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ZERO-BASE BUDGET: A method of budgeting expenditures in which each expenditure is justified on its overall merits rather than being based on the budget for the previous year. A zero-base budget is most often proposed (but seldom implemented) for governments. Governments generally establish budget expenditures based on expenditures for the previous year. If, for example, budget expenditures last year were $100 billion, the requested budget for this year might be set at $110 billion. The existing $100 billion is a "given" and only the extra $10 billion is justified. With a zero-base budget, the entire $110 billion is justified.

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Lesson 3: Scarcity | Unit 4: College Cost Page: 12 of 17

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An example of the opportunity cost of attending college.
  • Tuition, fees, textbooks, sliderule, etc. ($932.71 per semester) is an explicit opportunity cost.
  • The opportunity cost is all other things that you could have bought with this money-fuzzy dice, hot fudge sundaes, a used Ford Pinto, music CDs.
  • The tuition cost of your college degree is the added up over all semesters ($7,461,68).
However, the TOTAL COST actually goes well beyond this explicit $7,461,68 payment, since there are other costs that don't involve a money payment:
  • By attending school you have foregone alternative activities like working.
  • Unearned income, $15,000 per year, $60,000 for four years, is an extremely important implicit opportunity cost of a college education.
  • Implicit opportunity costs need not have a dollar value attached.
  • The foregone satisfaction from activities like watching television or sleeping, are also implicit opportunity costs.

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MARGINAL COST

The change in total cost (or total variable cost) resulting from a change in the quantity of output produced by a firm in the short run. Marginal cost (MC) indicates how much total cost changes for a given change in the quantity of output. Because changes in total cost are matched by changes in total variable cost in the short run (total fixed cost is fixed), marginal cost is the change in either total cost or total variable cost. It is found by dividing the change in total cost (or total variable cost) by the change in output. Marginal cost is one of four cost concepts used in short-run production analysis. The other three are average total cost, average fixed cost, and average variable cost.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time wandering around the shopping mall wanting to buy either a how-to book on fixing your computer, with illustrations or several magazines on computer software. Be on the lookout for rusty deck screws.
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Natural gas has no odor. The smell is added artificially so that leaks can be detected.
"Do what you feel in your heart to be right for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do and damned if you don't. "

-- Eleanor Roosevelt, first lady

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