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ACCOUNTING COST: The actual outlays or expenses incurred in production that shows up a firm's accounting statements or records. Accounting costs, while very important to accountants, company CEOs, shareholders, and the Internal Revenue Service, is only minimally important to economists. The reason is that economists are primarily interested in economic cost (also called opportunity cost). That fact is that accounting costs and economic costs aren't always the same. An opportunity or economic cost is the value of foregone production. Some economic costs, actually a lot of economic opportunity costs, never show up as accounting costs. Moreover, some accounting costs, while legal, bonified payments by a firm, are not associated with any sort of opportunity cost.

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Lesson 12: Business Cycles | Unit 3: Measurement Page: 14 of 26

Topic: Coincident <=PAGE BACK | PAGE NEXT=>

Coincident economic indicators move along with the aggregate economy. They mark the business cycle.
  • We don't know how the economy is doing until after the fact. Real GDP is released every three months. Coincident indicators are available monthly.
  • The four coincident indicators are measures of production, employment, income, and sales.
  • The Composite Index of Coincident Indicators, displayed in the graph, combines all four. Turns in this index mark business cycle peaks and troughs.
  • Leading and coincident indicators work together. Leading indicators forecast turning points. Coincident indicators turn 3 to 12 months later.

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LAW OF INCREASING OPPORTUNITY COST

The proposition that opportunity cost, the value of foregone production, increases as the quantity of a good produced increases. This fundamental economic principles can be seen in the production possibilities schedule and is illustrated graphically through the slope of the production possibilities curve. It generates a distinctive convex shape, flat at the top and steep at the bottom.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time flipping through the yellow pages seeking to buy either looseleaf notebook paper or a three-hole paper punch. Be on the lookout for attractive cable television service repair people.
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In his older years, Andrew Carnegie seldom carried money because he was offended by its sight and touch.
"There is no point at which you can say, „Well, I'm successful now. I might as well take a nap.¾"

-- Carrie Fisher, actress, writer

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