difference between fixed factor and variable factor. 4 points min.

Basis Fixed factor Variable factor

Those factors which remain constant with the change in the output level are called fixed factors of production. These

Those factors which can be increased or decreased as per the need to increase or reduce the units of output are called variable factors
Zero level of output

 Fixed factors remains constant even at the zero level of output.

at zero level of output no (zero) variable factors are employed and as we increase the employment of variable factors, output also increases simultaneously. 
Short run & Long run These factors are fixed in short run and variable in the long run. These factors are variable both in the short run as well as in the long run.
Example For example Capital such as, building, plant and machinery, etc. are some of the examples of fixed factors of production.
For example- Labour is an example of variable factor of production.

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Production is the result of combined efforts of the factors of production. These factors may be fixed or variable. A fixed factor is one, whose quantity cannot readily be changed in response to desired changes in output or market conditions.


Its quantity remains the same, whether the level of output is more or less or zero. Buildings, land, machinery, plants and top management are some common examples of fixed factors. A variable factor, on the other hand, is one whose quantity may be changed in response to a change in output.

Raw materials, ordinary labour, power, fuel, etc. are examples of variable factors. Such factors are required more, when output is more; less, when output is less and zero, when output is nil. For the sake of analytical simplicity, semi-variable factors are not considered here.

The distinction between fixed and variable factors is related to two periods the short-run and the long-run. The period of short-run is too short to cause variation in fixed factors. Thus, in the short-run, some factors are fixed, while the others are variable.

The production can be increased only by increasing the quantity of the variable factors or by having additional shifts or by increasing the hours of work. But, in the long-run (also called as planning period of the firm), all the factors are variable, i.e., the quantity of all the factors required can be varied to produce an output ranging from zero to an indefinite quantity.

All investment options are open including installation of new plant and machinery. In the long run, it is possible for a firm to branch out into new products or new areas or to modernise or reorganise its method of production through invention of new techniques.

The distinction between fixed and variable factors helps us to study the law of variable proportions and the law of returns of scale. These laws of production show the relationship between the factors of production and output in the short-run and long-run respectively.

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