Making the Best Decision
To establish appropriate decision rules, managers must understand the economic environment in which they operate. For example, a grocery retailer may offer consumers a highly price-sensitive product, such as milk, at an extremely low markup over cost—say, 1 percent to 2 percent—while offering less price-sensitive products, such as nonprescription drugs, at markups of as high as 40 percent over cost. Managerial economics describes the logic of this pricing practice with respect to the goal of profit maximization. Similarly, managerial economics reveals that auto import quotas reduce the availability of substitutes for domestically produced cars, raise auto prices, and create the possibility of monopoly profits for domestic manufacturers. It does not explain whether imposing quotas is good public policy; that is a decision involving broader political considerations.
Managerial economics only describes the predictable economic consequences of such actions. Managerial economics offers a comprehensive application of economic theory and methodology to management decision making. It is as relevant to the management of government agencies, cooperatives, schools, hospitals, museums, and similar not-for-profit institutions as it is to the management of profit-oriented businesses.