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PERFECT COMPETITION AND EFFICIENCY: Perfect competition is the idealized market structure that achieves an efficient allocation of resources. The conditions of perfect competition, including (1) large number of small firms, (2) identical products sold by all firms, (3) freedom of entry into and exit out of the industry, and (4) perfect knowledge of prices and technology, ensure that perfect competition efficiently allocates resources. This is in fact the purpose of perfect competition: a market structure that illustrates perfection, the best of all possible resource allocation worlds. The real world falls short of this perfection.

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DATA: Real world observations that are used to test or verify hypotheses. This is the key to the process of acquiring knowledge about the world using the scientific method. While theoretical speculation might indicate what we "think" the world is like, we don't know for sure until we compare our hypothesized view with the real world itself. Data is what adds empirical to empirical economic analysis.

     See also | scientific method | verification | hypothesis | principle | empirical | economic analysis | variable | price | quantity | unemployment rate | money | gross domestic product | Federal Reserve System | Bureau of Labor Statistics | Bureau of Economic Analysis | National Income and Product Accounts |


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MARGINAL UTILITY

The additional utility obtained from the consumption or use of an additional unit of a good. It is specified as the change in total utility divided by the change in quantity. Marginal utility indicates what each additional unit of a good is worth to a consumer and provides a theoretical basis for understanding market demand and the law of demand. Marginal utility generally declines with increased consumption of a good, a reflection of the law of diminishing marginal utility.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time searching the newspaper want ads looking to buy either storage boxes for your family photos or a large, stuffed giraffe. Be on the lookout for telephone calls from long-lost relatives.
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Potato chips were invented in 1853 by a irritated chef repeatedly seeking to appease the hard to please Cornelius Vanderbilt who demanded french fried potatoes that were thinner and crisper than normal.
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