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MARGINAL COST AND DIMINISHING MARGINAL RETURNS: Decreasing then increasing marginal cost that gives rise to a U-shaped marginal cost curve reflects increasing then decreasing marginal returns. In particular the decreasing marginal returns is caused by the law of diminishing marginal returns. As such, the law of diminishing marginal returns affects not only the short-run production of a firm but also the cost of production in the short run.

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Lesson Contents
Unit 1: Getting Started
  • Overview
  • Assumptions
  • Limitations
  • Unit 1 Summary
  • Unit 2: The Schedule
  • Set Up
  • Opportunity Cost
  • Changing Cost
  • Unit 2 Summary
  • Unit 3: The Curve
  • Plot
  • Connecting Points
  • Slope and Cost
  • Shape
  • Unit 3 Summary
  • Unit 4: Analysis
  • Full Employment
  • Unemployment
  • Growth
  • Resource Quantity and Quality
  • Unit 4 Summary
  • Unit 5: Investment
  • Overview
  • Bundle Choices: A
  • Bundle Choices: E
  • Bundle Choices: I
  • Scarcity
  • Unit 5 Summary
  • Course Home
    Production Possibilities

    In this lesson we'll take a trip through production possibilities. Production possibilities is a handy little analysis that lets us consider what the economy is capable of doing, production-wise. We'll see how a production possibilities curve, the cornerstone of this analysis, is derived and how it can be used to understand several important concepts, including opportunity cost, unemployment, investment, and economic growth.

    • The first unit, Getting Started, begins this lesson by laying the foundations for production possibilities analysis, especially assumptions and limitations.
    • We turn out attention in the second unit, The Schedule, to the production possibilities schedule, a simple table that gives us a first shot on this analysis.
    • The production possibilities curve is then derived from the production possibilities schedule in the third unit, The Curve, with particular emphasis on the importance of opportunity cost
    • In the fourth unit, Analysis, we make use of the production possibilities analysis for an understanding of three important concepts: full employment, unemployment, and economic growth.
    • And lastly, the fifth unit, Investment, uses production possibilities to analyze investment in capital goods as a means of achieving economic growth.

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    MARGINAL UTILITY OF INCOME

    The change in utility resulting from a given change in income. This is a specialized case of the general notion of marginal utility, which is simply the change in utility resulting from a given change in the consumption of a good. Marginal utility of income is key to identifying alternative risk preferences, including risk aversion, risk neutrality, and risk loving. These three risk preferences are indicated by three marginal utility of income possibilities, decreasing (risk aversion), increasing (risk loving), and constant (risk neutrality).

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