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Economic Efficiency - Revision Playlist

AS, A-Level, IB
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

Last updated 23 Nov 2020

This study resource provides an updated collection of short revision videos on the topic of economic efficiency.

Efficiency is about a society making optimal (best) use of scarce resources to help satisfy our changing wants & needs

There are several meanings of efficiency, but they all link to how well a market system allocates scarce resources to satisfy consumer needs & wants.

Normally the price mechanism is good at allocating inputs, but there are many occasions when the market can fail.

Allocative efficiency

What is allocative efficiency?

Allocative efficiency is reached when no one can be made better off without making someone else worse off. This is known as Pareto efficiency / optimality

Allocative efficiency occurs when the value that consumers place on a good or service (reflected in the price they are willing and able to pay) equals the marginal cost of the scarce factor resources used up in production.

​Allocative efficiency

Productive efficiency

Productive efficiency exists when producers minimize the wastage of resources

Productive efficiency is achieved at an output that minimizes the unit cost (AC) of production

This can apply to both the short-run and the long-run. In the long-run, this is achieved at the minimum efficient scale (MES).

​Productive efficiency

Dynamic efficiency

Dynamic efficiency occurs over time and is strongly linked to the pace of innovation within a market and improvements in the range of choice for consumers and the performance / reliability / quality of products.

​Dynamic efficiency

X Inefficiency

X-inefficiency happens when a lack of effective or real competition in a market or industry means that average costs are higher than they would be with competition.

​X Inefficiency

Key term summary

Allocative efficiency: Producing what is demanded by consumers at a price that reflect the marginal cost of supply

Dynamic efficiency: Changes in the choices available together with the quality/performance of products we buy. Dynamic efficient is linked closely to the rate of innovation/invention

Pareto optimality: Where it is not possible for households, or firms to bargain or trade in such a way that everyone is at least as well off as they were before and at least one person is better off

Productive efficiency: Producing an output at lowest feasible average cost. This is at an output where AC=MC either in short run or long run (at minimum efficient scale)

X-inefficiency: A lack of real competition may give a monopolist a weakincentive to invest in new ideas or consider consumer welfare. Average costs drift higher as a result.

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