# Opportunity Cost: Definition Calculation Formula and Examples

## Definition of Opportunity Cost

Opportunity cost is a fundamental concept in economics that refers to the value of the next best alternative that is forgone when making a decision. It is the cost of choosing one option over another, and it represents the potential benefits that could have been gained from the foregone option.

Opportunity cost arises from the scarcity of resources and the need to make choices. When resources are limited, individuals, businesses, and governments must make decisions about how to allocate those resources. Every decision involves trade-offs, and the opportunity cost is the value of the trade-off that is not chosen.

### Key Points

• Opportunity cost is the value of the next best alternative that is forgone when making a decision.
• It represents the potential benefits that could have been gained from the foregone option.
• Opportunity cost arises from the scarcity of resources and the need to make choices.
• Every decision involves trade-offs, and the opportunity cost is the value of the trade-off that is not chosen.

For example, suppose a business has limited funds and must decide between investing in new equipment or hiring additional employees. If the business chooses to invest in new equipment, the opportunity cost is the potential benefits that could have been gained from hiring additional employees. On the other hand, if the business chooses to hire additional employees, the opportunity cost is the potential benefits that could have been gained from investing in new equipment.

## Calculation Formula for Opportunity Cost

Opportunity cost is a crucial concept in economics and business decision-making. It refers to the value of the next best alternative that is forgone when making a choice. Calculating opportunity cost allows businesses to assess the potential benefits and drawbacks of different options.

### Formula

The formula for calculating opportunity cost is:

This formula helps businesses determine the potential gain or loss from choosing one option over another. By comparing the returns of the chosen option and the next best alternative, businesses can make more informed decisions.

### Example

Let’s consider an example to understand how to calculate opportunity cost. Imagine a company has two investment opportunities: Option A and Option B. Option A has an expected return of \$10,000, while Option B has an expected return of \$8,000.

To calculate the opportunity cost of choosing Option A over Option B, we use the formula:

The opportunity cost of choosing Option A over Option B is \$2,000. This means that by choosing Option A, the company is forgoing the potential gain of \$2,000 that could have been achieved by choosing Option B.

Calculating opportunity cost helps businesses evaluate the potential benefits and drawbacks of different options. It allows them to make informed decisions based on the value of the next best alternative. By considering opportunity cost, businesses can optimize their decision-making process and maximize their overall returns.

## Examples of Opportunity Cost in Business

Opportunity cost is a crucial concept in business decision-making. It helps businesses evaluate the potential benefits they would have gained from choosing an alternative option. Here are some examples of opportunity cost in business:

### Example 2: Hiring Additional Employees

These examples illustrate how opportunity cost plays a significant role in business decision-making. By carefully considering the potential benefits and drawbacks of different options, businesses can make informed choices that maximize their overall profitability and growth.