In economics, “there is no such thing as a free lunch!” Even if we are not asked to pay money for something, scarce resources are used up in production and there is an opportunity cost involved.

Opportunity cost measures the cost of any choice in terms of the next best alternative foregone.

  • Work-leisure choices: The opportunity cost of deciding not to work an extra ten hours a week is the lost wages foregone. If you are being paid £7 per hour to work at the local supermarket, if you take a day off from work you might lose over £50 of income
  • Government spending priorities: The opportunity cost of the government spending nearly £10 billion on investment in National Health Service might be that £10 billion less is available for spending on education or improvements to the transport network.
  • Investing today for consumption tomorrow: The opportunity cost of an economy investing resources in capital goods is the production of consumer goods given up for today

Making use of scarce farming land: The opportunity cost of using farmland to grow wheat for bio-fuel means that there is less wheat available for food production causing food prices to rise and increasing the risks of food poverty and malnutrition for millions of the world’s most vulnerable people

Featured
CPD courses

WOW! Economics 2015

WOW! Economics 2015 builds on the phenomenal success of the previous two years with yet another resource-packed day designed to provide teaching colleagues with effective and innovative teaching & learning materials. The feedback on WOW! Economics 2015 has once again been stunning - join Jonny, Bob, Nikki, Ruth, Penny and the tutor2u Economics team for this terrific CPD course.

Learn more ›

You might also like

Reference material

Study presentations

Production Possibility Frontiers

Teaching & learning products

AS Microeconomics Revision Guide

This 48-page, full-colour printed revision guide written by tutor2u's Geoff Riley is designed to support students preparing for their AS Economics exams on microeconomics.

£4.00

AQA AS Economics Worked Answers (2014)

Exemplar A Grade answers to the AQA ECON1 and ECON2 exam papers in summer 2014

£5.00