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BALANCE OF TRADE: The difference between funds received by a country when exporting merchandise and the funds paid for importing merchandise. The balance of trade is a major part of the current accounts portion of the balance of payments. A balance of trade surplus results if exports exceed imports, commonly termed a favorable balance of trade, and a balance of trade deficit exists if imports exceed exports, analogously termed an unfavorable balance of trade. The "favorable" and "unfavorable" normative connotations attached to the balance of trade rests with the presumption that a nation is "better off" when it exports more than it imports, which is not necessarily true.

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EQUILIBRIUM PRICE: The price that exists when a market is in equilibrium. In particular, the equilibrium price is the price that equates the quantity demanded and quantity supplied, which is termed the equilibrium quantity. Moreover, the equilibrium price is simultaneously equal to the both the demand price and supply price. In a market graph, like the one displayed here, the equilibrium price is found at the intersection of the demand curve and the supply curve. The equilibrium price is also commonly referred to as the market-clearing price.

     See also | equilibrium | market | equilibrium quantity | quantity demanded | quantity supplied | demand price | supply price | demand curve | supply curve | shortage | surplus | demand shock | supply shock |


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FIXED INPUT

An input whose quantity cannot be changed in the time period under consideration. The relevant time period is usually termed the short run. The most common example of a fixed input is capital. The alternative to fixed input is variable input. A fixed input, such as capital, provides the "capacity" constraint for the short-run production of a firm. A variable input, such as labor, provides the means of changing short-run production. As larger quantities of a variable input are added to a fixed input, the variable input becomes less productive, which is the law of diminishing marginal returns.

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