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PLANNING PERIOD: The period of time in which a firm selects the profit-maximizing plant size in the long run when all inputs, especially capital, are variable. This is, in other words, another term for the long run, but applied to the adjustment using the long-run average cost curve.

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FISCAL POLICY: Use of the federal government's powers of spending and taxation to stabilize the business cycle. If the economy is mired in a recession, then the appropriate fiscal policy is to increase spending or reduce taxes--termed expansionary policy. During periods of high inflation, the opposite actions are needed--contractionary policy. The consequences of fiscal policy are typically observed in terms of the federal deficit.

     See also | government sector | stabilization policies | government purchases | taxes | transfer payments | federal deficit | full-employment budget | business cycle | recession | contraction | expansion | unemployment | inflation | crowding out | expansionary fiscal policy | contractionary fiscal policy | automatic stabilizer | monetary policy | recessionary gap | inflationary gap |


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AVERAGE TOTAL COST CURVE

A curve that graphically represents the relation between average total cost incurred by a firm in the short-run product of a good or service and the quantity produced. The average total cost curve is constructed to capture the relation between average total cost and the level of output, holding other variables, like technology and resource prices, constant. The average total cost curve is one of three average curves. The other two are average variable cost curve and average fixed cost curve. A related curve is the marginal cost curve.

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