I, a new user to this site and a complete beginner in economics, asked this question: What is opportunity cost really?

In my humble opinion, this a very logical question. I quickly received two downvotes on my question without any explanation. I don’t think this is right; as a new student in economics who is willing to think deeper than what was given in the book (see the question for what I mean), I find this extremely discouraging.

What did I do wrong?


1 Answer 1


While I did not downvoted it I think it is because:

  • the question is not very clear
  • This question already has clear answers on this site
  • In your question you make false claims. You claim that:

It seems to me there that the most common definition of opportunity cost in economics is that opportunity cost is the net benefit of the next best alternative forgone.

Yet the answer to which you link states:

As other answers clarified, the Opportunity Cost has been defined as the value of the best alternative foregone.

Moreover, your question is basically, is opportunity cost the value of the next best alternative or net benefit, and for support of the definition of net benefit you quote answer that says its the second best alternative and you do not provide any evidence for the net benefit use.

Note if you hover over downvote on a question you get the following pop-up:

This question does not show any research effort; it is unclear or not useful

In your case your question does not show much research effort, you link to older answer and claim it says something it does not say. Also, your question is not very clear since you do not explain where did you get the alternative to the common definition (value of next best alternative).

  • $\begingroup$ What is the difference between net benifit and value? If you scroll up and look at the answer by user 18 to that question it seems to say that they are the same. $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2022 at 2:15
  • $\begingroup$ The paper that is linked in that answer by Ferraro and Taylor also says the same. $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2022 at 2:20
  • $\begingroup$ Also even if we change net benefit to value, what’s the difference? And even if there is one, don’t the other questions I ask remain? $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2022 at 2:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Shinrin-Yoku net benefit is benefit-cost value is worth of a good determined by one's preferences. Yes it changes things because then there is no difference in definitions. $\endgroup$
    – 1muflon1 Mod
    Oct 16, 2022 at 10:52
  • $\begingroup$ So you are saying that the opportunity cost of buying a TV for 50 dollars, when I could buy a tractor which costed 100 dollars, is 100 dollars. And the Benefit a TV or a tractor would give me don’t matter? $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2022 at 10:54
  • $\begingroup$ And how do you calculate the ‘worth of a good’ what information do you need? $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2022 at 11:06
  • $\begingroup$ Basically I’m asking what the definition of “worth” is, and how it can be applied to the problems I gave. $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2022 at 11:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Shinrin-Yoku to calculate worth of something you need utility function $\endgroup$
    – 1muflon1 Mod
    Oct 16, 2022 at 13:14
  • $\begingroup$ So the problem I gave is basically unanswerable? Also to clarify suppose A and B are my only options and A is worth 500 dollars but costs 2000 dollars the op cost of doing B is 500? $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2022 at 13:17
  • $\begingroup$ The thing Im not liking is that people are shimmering away form my question, I have put up a bounty on it I would appreciate if you would write answer. Thanks! $\endgroup$ Oct 17, 2022 at 17:47

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .