This book is licensed under a Creative Commons by-nc-sa 3.0 license. See the license for more details, but that basically means you can share this book as long as you credit the author (but see below), don't make money from it, and do make it available to everyone else under the same terms.
This content was accessible as of December 29, 2012, and it was downloaded then by Andy Schmitz in an effort to preserve the availability of this book.
Normally, the author and publisher would be credited here. However, the publisher has asked for the customary Creative Commons attribution to the original publisher, authors, title, and book URI to be removed. Additionally, per the publisher's request, their name has been removed in some passages. More information is available on this project's attribution page.
For more information on the source of this book, or why it is available for free, please see the project's home page. You can browse or download additional books there. To download a .zip file containing this book to use offline, simply click here.
When capital K can’t be adjusted in the short run, it creates a constraint, on the profit available, to the entrepreneur—the desire to change K reduces the profit available to the entrepreneur. There is no direct value of capital because capital is fixed. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t examine its value. The value of capital is called a shadow valueThe value associated with a constraint., which refers to the value associated with a constraint. Shadow value is well-established jargon.
What is the shadow value of capital? Let’s return to the constrained, short-run optimization problem. The profit of the entrepreneur is
The entrepreneur chooses the value L* to maximize profit; however, he is constrained in the short run with the level of capital inherited from a past decision. The shadow value of capital is the value of capital to profit, given the optimal decision L*. Because the shadow value of capital is
Note that this value could be negative if the entrepreneur might like to sell some capital but can’t, perhaps because it is installed in the factory.
Every constraint has a shadow value. The term refers to the value of relaxing the constraint. The shadow value is zero when the constraint doesn’t bind; for example, the shadow value of capital is zero when it is set at the profit-maximizing level. Technology binds the firm; the shadow value of a superior technology is the increase in profit associated with it. For example, parameterize the production technology by a parameter a, so that aF(K, L) is produced. The shadow value of a given level of a is, in the short run,
A term is vanishing in the process of establishing the shadow value. The desired value L* varies with the other parameters like K and a, but the effect of these parameters on L* doesn’t appear in the expression for the shadow value of the parameter because at L*.