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LONG-RUN AVERAGE COST CURVE: A curve depicting the per unit cost of producing a good or service in the long run when all inputs are variable. The long-run average cost curve (usually abbreviated LRAC) can be derived in two ways. On is to plot long-run average cost, which is, long-run total cost divided by the quantity of output produced. at different output levels. The more common method, however, is as an envelope of an infinite number of short-run average total cost curves. Such an envelope is base on identifying the point on each short-run average total cost curve that provides the lowest possible average cost for each quantity of output. The long-run average cost curve is U-shaped, reflecting economies of scale (or increasing returns to scale) when negatively-sloped and diseconomies of scale (or decreasing returns to scale) when positively sloped. The minimum point (or range) on the LRAC curve is the minimum efficient scale.

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AGGREGATE EXPENDITURES: The total expenditures on gross domestic product undertaken in a given time period by the four sectors -- household, business, government, and foreign. Expenditures made by each of these sectors are specifically labeled consumption expenditures, investment expenditures, government purchases, and net exports. Aggregate expenditures (AE) are a cornerstone in the study of macroeconomics, playing critical roles in Keynesian economics, aggregate market analysis, and to a lesser degree, monetarism.

     See also | consumption expenditures | investment expenditures | government purchases | net exports | household sector | business sector | government sector | foreign sector | aggregate demand | aggregate market | price level | real production | aggregate demand curve | macroeconomics | change in aggregate demand | change in aggregate expenditures | demand | quantity demanded | Keynesian economics |


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CONTRACTION

A phase of the business cycle characterized by a general period of declining economic activity. A contraction is one of two basic business cycle phases. The other is expansion. The transition from contraction to expansion is termed a trough and the transition from expansion to contraction is termed a peak. The popular term for contraction, one that frequently shows up in the media, is recession.

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