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Long Run


In financial terms, the “Long Run” refers to a period of time where all factors of production and costs are variable, and companies can adjust all conditions of their operation. In other words, in the long run, businesses can change their production levels, build more factories, hire more employees, etc. It contrasts with the short run where at least one factor is fixed.


The phonetics of the keyword “Long Run” is: /lɔːŋ rʌn/.

Key Takeaways


  1. In the long run, all factors of production and costs are variable, allowing firms to adjust their input levels to optimize production efficiency.
  2. In the long run, economies of scale can be realized, meaning that as the scale of production increases, the average cost per unit decreases until achieving the minimum efficient scale.
  3. Long run economic decisions have repercussions on the economic sustainability of a firm, industry, or economy, and thus are crucial in strategic planning and policy making.



The term “Long Run” is crucial in business and finance as it refers to a period in which all factors of production and costs are variable. In this timeframe, firms can adjust all their inputs and make strategic decisions about production, pricing, and investments to maximize profit. It enables businesses to plan and forecast future growth strategies, considering potential changes in market conditions, technological advancements, and competition. Understanding the concept of the long run aids companies in making informed decisions about expanding production, entering new markets, or investing in new technologies, thereby contributing significantly to their sustainability and success.


The term “Long Run” in finance or business refers to an indefinite period where all factors of production and costs are variable. This is contrary to the short run period where at least one factor, typically capital, is fixed. The main purpose of the long run concept is to analyze the scalability of a business over an extended period. It scrutinizes a firm’s ability to increase or decrease production levels to accommodate evolving market demands. Companies take these long-term projections into account when making decisions around capital investments, expansions, mergers, or entering new markets.Furthermore, the long run gives businesses the opportunity to achieve economies of scale – a cost advantage that businesses gain due to increased output of production. As firms grow larger and production levels increase, they can attain lower costs per unit of output because they can spread fixed costs over more goods or services. In other words, in the long run, companies can optimize their ability to produce goods proficiently and cost-effectively. Therefore, the concept of the long run is essential for strategic management and long-term financial planning.


1. Apple Inc’s Investment in Research and Development: Apple Inc. is known for its investment in innovation and technology. This continuous investment in research and development over the years, even in times when immediate profits might be reduced, is an example of a long-run business decision. They are not focused on immediate returns but betting on significant future growth and profits, which has led to new products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, etc.2. Amazon’s Infrastructure Development: Amazon’s commitment to expanding their infrastructure, like warehouses and distribution centers, is a long-run endeavor. Although these projects require large amounts of capital and may not generate immediate profits, in the long run, it increases Amazon’s capacity to store and deliver goods more efficiently, leading to better customer satisfaction, higher sales, and market dominance.3. Coca-Cola’s Global Branding Strategy: Coca-Cola’s long-term advertising and branding campaigns have contributed to its status as one of the most recognized brands worldwide. The company’s continuous investment in marketing may not have quick monetary gains, but in the long run, it builds brand loyalty, customer recognition, and sustainable sales growth worldwide.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is meant by the term ‘Long Run’ in finance and business?

The ‘Long Run’ in finance and business refers to a time period long enough for a business or company to change all its input factors and production methods as per its requirements. During this time frame, the company can adjust all its variables, unlike the short run where at least one factor is fixed.

Can a company alter all its production variables in the long run?

Yes, in the long run, a company has the flexibility to alter all of its production variables. This includes things such as labor, capital, technology, and even the method of production.

How does the long run impact a business’s production decisions?

In the long run, since all factors of production can be varied, businesses can plan and adopt production decisions to decrease costs, increase efficiency, and maximize profits. The concept of economies of scale also applies over the long run.

What is the difference between the ‘long run’ and the ‘short run’ in business terms?

The primary difference between the short run and the long run lies in the flexibility of factors of production. In the short run, at least one input factor is constant, like physical capital (machinery, buildings, equipment). However, in the long run, a company can alter all its variables of production.

How is the concept of ‘long run’ useful in financial planning?

The concept of the long run is critically important in financial planning, as it allows businesses to plan strategically for future production requirements. It provides room for dealing with future uncertainties, growth planning, and economies of scale to achieve cost-effectiveness and increased profitability.

Can a company achieve economies of scale in the long run?

Yes, the concept of economies of scale primarily applies in the long run. As the scale of production increases over time, businesses can distribute fixed costs over a larger number of output units, leading to decreased average cost per unit, and thus achieving economies of scale.

Related Finance Terms

  • Economies of Scale
  • Production Function
  • Cost Structure
  • Capital Intensity
  • Market Equilibrium

Sources for More Information

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