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LERNER INDEX: The difference between price (p) and marginal cost (mc) as a fraction of price, that is [p-mc]/p. The Lerner index is usually taken as an indicator of market power because the larger the index, the larger the difference between price and marginal cost, that is, the larger the distance between the price and the competitive price. The Lerner index depends on the elasticity of demand. The Lerner index is also called the price-cost margin.

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HOMOGENEOUS GOOD: Goods that are either physically identical or at least viewed as identical by buyers. In particular, the producer of a good can not be identified from the good itself. This is a key assumption underlying the perfect competition market structure, and like other assumptions is only approximated in the real world. Agricultural products, metals, and energy goods come as close as any in the real world.

     See also | homogeneous | perfect competition | market structure | perfectly elastic | perfect competition and demand | perfect competition characteristics | substitute-in-consumption | product differentiation |


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SHORT-RUN PRODUCTION ALTERNATIVES

A firm faces three production options in the short run based on a comparison between price, average total cost, and average variable cost. If price is greater than average total cost, a firm earns an economic profit by producing the quantity that equates marginal revenue with marginal cost. If price is less than average total cost but greater than average variable cost, a firm incurs an economic loss, but produces the quantity that equates marginal revenue with marginal cost. If price is less than average variable cost, a firm shuts down production in the short run, incurring an economic loss equal to total fixed cost.

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