Economies of scale, in microeconomics, refers to the cost advantages that a business obtains due to expansion. There are factors that cause a producer’s average cost per unit to fall as the scale of output is increased. “Economies of scale” is a long run concept and refers to reductions in unit cost as the size of facility and the usage levels of other inputs increase. This economies of scale are the opposite. The common sources of economies of scale are purchasing (bulk buying of materials through long-term contracts), managerial (increasing the specialization of managers), financial (obtaining lower-interest charges when borrowing from banks and having access to a greater range of financial instruments), marketing (spreading the cost of advertising over a greater range of output in media markets), and technological (taking advantage of returns to scale in the production function). Each of these factors reduces the long run average costs (LRAC) of production by shilling the short-run average total cost (SRATC) curve down and to the right. Economies of scale are also derived partially from learning by doing.
Economies of scale is a practical concept that is important for explaining real world phenomena such as patterns of international trade, the number of firms in a market, and how firms get “too big to fail”. The exploitation of economies of scale helps explain why companies grow large in some industries. It is also a justification for free trade policies, since some economies of scale may require a larger market than is possible within a particular country – for example, it would not be efficient for Liechtenstein to have its own car maker, if they would only sell to their local market. A lone car maker may be profitable, however, if they export cars to global markets in addition to selling to the local market. Economies of scale also play a role in a “natural monopoly.”