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TOTAL COST CURVE: A curve that graphically represents the relation between total cost incurred by a firm in the short-run production of a good or service and the quantity produced. The total cost curve is a cornerstone upon which the analysis of a firm's short-run production is built. It combines all of a firm's opportunity costs into a single curve, which can then be used with the firm's total revenue curve to determine profit.

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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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UNIT ELASTIC

An elasticity alternative in which changes in one variable (usually price) cause equal proportional changes in another variable (usually quantity). In other words, any change in price, whether big or small, triggers exactly the same percentage change in quantity. Quantity changes match price changes. This characterization of elasticity is most important for the price elasticity of demand and the price elasticity of supply. Unit elastic is one of five elasticity alternatives. The other four are perfectly elastic, perfectly inelastic, relatively elastic, and relatively inelastic.

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