Because there are 10 people in myfamily, we often combine our efforts to do chores and my younger brother can dothe chores much faster than my younger sister. Consider I bribe them withchicken for finishing their chores. Also, assume that there are only two jobs: washingdishes and cleaning rooms.
Washing dishes Cleaning rooms Brother 40 min 10 min Sister 60 min 30 min This table represents the time thatit takes for each of them to get the chores done. My brother fought with my sister andclaims that he can finish both jobs faster than my sister, so he does not wantto work with her. In other words, he claims that he has an absolute advantagein both. I want to prove to himthat it is more effective to work together using the concept of comparativeadvantages.A comparative advantage the ability to produce goods orservices at a comparatively lower opportunity cost than others. Tocalculate comparative advantage, we need to compare the opportunity cost ofeach item being produced. The opportunity cost for each task for my brother andsister is following: Opportunity cost of Washing dishes Cleaning rooms Brother 4 cleaning rooms 1/4 washing dishes Sister 2 cleaning rooms ½ washing dishes Based on the table above, mybrother has a lower opportunity cost of cleaning rooms than my sister, so hehas a comparative advantage in cleaning rooms.
On the other hand, my sister hasa lower opportunity cost in washing dishes, so she has a comparative advantagein washing dishes. Once we find out which products we ahave a comparative advantage in, we can use specialization to make the mosteffective outcome. In this case, my brother should specialize in cleaning roomsand my sister can specialize in washing dishes. Then, let us compare that withthe result that could have been made if there was no specialization. Consider they were given 4 hours tocomplete the chores. If my brother decides to do everything by himself and uses2 hours for each task, then he could wash 3 dishes and clean 12 rooms. On theother hand, my sister could wash 2 dishes and clean 4 rooms.
So, the total amount of works done is 5washing dishes and cleaning 16 rooms. However, if they share the work and use specialization,My brother will only spend his time in cleaning rooms, so hewill clean 24 rooms.At the same time, my sister will be washing 4 dishes.So, the total amount of work doneis washing dishes 4 times and cleaning 24 rooms.
As you can see, they clean 8 morerooms and 1 fewer dishes but did one fewer dishes. But, my brother’sopportunity cost to do one more dishes is only 4 rooms, so they are both betteroff. Therefore, we can make theconclusion that my brother should work with my sister to be more productive.