Unlike most costs discussed in economics, an opportunity cost doesn't necessarily involve money. The opportunity cost of any action is simply the next best alternative to that action: What you would have done if you didn't make the choice that you made?
与经济学中讨论的大多数成本不同,机会成本并不一定涉及金钱。任何行动的机会成本都只是该行动的次优方案:如果你没有做出这个选择,你会怎么做?

The notion of opportunity cost is critical to the idea that the true cost of anything is the sum of all the things that you have to give up.
所谓机会成本,其实说的是你必须为之放弃的一切以及所要付出的代价。

Opportunity cost considers only the next best alternative to an action, not the entire set of alternatives, and takes into account all of the differences between the two choices.
机会成本只考虑行动的下一个最佳选择,而不是全部备选方案,并且要考虑到两个选择之间的所有差异。

We actually deal with the concept of opportunity cost every day. For example, options for a day off work might include going to the movies, staying home to watch a baseball game, or going out to coffee with friends. Choosing to go to the movies means the opportunity cost of that action is the second choice.
事实上,我们每天都在与机会成本的概念打交道。例如,休息一天的选择可能包括去看电影,待在家里看棒球比赛,或者和朋友出去喝咖啡。选择去看电影意味着这个行动的机会成本是第二选择。

Explicit Versus Implicit Opportunity Costs
显性和隐性机会成本

Generally, making choices includes two types of cost: explicit and implicit. Explicit costs are monetary expenses, while implicit costs are intangible and therefore hard to account for.
一般来说,成本有两种类型:显性和隐性。显性成本是货币支出,但是隐性成本是无形的,因此很难解释。

In some cases, such as weekend plans, the notion of opportunity cost includes only these forgone alternatives, or implicit costs.
在某些情况下,比如周末计划,机会成本的概念只包括这些被放弃了的选择,或者隐性成本。

But in others, such as a business's profit maximization, opportunity cost refers to the difference in the total of this type of implicit cost and the more typical explicit monetary cost between the first choice and the next best alternative.
但在其他方面,例如企业的利润最大化,机会成本指的是这种隐性成本的总和与最优和次优选择之间更典型的显性货币成本的差异。

Analyzing Opportunity Costs
机会成本分析

The concept of opportunity cost is particularly important because, in economics, almost all business costs include some quantification of opportunity cost.
机会成本的概念尤为重要,因为在经济学中,几乎所有的商业成本都包括机会成本的一些量化。

To make decisions, we must consider benefits and costs, and we often do this through marginal analysis.
做决策时,我们必须考虑收益和成本,通常我们可以通过边际分析来做到这一点。

Firms maximize profits by weighing marginal revenue against marginal cost.
企业通过权衡边际收入和边际成本来实现利润最大化。

What will make the most money when considering the operating costs?
在考虑运营成本的情况下,做什么能赚到最多的钱?

The opportunity cost of an investment would involve the difference between the return on the chosen investment and the return on the other investment.
一项投资的机会成本包括所选投资项目的回报和其他投资项目的回报之间的差额。

Likewise, individuals weigh personal opportunity costs in everyday life, and these often include as many implicit costs as explicit.
同样地,个人在日常生活中也要权衡个人机会成本,这些成本通常包括与显性成本一样多的隐性成本。

For example, weighing job offers includes analyzing more perks than just wages.
例如,衡量工作机会时要多分析福利,而不仅仅是工资。

A higher-paying job isn't always the chosen option because when you factor in benefits like health care, time off, location, work duties, and happiness, a lower-paying job might be a better fit.
高薪工作并不总是最好的,因为当你考虑到诸如医疗保险、休假、工作地点、工作职责和幸福感等福利时,低薪工作可能更适合你。

In this scenario, the difference in wages would be part of the opportunity cost, but not all of it.
在这种情况下,工资的差异将是机会成本的一部分,但不是全部。

Likewise, working additional hours at a job offers more in wages earned but comes at the expense of more time to do things outside of work, which is an opportunity cost of employment.
同样地,一份工作加班可以带来更多的工资收入,但是却要花费更多的时间去做工作以外的事情,这是就业的机会成本。

(翻译:雅兰)