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RISK POOLING: Combining the uncertainty of individuals into a calculable risk for large groups. For example, you may or may not contract the flu this year. However, if you're thrown in with 99,999 other people, then health-care types who spend their lives measuring the odds of an illness, can predict that 1 percent of the group, or 1,000 people, will get the flu. The uncertainty is that they probably don't know which 1,000 people, they only know the number afflicted. This little bit of information is what makes risk pooling possible. If the cost is $50 per illness, then an insurance company can insure your 100,000-member group against flu if they collect $50,000 ($50 x 1,000 sick people), or 50 cents per person. By agreeing to pay the cost of each sick person in exchange for the 50 cent payments, the insurance company has effectively pooled the risk of the group.

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CATO INSTITUTE: A public policy research foundation that contributes to the public policy debate inspired by the principles of limited government, individual liberty, free markets, and peace. The Institute is named for Cato's Letters, which are 144 libertarian essays written by John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon and first published from 1720 to 1723, condemning tyranny and advancing principles of liberty. These two Englishmen were inspired by Cato the Younger (95-46 B.C.) a Roman statesman who had of the reputation for honesty and incorruptibility in ancient times. The Cato Institute is a non-profit organization founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

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RETURNS TO SCALE

Changes in production the occur when all resources are proportionately changed in the long run. Returns to scale come in three forms--increasing, decreasing, or constant based on whether the changes in production are proportionally more than, less than, or equal to the proportional changes in inputs. Returns to scale are the guiding principle for long-run production, playing a similar role that the law of diminishing marginal returns plays for short-run production.

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