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VARIABLE INPUT: An input whose quantity can be changed in the time period under consideration. This should be immediately compared and contrasted with fixed input. The most common example of a variable input is labor. A variable input provides the extra inputs that a firm needs to expand short-run production. In contrast, a fixed input, like capital, provides the capacity constraint in production. As larger quantities of a variable input, like labor, are added to a fixed input like capital, the variable input becomes less productive. This is, by the way, the law of diminishing marginal returns.

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BUDGET SURPLUS: An excess of budgetary revenues over expenditures. This seemingly rare event is in fact commonly practiced by many state and local governments -- albeit often because of constitutional mandates. The federal government has even accomplished this feat once or twice. Consumers operate a budget surplus whenever they're able to put a little bit of their income into saving.

     See also | budget | government | consumer | government securities | balanced budget | budget deficit |


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EXCHANGE RATES, AGGREGATE DEMAND DETERMINANT

One of several specific aggregate demand determinants assumed constant when the aggregate demand curve is constructed, and that shifts the aggregate demand curve when it changes. An increase in exchanges rates causes an increase (rightward shift) of the aggregate curve. A decrease in the exchanges rates causes a decrease (leftward shift) of the aggregate curve. Other notable aggregate demand determinants include interest rates, the money supply, inflationary expectations, consumer confidence, and the federal deficit.

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