The Impact of Economies of Scale on Firm Efficiency

Categories: BusinessEconomics

When discussing economies of scale, it is important to understand the concept of increased efficiency in production as the number of goods being produced in a firm increases. This efficiency is achieved through the sharing of fixed costs over a larger number of goods, resulting in a lower average cost per unit. Fixed costs, which do not change when output changes, play a significant role in determining the economies of scale for a firm.

There are two main types of economies of scale: internal and external.

Internal economies of scale refer to the benefits that a firm gains from its own growth. These benefits can be seen in various aspects of the business, such as technical, marketing, financial, and managerial economies of scale.

Technical economies of scale are evident in large-scale businesses that can afford to invest in expensive and specialized capital machinery. This investment leads to increased output levels and decreased costs, as fewer workers are needed in specialized fields.

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Additionally, larger businesses often benefit from the specialization of the workforce, where complex production processes are divided into separate tasks to boost productivity.

Marketing economies of scale are another advantage for large firms, as they can spread their advertising and marketing budget over a larger output. This allows them to purchase inputs in bulk at discounted prices and negotiate better deals with suppliers. For example, major food retailers leverage their buying power to secure supplies from farmers and other suppliers at lower costs.

Financial economies of scale are also common in larger firms, as they are typically viewed as more 'credit worthy' by financial markets.

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This perception gives them access to credit facilities with favorable borrowing rates. Businesses quoted on the stock market can raise additional financial capital more easily through the issuance of shares, which can be done at a lower cost compared to smaller firms.

Managerial economies of scale come into play as firms grow in size. In smaller firms, the manager often takes on multiple roles, including directing staff, managing the office, and handling accounting tasks. However, as the firm expands, specialist managers can be appointed to oversee specific functions, leading to increased efficiency and lower costs per unit of output.

On the other hand, external economies of scale are benefits that firms derive from the growth of the industry as a whole, rather than from a specific firm. These external benefits can be observed in various sectors, such as communication and transport, education, housing, and banking and insurance.

Communication and transport improvements are a common external economy of scale, as the growth of industries leads to better infrastructure and increased availability of transportation options. For example, the development of more railway lines can reduce distribution costs for firms operating in the area.

Education is another area where external economies of scale can be seen, as the demand for specific skills drives the need for more colleges and universities to train the labor force. This results in a more skilled workforce that can meet the demands of growing industries.

Housing improvements also play a role in external economies of scale, as firms located in sparsely populated or inconvenient areas can attract more workers with better housing and living facilities. This encourages people to move into the area and work for the firm, ultimately benefiting both the business and the local community.

Lastly, the development of banking and insurance services in an area can attract more people and businesses, leading to increased economic activity and growth. This external economy of scale creates a more favorable environment for firms to operate and expand their operations.


Updated: Feb 15, 2024
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The Impact of Economies of Scale on Firm Efficiency. (2018, Sep 19). Retrieved from

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