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VERTICAL INTEGRATION: The situation in which a firm participates in more than one successive stage of the production or distribution process. For example a soft drink company that also controls a sugar-producing firm is said to be vertically integrated because the soft drink company does not have to buy sugar from other firms to produce soft drinks. In some cases, two separate firms are vertically integrate because one firm produces a good or service and the other distributes it.

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FIXED INPUT: An input in the production of goods and services that does not change in the short run. A fixed input should be compared with a variable input, an input that DOES change in the short run. Fixed and variable inputs are most important for the analysis of short-run production by a firm. The best example of a fixed input is the factory, building, equipment, or other capital used in production. The comparable example of a variable input would then be the labor or workers who work in the factory or operate the equipment. In the short run (such as a day or so) a firm can vary the quantity of labor, but the quantity of capital is fixed.

     See also | input | variable input | short-run production | labor | capital | factors of production | total product | average product | marginal product |


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PERFECT COMPETITION, TOTAL ANALYSIS

A perfectly competitive firm produces the profit-maximizing quantity of output that generates the greatest difference between total revenue and total cost. This total approach is one of three methods that used to determine the profit-maximizing quantity of output. The other two methods involve the direct analysis of economic profit or a comparison of marginal revenue and marginal cost.

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