gross national product (GNP). Twentieth-century economist Arthur Okun developed this idea, which states that when unemployment falls by 1%, GNP rises by 3%. However, the law only holds true for the U.S.
Trading Center