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PERFECT COMPETITION, SHORT-RUN PRODUCTION ANALYSIS: A perfectly competitive firm produces the profit-maximizing quantity of output that equates marginal revenue and marginal cost. This production level can be identified using total revenue and cost, marginal revenue and cost, or profit. Because a perfectly competitive firm faces a perfectly elastic demand curve, it efficiently allocates resources by equating price and marginal cost. In addition, the marginal cost curve above the average variable cost curve is the perfectly competitive firm's short-run supply curve.

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CAPITAL: One of the four basic categories of resources, or factors of production. It includes the manufactured (or previously produced) resources used to manufacture or produce other things. Common examples of capital are the factories, buildings, trucks, tools, machinery, and equipment used by businesses in their productive pursuits. Capital's primary role in the economy is to improve the productivity of labor as it transforms the natural resources of land into wants-and-needs-satisfying goods.

     See also | resources | factors of production | labor | land | entrepreneurship | business | production | natural resources | satisfaction | scarcity | limited resources | factory | investment |


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OLIGOPOLY

A market structure characterized by a small number of large firms that dominate the market, selling either identical or differentiated products, with significant barriers to entry into the industry. This is one of four basic market structures. The other three are perfect competition, monopoly, and monopolistic competition. Oligopoly dominates the modern economic landscape, accounting for about half of all output produced in the economy. Oligopolistic industries are as diverse as they are widespread, ranging from breakfast cereal to cars, from computers to aircraft, from television broadcasting to pharmaceuticals, from petroleum to detergent.

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