You are on page 1of 10

PowerPoint Lecture Notes for Chapter 18: The Markets for the Factors of Production Principles of Microeconomics 4th

edition, by N. Gregory Mankiw PowerPoint Slides by Ron Cronovich

18

The Markets for the Factors of Production


PRINCIPLES OF

MICROECONOMICS
F OURT H E DITIO N

This is the first of a three-chapter sequence that examines the distribution of income and related issues. This chapter develops the neoclassical theory of income distribution, in which each factor of production earns a price that equals the value of its marginal product. This chapter builds on concepts from the earlier chapters entitled The Costs of Production and Firms in Competitive Markets. I highly recommend you cover those chapters before this one. Most students find this chapter to be of average difficulty.

N. G R E G O R Y M A N K I W
PowerPoint Slides by Ron Cronovich
2007 Thomson South-Western, all rights reserved

In this chapter, look for the answers to these questions:

What determines a competitive firms demand


for labor?

How does labor supply depend on the wage?


What other factors affect labor supply?

How do various events affect the equilibrium


wage and employment of labor?

How are the equilibrium prices and quantities of


other inputs determined?
CHAPTER 18 THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION 1

Factors of Production and Factor Markets

Factors of production: the inputs used to


produce goods and services. Labor Land Capital : the equipment and structures used to produce goods and services.

Prices and quantities of these inputs are


determined by supply & demand in factor markets.

CHAPTER 18

THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION

Derived Demand

Markets for the factors of production are like


markets for goods & services, except:

Demand for a factor of production is a derived


demand derived from a firms decision to supply a good in another market.

CHAPTER 18

THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION

Two Assumptions
1. We assume all markets are competitive. The typical firm is a price taker

in the market for the product it produces in the labor market

2. We assume that firms care only about maximizing profits. Each firms supply of output and demand for inputs are derived from this goal.

CHAPTER 18

THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION

Our Example: Farmer Jack

Farmer Jack sells wheat in a perfectly


competitive market.

We used this example in Chapter 13 to introduce the following concepts: * production function * marginal product of labor * diminishing marginal product
5

He hires workers in a perfectly competitive labor


market.

When deciding how many workers to hire,


Farmer Jack maximizes profits by thinking at the margin: If the benefit from hiring another worker exceeds the cost, Jack will hire that worker.

CHAPTER 18

THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION

Here, we briefly review these concepts and then use them to derive Farmer Jacks demand for labor.

Our Example: Farmer Jack

Cost of hiring another worker:


the wage the price of labor

Benefit of hiring another worker:


Jack can produce more wheat to sell, increasing his revenue.

The size of this benefit depends on Jacks


production function: the relationship between the quantity of inputs used to make a good and the quantity of output of that good.

CHAPTER 18

THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION

Farmer Jacks Production Function


Q L (bushels (no. of of wheat workers) per week) 0 1 2 3 4 5 0 1000 1800 2400 2800 3000
3,000

Quantity of output

2,500 2,000 1,500 1,000 500 0 0 1 2 3 4 5

No. of workers
7

CHAPTER 18

THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION

Marginal Product of Labor (MPL) Marginal product of labor: the increase in the
amount of output from an additional unit of labor

Q MPL = L where Q = change in output L = change in labor

CHAPTER 18

THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION

The Value of the Marginal Product


Problem:

cost of hiring another worker (wage) is measured in dollars benefit of hiring another worker ( MPL) is measured in units of output

Solution: convert MPL to dollars Value of the marginal product: the marginal
product of an input times the price of the output VMPL = value of the marginal product of labor = P x MPL
CHAPTER 18 THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION 9

ACTIVE LEARNING

1: Computing MPL and VMPL


P = $5/bushel. Find MPL and VMPL, fill them in the blank spaces of the table. Then graph a curve with VMPL on the vertical axis, L on horiz axis.
L Q (no. of (bushels workers) of wheat) 0 1 2 3 4 5 0 1000 1800 2400 2800 3000
10

MPL

VMPL

This exercise should not be difficult. But students are more likely to remember how to compute MPL and VMPL if we make them do it instead of just showing them the results. And students have computed lots of marginal things from preceding chapters, so all they should need to do this exercise is the definitions of MPL and VMPL from the preceding slides.

ACTIVE LEARNING

Answers
Farmer Jacks production function exhibits diminishing marginal product: MPL falls as L increases. This property is very common.

1:

Q L MPL = VMPL = (no. of (bushels workers) of wheat) Q/L P x MPL 0 1 2 3 4 5 0 1000 1800 2400 2800 3000 1000 800 600 400 200 $5,000 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000

11

ACTIVE LEARNING

Answers
Farmer Jacks VMPL curve is downward sloping, due to diminishing marginal product.
$6,000 5,000 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000 0 0

1:
The VMPL curve

Some students may not offset the points between the L values, as shown here and in the table on the preceding slide. For our purposes, thats okay. What matters is they see that VMPL is a downward-sloping curve. They will get the rest from the following slides.

1 2 3 4 L (number of workers)

5
12

Farmer Jacks Labor Demand


Suppose wage W = $2500/week. How many workers should Jack hire? Answer: L = 3 At any larger L, smaller L, can increase profit by hiring one another fewer worker. worker.
$6,000 5,000 4,000 3,000 $2,500 2,000 1,000 0 0
CHAPTER 18

The VMPL curve

A student may wonder why we are measuring the wage in dollars per week rather than dollars per hour. If a student asks this question, before giving the answer, see if another student can explain the answer. The answer is: our task here is to compare the cost and benefit of hiring an extra worker. The benefit, P x MPL, is extra revenue per week from having one more workers (recall, the production function and hence MPL are measured in units per week). So we must compare that to the cost per week of having one more worker. The logic behind the answer L = 3 is the same marginal analysis that students have seen in many other contexts in previous chapters. At any L smaller than L = 3, can increase profit by hiring another worker. For example, suppose Jack has 2 workers. At L = 2, VMPL > W. In other words, the increase in revenue from hiring one more worker exceeds the increase in cost (the wage). So, hiring one more worker would increase profit. At any L larger than L = 3, can increase profit by hiring one fewer worker. For example, suppose Jack has 4 workers. At L = 4, VMPL < W. In other words, the revenue from the 4th worker is less than the cost of that worker, so can increase profit by hiring one fewer worker.

1 2 3 4 L (number of workers)

5
13

THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION

VMPL and Labor Demand


For any competitive, profit-maximizing firm:
W

To maximize profits, hire workers up to the point where VMPL = W. The VMPL curve is the labor demand curve.

W1

VMPL L1 L

CHAPTER 18

THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION

14

Shifts in Labor Demand


Labor demand curve = VMPL curve. VMPL = P x MPL Anything that increases P or MPL at each L will increase VMPL and shift labor demand curve upward.
W

D2 D1 L

CHAPTER 18

THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION

15

Things that Shift the Labor Demand Curve

Changes in the output price, P Technological change (affects MPL) The supply of other factors (affects MPL) Example:
If firm gets more equipment (capital), then workers will be more productive; MPL and VMPL rise, labor demand shifts upward.

The example in the third point implies that the firm sees factor inputs as complements, not substitutes. While this is true in many cases, one can also think of examples in which the firm would see inputs as substitutes. For example, industrial robots have displaced some workers in the auto industry. Though, they have increased demand for other kinds of workers in that industry.

CHAPTER 18

THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION

16

The Connection Between Input Demand & Output Supply

Recall: marginal cost (MC)


= cost of producing an additional unit of output = TC/Q, where TC = total cost

This and the next two slides cover material from the FYI box entitled Input Demand and Output Supply: Two Sides of the Same Coin. This slide establishes the relationship between marginal cost and marginal product.

Suppose W = $2500, MPL = 500 bushels If Farmer Jack hires another worker,
TC = $2500, Q = 500 bushels MC = $2500/500 = $5 per bushel

In general: MC = W/MPL
CHAPTER 18 THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION 17

The Connection Between Input Demand & Output Supply

In general: MC = W/MPL Notice:

This slide shows the connection between diminishing marginal product and increasing marginal cost.

To produce additional output, hire more labor. As L rises, MPL falls causing W/MPL to rise causing MC to rise.

Hence, diminishing marginal product and


increasing marginal cost are two sides of the same coin.
CHAPTER 18 THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION 18

The Connection Between Input Demand & Output Supply

The competitive firms rule for demanding labor:


P x MPL = W

This slide shows that when a competitive firm hires labor to the point where W = VMPL, it is also producing output up to the point where P = MC. Hence, input demand and output supply are two sides of the same coin.

Divide both sides by MPL:


P = W/MPL

Substitute MC = W/MPL from previous slide:


P = MC

This is the competitive firms rule for supplying


output.

Hence, input demand and output supply are two


sides of the same coin.
CHAPTER 18 THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION 19

Labor Supply People face trade-offs,


including a trade-off between work and leisure: The more time you spend working, the less time you have for leisure.

The cost of something is


what you give up to get it. The opportunity cost of leisure is the wage.

CHAPTER 18

THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION

20

The Labor Supply Curve


An increase in W is an increase in the opp. cost of leisure. People respond by taking less leisure and by working more.
W S1 W2 W1

At this point, the book briefly discusses the income and substitution effects. (The discussion is intuitive, and the actual terms income and substitution effects appear only parenthetically.) The book concedes the possibility that the labor supply curve might bend backward if the income effect exceeds the substitution effect, but states that we will ignore this possibility for now and assume the labor supply curve is positively sloped.
21

L1 L2
CHAPTER 18 THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION

Things that Shift the Labor Supply Curve

changes in tastes or attitudes regarding the


labor-leisure trade-off

Regarding the first point: The textbook notes that a change in attitudes about female labor force participation over the past 50 years has dramatically shifted the labor supply curve rightward.

opportunities for workers in other labor markets immigration

CHAPTER 18

THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION

22

Equilibrium in the Labor Market


The wage adjusts to balance supply and demand for labor. The wage always equals VMPL.
W1 W S

D L1
CHAPTER 18 THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION

23

ACTIVE LEARNING

2: Changes in laborlabor-market equilibrium


In each of the following scenarios, use a diagram of the market for auto workers to find the effects on the wage and number of auto workers employed.
A. Baby Boomers in the auto industry retire. B. Widespread recalls of U.S. autos shift car buyers demand toward imported autos. C. Technological progress boosts productivity in the auto manufacturing industry.

Again, these exercises should not be difficult, but its better to have students do them than to have students watch the instructor do them. The exercise in Part C segues nicely into the case study on productivity and wages that follows.

24

ACTIVE LEARNING

Answers
The retirement of Baby Boomer auto workers shifts supply leftward. W rises, L falls.

2A:
W The The market market for for autoworkers autoworkers S2 S1

This scenario, in fact, will occur over the coming 10-15 years. Digression: Unfortunately, just as the remaining workers see their wages going up, they will likely see their payroll taxes going up to fund the increasing outlays of Social Security and Medicare.
L
25

W2 W1

D1 L2 L1

ACTIVE LEARNING

Answers
A fall in the demand for U.S. autos reduces P. At each L, VMPL falls. Labor demand curve shifts down. W and L both fall.

2B:
W The The market market for for autoworkers autoworkers S1

W1 W2 D1 L

D2 L2L1

26

ACTIVE LEARNING

Answers
At each L, MPL rises due to tech. progress. VMPL rises and labor demand curve shifts upward. W and L increase.

2C:
W The The market market for for autoworkers autoworkers S1

W2 W1 D2 D1 L1 L2 L

27

Productivity and Wage Growth in the U.S.


time period growth growth rate of rate produc- of real tivity wages 2.1% 2.9 1.4 3.0 2.0% 2.8 1.2 3.0

1959-2003 1959-1973 1973-1995 1995-2003


CHAPTER 18

Recall one of the Ten Principles: A countrys standard of living depends on its ability to produce g&s. Our theory implies wages tied to labor productivity (W = VMPL). We see this in the data.

This slide covers material discussed in the chapter in a case study entitled productivity and wages. The data on this slide and the analysis on the preceding one show that technological progress benefits workers by increasing real wages. Unfortunately, technological progress makes some jobs obsolete. For example, the demand for typewriter repair technicians has fallen sharply over the past 25 years.

THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION

28

A Luddite is someone who opposes technological progress. A Luddite would have argued in the 1980s that policymakers should restrict the spread of computers and word processing software to protect the jobs of typewriter repair technicians. Most students will readily agree that such a policy would have been a huge mistake the productivity gains from computers and word processing software far outweigh the welfare losses of workers displaced from the typewriter repair industry. Moreover, this change has created other kinds of jobs, such as the technicians who charge $100/hour to recover your data from Windows crashes, spyware, and virus attacks. The textbook has a box entitled The Luddite Revolt that provides historical background on this issue.
The Other Factors of Production With land and capital, must distinguish between: purchase price the price a person pays to
own that factor indefinitely

We have seen how workers are compensated. What determines how much the owners of land and capital earn for their contribution to the production process? First, we distinguish between the purchase price and rental price of these factors.
29

rental price the price a person pays to use that factor for a limited period of time

The wage is the rental price of labor. The determination of the rental prices of
capital and land is analogous to the determination of wages

CHAPTER 18

THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION

Then, we apply the lessons we learned about wage determination to help us understand the determination of the rental prices of capital and land.

How the Rental Price of Land Is Determined


Firms decide how much land to rent by comparing the price with the value of the marginal product (VMP) of land. The rental price of land adjusts to balance supply and demand for land.
CHAPTER 18

The The market market for for land land


S

D = VMP Q Q

THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION

30

How the Rental Price of Capital Is Determined


Firms decide how much capital to rent by comparing the price with the value of the marginal product (VMP) of capital. The rental price of capital adjusts to balance supply and demand for capital.
CHAPTER 18

The The market market for for capital capital


S

D = VMP Q Q

THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION

31

Rental and Purchase Prices Buying a unit of capital or land yields a stream of
rental income.

Regarding the first point: When a firm buys a unit of capital, it will likely use that capital in its own production rather than rent it in the capital rental market. However, the opportunity cost of using its capital is the stream of rental income it could earn. So, if the firm is using its own capital, we can infer that the capital is generating at least as much income as the stream of rental income it would command in the rental market.

The rental income in any period equals the value


of the marginal product (VMP).

Hence, the equilibrium purchase price of a factor


depends on both the current VMP and the VMP expected to prevail in future periods.

CHAPTER 18

THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION

32

Linkages Among the Factors of Production

In most cases, factors of production are used


together in a way that makes each factors productivity dependent on the quantities of the other factors.

Example: an increase in the quantity of capital The marginal product and rental price of capital
fall.

Having more capital makes workers more productive, MPL and W rise.

CHAPTER 18

THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION

33

CONCLUSION The theory in this chapter is called the


neoclassical theory of income distribution.

It states that factor prices determined by supply and demand each factor is paid the value of its marginal
product

Most economists use this theory a starting point


for understanding the distribution of income.

The next two chapters explore this topic further.


CHAPTER 18 THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION 34

CHAPTER SUMMARY The economys income distribution is determined


in the markets for the factors of production. The three most important factors of production are labor, land, and capital.

A firms demand for a factor is derived from its


supply of output.

Competitive firms maximize profit by hiring each


factor up to the point where the value of its marginal product equals its rental price.

CHAPTER 18

THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION

35

CHAPTER SUMMARY The supply of labor arises from the trade-off


between work and leisure, and yields an upwardsloping labor supply curve.

The price paid to each factor adjusts to balance


supply and demand for that factor. In equilibrium, each factor is compensated according to its marginal contribution to production.

Factors of production are used together.


A change in the quantity of one factor affects the marginal products and equilibrium earnings of all factors.
CHAPTER 18 THE MARKETS FOR THE FACTORS OF PRODUCTION 36