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How to Calculate Marginal Revenue? Effects & Definition

The marginal cost of production and marginal revenue are economic measures used to determine the optimal amount and price for a product that maximizes profits.

This can help ensure that as many units are sold at an affordable rate, while also seeing high-profit margins keep all expenses in check.

A company that is rational always seeks to squeeze out as much profit from its goods, and the relationship between marginal revenue and the cost of production helps them identify where this point occurs.

The target in this case for a successful business would be to maximize both maximizing profits while minimizing costs at every step along the way.


  • Businesses need to focus on making their margins as high and consistent as possible. Otherwise, it can be hard for them to stay afloat in the long run.
  • More units mean more revenue, but the additional cost should not be overlooked. Focusing on just one unit of production is a surefire way to set yourself up for disappointment. 
  • A firm should expand production until the point where marginal cost and revenue are equal. The economic theory is that a company’s revenues should be maximized while minimizing costs, which means expanding as long as marginal cost equals or exceeds marginal revenue.

How To Calculate Marginal Revenue?

Production costs are broken down into two segments: fixed and variable. Fixed production cost does not change with the number of units being produced, but varies on a utility bill for example (e.g., electricity).

Variable production cost is more fluid in nature because it changes as output increases or decreases (e.g., raw materials needed to produce goods such as supplies, labour expenses like wages and benefits, etc.).

Fixed costs are the Ongoing, fixed expenses that a business faces over time. These can include regular monthly payments for rent or utilities and employees’ salaries to keep everything running smoothly every day of the year.

Variable costs change depending on how many goods you produce in any given period-the more products made means higher production prices which eventually impact your bottom line through variable cost increases like raw materials used in manufacturing or machine operation rates as they work harder due to increased demands from producing an extra drink per minute during peak hours.

It may seem unintuitive but the production cost per unit can be calculated by dividing total costs to make 150 units of a certain product.

As an example, if it takes $10 in expenses for every widget made then each individual one would have a marginal cost of only 10 cents even though some components might change as more are produced like materials or electricity needed for additional machinery.

Reaching Optimum Production

The company eventually reaches an optimum production level, the point at which producing any more units would increase per-unit production costs.

For example, additional overtime pay may be required for employees and maintenance cost increases with increased machine use. The most efficient way to make money is by maximizing your output of goods so that you don’t have excess inventory on hand but instead turn a profit as soon as possible.



MC=Marginal cost

Δ=Dividing the change

C=Total cost

Q=Change in quantity

​The marginal cost of production is a measure of how much the total cost changes when one more unit is produced. It can be computed by taking the first derivative with respect to quantity and multiplying it by some constant, then dividing that result by ΔQ (change in quantity).

When production capacity changes, marginal costs of production may change too.

for example, an increase from 200 to 201 units per day requires a small business to purchase additional equipment, then the marginal cost of that increased output might be very high.

In contrast, this expense might be significantly lower if they are considering increasing their current 150 units by 1 unit using existing equipment and it could lead them into profit where before there was none.

The lower the marginal cost of production, the more time your company has to grow without increasing fixed costs. If you are operating with high marginal costs and need to increase output volume in order for it becomes profitable again then there is a huge risk that prices will decrease drastically. It is advice to do marginal analysis.

Calculating Marginal Revenue

This measures the change in sales when one more unit is sold. For example, if a company sells an average of 10 widgets for $10 each and earns 100 over that timeframe, then they can sell 11 units at $10 each to make 110 dollars monthly.

The marginal revenue on that 11th widget would be just $1 because it only added 1 dollar to their total revenues however, this additional production will increase her profit margin significantly.

It is the rate at which total profit increases as quantity fluctuates. The MR tells us what happens to our earnings when we make small changes in production levels, and it can be calculated by dividing TR with a change in Q.



MR=Marginal revenue

Δ=Dividing the change

TR=Total revenue

Q=Change in quantity

​Example – If a company produces 20 units per day, then the total revenue from producing 21 more is $205. The marginal additional cost to produce those 21 extra items was only an extra 5 dollars!

How Can Marginal Revenue Increase?

Marginal revenue is what drives a company to produce more goods because it’s an indicator of how much profit there will be if they do.

Marginal cost is the price you need to pay for each additional unit produced, but marginal revenue shows that when your prices are high and demand continues climbing then production should expand so as not to miss out on any potential profits.

In this example, the toy company is trying to keep up with the demand for its product. As they produce more toys and generate increased revenue, it costs them less per unit than what they were spending on previous units.

The greater profit margin allows a larger potential return as well since each new toy soldier will sell at least $10 higher than its predecessor’s price point of $15-a a difference that can be significant considering how many times in one day we see these little guys around.



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