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DISMAL SCIENCE: A term for the study of economics developed during the late 18th and early 19th century when economists concluded that continued population growth would push wages and living standards to a minimal subsistence level and keep them there. It persists to the present time because economics continue to point out that actions result in opportunity cost, that nothing is free, and that eventually society has to pay the price for what it does.

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AGGREGATE MARKET SHOCKS: Disruptions of the equilibrium in the aggregate market (or AS-AD model) caused by shifts of the aggregate demand, short-run aggregate supply, or long-run aggregate supply curves. Shocks of the aggregate market are associated with, and thus used to analyze, assorted macroeconomic phenomena such as business cycles, unemployment, inflation, stabilization policies, and economic growth. The specific analysis of aggregate market shocks identifies changes in the price level (GDP price deflator) and real production (real GDP). However, changes in the price level and real production have direct implications for the unemployment rate, the inflation rate, national income, and a host of other macroeconomic measures.

     See also | equilibrium | aggregate market | aggregate demand | short-run aggregate supply | long-run aggregate supply | macroeconomics | phenomenon | business cycles | unemployment | inflation | stabilization policies | economic growth | price level | real production | unemployment rate | inflation rate | national income |


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TOTAL COST CURVE

A curve that graphically represents the relation between the total cost incurred by a firm in the short-run production of a good or service and the quantity produced. The total cost curve is a cornerstone upon which the analysis of short-run production is built. It combines all opportunity cost of production into a single curve, which can then be used with the total revenue curve to determine profit. The marginal cost curve, THE focal point for the analysis of short-run production, is derived directly from the total cost curve. The shape of the curve reflects increasing marginal returns at small quantities of output and decreasing marginal returns at larger quantities.

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