Average variable cost

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A U-shaped short-run Average Variable Cost (AVC) curve. AC is the Average (Fixed plus Variable) Cost, AFC the Average Fixed Cost, MC the marginal cost crossing the minimum points of both the Average Cost curve and the Average Variable Cost curve.

In economics, average variable cost (AVC) is a firm's variable costs (labour, electricity, etc.) divided by the quantity of output produced. Variable costs are those costs which vary with the output level:

where = variable cost, = average variable cost, and = quantity of output produced.

Average variable cost plus average fixed cost equals average total cost:

A firm would choose to shut down if average revenue is below average variable cost at the profit-maximizing positive level of output. Producing anything would not generate revenue significant enough to offset the associated variable costs; producing some output would add losses (additional costs in excess of revenues) to the costs inevitably being incurred (the fixed costs). By not producing, the firm loses only the fixed costs.

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