March 17, 2018 

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MARGINAL PRODUCT: The change in the quantity of total product resulting from a unit change in a variable input, keeping all other inputs unchanged. Marginal product, usually abbreviated MP, is found by dividing the change in total product by the change in the variable input. Marginal product lies at the very foundation of the analysis of short-run production and the subsequent explanation of the law of supply and the upward-sloping supply curve, using the law of diminishing marginal returns.

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CARDINAL: A measurement based on a scale or quantitative numbers, such as 1, 5, or 357.2, that enables a comparison in magnitude. Comparability means, for example, that the difference between 5 and 2 is the same as the difference between 12 and 9. Measures such as height and weight use cardinal numbers. Most economic measures are based on cardinal numbers, including gross domestic product, unemployment rate, the price of chocolate, and the quantity of wheat produced. The benefit of cardinal measurement is the ability to directly compare one measure with another. If, for example, the price of chocolate is $1 a pound and the price of wheat is $4 a pound, then wheat is four times more expensive than chocolate. Ordinal measures, which involve relative ranking, is an alternative type of measure.

     See also | cardinal utility | ordinal | ordinal utility | utility | satisfaction | indifference curve | quality of life |

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The change in imports purchased from the foreign induced by a change in income or production (national income or gross domestic product). The marginal propensity to import (abbreviated MPM) is another term for the slope of the imports line and is calculated as the change in imports divided by the change in income or production. The MPM plays a role in Keynesian economics. It augments the slope of the aggregate expenditures line and is part to the multiplier process. A related marginal measure is the marginal propensity to consume.

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