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### Course: Macroeconomics > Unit 1

Lesson 3: Comparative advantage and the gains from trade- Comparative advantage, specialization, and gains from trade
- Comparative advantage and absolute advantage
- Opportunity cost and comparative advantage using an output table
- Terms of trade and the gains from trade
- Input approach to determining comparative advantage
- When there aren't gains from trade
- Comparative advantage worked example
- Lesson summary: Comparative advantage and gains from trade
- Comparative advantage and the gains from trade

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# Opportunity cost and comparative advantage using an output table

In this video, we use the PPCs for two different countries that each produce two goods in order to create an output table based on the data in the graph. We then use the output table to determine the opportunity costs of producing each good. Finally, we determine which country has a comparative advantage in each good.

## Want to join the conversation?

- What if the company/country produces only one good? Would it have no opportunity cost?(13 votes)
- Everything has an opportunity cost! For example, suppose a country only produced cars. Then the opportunity cost would something it could be producing instead using the same resources (like motorcycles or trucks).(30 votes)

- What if the country could produce only 6 basketballs, the opportunity cost would be 1.

So which country would have a comparative advantage? Because in this scenario the country A would always produce more.(5 votes)- Neither would have a comparative advantage because their opportunity costs would be the same. 6b = 6s. Solve for basketballs and you get 1s which is the same as country B.

Comparative advantage only compares the opportunity costs of each country, so it doesn't matter how much each country can actually produce. If we were talking about absolute advantage it would be a different story as absolute advantage compares how much they can actually produce (not their opportunity costs).(12 votes)

- How does anyone actually make a graph about this that's useful in reality where countries have thousands if not millions or billions of goods? Do we look at things as categories like manufacturing versus agriculture? Are markets constrained in such a way that we can actually make a graph like this if we assume like, livestock markets or something, don't change as their percentage of the GDP?(5 votes)
- When making a graph for countries with many goods, we group similar things together like farming or making things, but we might need to adjust for real changes in markets, even if some details are simplified.(6 votes)

- What if the company/country produces only one good? Would it have no opportunity cost?(2 votes)
- Incorrect. Recall that Opportunity cost is the value of the next best alternative foregone when a choice is made.

So the opportunity cost would be the value of the next best alternative that could have been produced if the company or country had not chosen to produce that one good.

For example, let's say the company has a factory that can produce either smartphones or tablets. If the company decides to produce smartphones, the opportunity cost would be the potential revenue it could have earned from producing tablets instead. This could be calculated by estimating the revenue that could have been earned from selling tablets and subtracting it from the revenue generated by selling smartphones.

Moreover, the opportunity cost could also be the resources and time that the company invests in producing smartphones instead of developing new products or improving existing ones. By producing only one good, the company may miss out on potential opportunities to diversify its product line or invest in research and development to improve its existing product.

https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/opportunity-cost-examples(3 votes)

- how can country b have a lower oppertunity cost?(3 votes)
- A worker in country A can only produce 6 sneakers or 8 basketballs. 6 s = 8 b. So the OC to produce 1 sneaker is 8/6=4/3 sneakers. 1 s = 4/3 b. Calculate in the same way, the OC of a worker in country B is 1 s = 1 b, so the worker in country B has a lower OC in producing sneakers(2 votes)

- How will things change (if any) ,if the output was not per worker per day for both basketball and shoes .(3 votes)
- The curve may change depending what is the x-axis and y-axis. It's impossible to describe how will things change without knowing more details.(1 vote)

- i cant understand that when firm A itself , can have absolute advantage in each goods, why the opportunity cost differs due to slope of line ??(2 votes)
- The slope is the opportunity cost, or the change in two points plotted. Although absolute advantage contextualize with other concepts of PPF graph, it is a distinct concept: it is merely to be able to produce more of that good than the other when you have same amount of resources.

The question wasn't very clear to me, if you're still in doubt feel free to ask further.(1 vote)

- If a country has the same comparative advantages but an absolute advantage on both of it's products over another country. Then how do they go about trading their merchandise?(2 votes)
- If a country possesses both comparative and absolute advantages in producing two products over another country, they can still benefit from trade by specializing in the product where their comparative advantage is the greatest. By focusing on producing the goods with the lowest opportunity cost relative to the other country, both parties can maximize efficiency and overall output. Through trade, each country can exchange their surplus goods for the products they lack comparative advantage in, leading to a mutually beneficial outcome where both countries can access a wider range of goods than they could produce independently.(1 vote)

- When calculating opportunity cost, do we assume that both goods have the same monetary value? For example, one shoe might be the same monetary cost of four basketballs.(1 vote)
- Opportunity cost is not just about monetary cost. It is the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen. For example, if a farmer chooses to plant corn, the opportunity cost is a different crop, like wheat being planted. When calculating opportunity cost, we take into account production quantity (when calculating with a PPC). For example, when a producer increases their production of a good A from 10 to 11 good A, they go from making 9 other goods (B) to 6 other good B. The 1-unit increase in producing good A means that its opportunity cost is 3 B, even if they were the same monetary cost.(2 votes)

- How does analyzing production possibilities curves and calculating opportunity costs help us determine which country is better at producing different goods?(1 vote)
- The scenario that a country only produces one good is an imaginary world, no country in their right mind would do this. Now that being said, we are able to calculate and compare which country can produce a good while giving up the least amount, and that is profit-making.(2 votes)

## Video transcript

- [Tutor] What we're
going to do in this video is draw a connection between the idea of opportunity cost of producing a good in a certain country and
comparative advantage between countries in a certain good and below, right over
here we have a chart, that shows production possibility curves for two different countries and as we see in many economic models, this is a, I would argue
oversimplified model, but it helps us get some insights, where in each country
workers can only produce some combination of
sneakers and basketballs and to help us understand
this and to appreciate that you can see this
information in multiple ways, let's present this also
as an output table, output table, which you will sometimes see and from either the
production possibility curves or from the output table, we can calculate the
opportunity costs of shoes and the opportunity costs of basketballs and then try to deduce some things about comparative advantage. So in an output table, we
would look at country A and we would look at country
B and we would think about, well, what is the max,
and I'll just draw it, what is the max basketballs and this is all per worker per day and we would also think
what is the max shoes, shoes, those look like
socks, but you get the idea, once again, per worker per day and so let me draw a little chart here, so we can do that and so what I'd like you
to do is pause this video and see if you can fill in this chart, what is the maximum
basketballs per worker per day in country A and then in country B and then do the same thing for shoes. Alright, now let's work this together, so first in country A, what is the maximum number of basketballs? Well, if in country A, they put all of their
energy into basketballs, we are right over here on the production possibilities curve, they can produce eight basketballs and if on the other end of the curve, they put all of their energy into shoes, they would produce no basketballs
and six pairs of shoes, we're assuming that
these are pairs of shoes, that we're talking
about, six pairs of shoes and similarly if we go
to company, (laughs) if we go to country B, I keep saying company, instead of country, if we go to country B, if we say what's the maximum
number of basketballs, well, if they put all their
energy into basketballs, we get four basketballs
and no pairs of shoes, so that's four basketballs,
but then if they put all of their energy into pairs of shoes, they produce no basketballs, they could produce four pairs of shoes and so it's as simple as that, this output table is
just showing the extremes from the production possibility
curves for these countries. Now with the information
about the output table and these production possibility curves, let's calculate the opportunity cost, so let me set up another
table and let me just say this is going to be our
opportunity cost table, OC, not Orange County, opportunity
costs and once again, it's going to be for
country A and country B and we're gonna think
about the opportunity costs of producing basketballs and that's gonna be in
terms of pairs of shoes and then the opportunity costs
for producing pairs of shoes and that's going to be
in terms of basketballs and so let me set up another table and so I encourage you once
again, pause this video and see if you can fill in this table, what is the opportunity costs? We'll start with what's
the opportunity costs for producing basketballs in
terms of shoes in country A? Alright, well there's a couple
of ways to think about it, imagine a world in country A, where you're producing no basketballs and you're producing six pairs of shoes, but then if you were
to increase the number of basketballs you produce by eight, so if you add eight basketballs, well, you're gonna give
up six pairs of shoes, you see that right over here, you give up six pairs of
shoes and so in country A eight basketballs cost six
shoes, let me write that down, so in country A, eight basketballs and I'll just say B for short, cost six, six S, S is shoes for short, or another way to think about it, if you divide both of these by eight, one basketball costs six over eight shoes, all I did was eight
basketballs cost six shoes and one basketball's gonna
cost six divided by eight pairs of shoes and so
what is that gonna be? Well, six over eight is the
same thing as three fourths or three fourths of a pair of shoes, so one basketball costs three
fourths of a pair of shoes or we could say that as 0.75 S, where S is a pair of shoes for this is my simplified notation and what about in country B? Well, in country B, if I go from no basketballs
to four basketballs, then I would have given
up four pairs of shoes, I would have given up four pairs of shoes, so in country B, so in B, four, four basketballs cost four pairs of shoes or divide both by four, you
could have a basketball, one basketball costs one pair of shoes, so a basketball here in country
B costs one pair of shoes, so one pair of shoes, S once
again is a pair of shoes and you could have also gotten it from this information here, you could set up an
equation, you could say look, if I put all of, in country A, if I put, so let's look at this
part right over here, you could say in country A,
if I put all of my energy into basketballs, I could
produce eight basketballs, but if I put that same energy into shoes, I could produce six pairs of shoes, so with the same energy, I could
produce either one of these and then if I want the
opportunity costs for basketballs, I divide both by eight
and that's essentially what I did over here
and I get a basketball, it costs six eighths of a pair of shoes or three fourths of a pair of shoes, which is exactly what I have over here. Now let's do the opportunity cost for a pair of shoes in either country, well, there's a couple of
ways to think about it, you could just view it as the reciprocal or you could even go back to
this equation right over here, if we are in country A,
we would say six shoes, if we put all our energy in shoes, we could produce six of them or six pairs of shoes, I should say and if we put all of our
energy into basketballs, we could produce eight basketballs, but if you divide by six,
you get per pair of shoes and so per each pair of shoes, the energy to produce one
pair of shoes is equivalent to the energy to produce
eight sixths of a basketball and eight sixths is the same thing as four thirds of a basketball and if we wanted to write it as a decimal just for simplicity or maybe
to make it easier to compare, we would say that this
is approximately 1.33, obviously the 3s just keep
going on, it repeats forever, but approximately 1.33 basketballs is the cost of producing a shoe and the opportunity
cost of producing a shoe in country A, 1.33 basketballs and what about in country B? Well, in country B we could set up a
similar type of equation, where the same energy for four shoes, I could produce four basketballs and that's essentially what we set up right over here on the left,
you divide both sides by four, the energy of a shoe is equal
to the energy of a basketball, or I should say the
energy of a pair of shoes is equal to the energy
of making a basketball, so the opportunity cost
of making a pair of shoes is equal to one basketball. So now we're ready to draw the connection, given the opportunity
costs that we calculated, what country has the comparative
advantage in basketballs? Pause this video and try to figure it out. So now let's look at the opportunity cost of producing a basketball
in either country. In country A, each
basketball costs a worker three fourths of a pair of shoes, while in country B, it costs
them a whole pair of shoes, so country A actually has
a lower opportunity cost of producing basketballs and so it has the
comparative advantage here, comparative, comparative advantage and then if we look at shoes,
it goes the other way around, country A has an opportunity cost of one and one third basketballs
for every pair of shoes, while country B has an opportunity cost of only one basketball per pair of shoes, so it has a lower opportunity cost and this one actually might be a little bit counterintuitive, because if you look on the
shoe axis right over here, country A has the absolute
advantage in producing shoes, a worker per day in country A can produce six pairs of shoes, while a worker in country B can only produce four pairs of shoes, but even though country A
has the absolute advantage, it would actually make sense for country A to focus on basketballs, while
country B focuses on shoes and in the next video,
we'll see how they can trade with each other
to get to a scenario, that is beyond their
production possibility curves and why focusing on your
comparative advantage, at least in this theoretical, very simplified world, makes sense.