Define: Average Variable Cost

UK Accounting Glossary

Definition: Average Variable Cost

Quick Summary of Average Variable Cost

What is the dictionary definition of Average Variable Cost?

Dictionary Definition

In economics, average variable cost (AVC) is a firm’s variable costs (labour, electricity, etc.) divided by the quantity of output produced.

Full Definition of Average Variable Cost

Average Variable Cost FAQ's

How do you calculate average variable cost?

The average variable cost (AVC) is the total variable cost per unit of output. This is found by dividing total variable cost (TVC) by total output (Q). Total variable cost(TVC) is all the costs that vary with output, such as materials and labour.


Why does AVC fall and then rise?

AVC is ‘U’ shaped because of the principle of variable Proportions, which explains the three phases of the curve: Increasing returns to the variable factors, which cause average costs to fall, followed by Constant returns, followed by Diminishing returns, which cause costs to rise.

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Modern Language Association (MLA):
Average Variable Cost. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. August 23, 2019
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Average Variable Cost. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: August 23, 2019).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Average Variable Cost. Retrieved August 23, 2019, from website:

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This glossary post was last updated: 9th August 2019.