Course Content
Price System, Microeconomy: Consumer Theory
Price System, Microeconomy: Efficiency and market failure, Private costs and benefits, externalities and social costs and benefits
Price System, Microeconomy: Growth and survival of firms; Differing objectives and policies of firms
Macroeconomy: Economic growth and sustainability, Employment, Money and banking
CAIE Alevel Economics (A2)

Marginal Revenue Product (MRP) theory is a concept used to analyze the demand for labor by firms.

  • It focuses on the additional revenue generated by employing an additional unit of labor and how that affects the firm's decision to hire or not.
  • The Marginal Revenue Product (MRP) is the additional revenue a firm earns from employing one more unit of labor.
  • It is calculated by multiplying the marginal product of labor (MPL) by the marginal revenue (MR) generated by the additional output produced.


    • The marginal product of labor (MPL) represents the additional output produced when one more unit of labor is added,
    • The marginal revenue (MR) is the additional revenue earned from selling that additional output.

Derivation of an Individual Firm's Demand for Labor using Marginal Revenue Product

  • To determine the firm's demand for labor, it compares the MRP with the wage rate (W).
    • If the MRP is greater than the wage rate, it indicates that employing an additional unit of labor generates more revenue than the cost of hiring that labor, and therefore, the firm has an incentive to hire more workers.
    • Conversely, if the MRP is less than the wage rate, it implies that the cost of hiring additional labor exceeds the revenue generated, and the firm may decide to reduce its workforce.
    • The firm will continue to hire labor until the MRP equals the wage rate.
      • At this point, the firm is maximizing its profit by ensuring that the additional revenue generated from hiring one more unit of labor is equal to the additional cost incurred in the form of wages.
  • The overall market demand for labor is determined by aggregating the demand for labor across all firms in the industry or market.

The supply of labor to a firm or occupation is influenced by various factors, including both wage and non-wage factors.

  • Wage Factors:
    • Wage Rate: The primary determinant of labor supply is the wage rate. As the wage rate increases, individuals are more willing to supply their labor because the financial incentive to work is higher.
    • Income Substitution Effect: If the wage rate increases, individuals may choose to work more hours or enter the workforce because the higher wages make working more attractive compared to leisure activities.
    • Income Effect: A higher wage rate can also lead to a decrease in labor supply as individuals may choose to work fewer hours to maintain a desired level of income or lifestyle.
    • Prevailing Market Wage: The wage rate prevailing in the labor market plays a crucial role in attracting or discouraging individuals from supplying their labor to a particular firm or occupation.
  • Non-Wage Factors:
    • Education and Skill Level: The level of education, training, and skills required for a specific job or occupation affects the supply of labor. Higher-skilled individuals may be more likely to supply their labor to jobs that require specialized knowledge or expertise.
    • Working Conditions: Factors such as safety, flexibility, job security, and work-life balance can influence labor supply. Jobs with favorable working conditions may attract more workers.
    • Non-monetary Benefits: Apart from wages, non-monetary benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, paid leave, and career development opportunities can affect labor supply. Jobs offering comprehensive benefits packages may be more appealing to potential employees.
    • Geographic Location: The location of the job or occupation can influence labor supply. Areas with higher living costs or unfavorable living conditions may experience a lower supply of labor.
    • Demographic Factors: Factors such as age, gender, and family responsibilities can affect the supply of labor. For example, individuals with caregiving responsibilities may have different labor supply decisions compared to those without such responsibilities.

  • The shape of an individual's supply curve of labour depends on:
    • whether substitution effect or income effect dominates at different wage rates
    • Substitution Effect: as the wage rate increases, leisure (i.e. not working) becomes relative more expensive than other consumptions, so a worker purchases less leisure (i.e. working more); stronger at low wage rate and weaker at high wage rate
    • Income Effect: as the wage rate increases, the worker becomes richer, thus purchases more leisure (i.e. working less); weaker at low wage rate and stronger at high wage rate
  • Because substitution effect and income effect always have opposite impacts on working hours/days, as wage rate increases,
    • substitution effect > income effect at low wage rate, so working more (i.e. labor supply increases with wage rate at low wage levels);
    • income effect > substitution effect at high wage rate, so working less (i.e. labor supply decreases with wage rate at high wage levels)
  • Industry labour supply: horizontal sum of individual supply of labour
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