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July 22, 2018 

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SHORT-RUN SUPPLY CURVE: For a perfectly competitive firm, the marginal cost curve that lies above the average variable cost curve. This segment of the marginal cost guides a perfectly competitive firm's profit maximizing production as it equates price to marginal cost. Because the marginal cost curve is positively sloped (due to the law of diminishing marginal returns), each firm's supply curve and the market supply curve are also positively sloped. The law of diminishing marginal returns thus provides an explanation for the law of supply. However, this only works for firms with NO market control. Monopoly, monopolistic competition, and oligopoly, with market control, do not achieve the same result.

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CURVE: A line with a non-constant, or changing, slope. In technical circles, the word "line" is often used if the slope is constant and the word "curve" is used to mean the slope is not constant. However, economics often uses the terms line and curve interchangeably, as in "demand line" or "demand curve." Unless your course is taught be an economist with a really strong mathematical inclination, you too can safely use both terms interchangeably.

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LIMITED LIABILITY

A condition in which owners of a business are not personally held responsible for the debts created by the business. Corporations are the most noted types of business organizations in which owners have limited liability. Limited liability makes it possible for a business to accumulate large sums of money and thus to take advantage of large scale production. The alternative to limited liability is unlimited liability, a characteristic of proprietorships and partnerships.

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