March 21, 2018 

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MARGINAL COST CURVE: A curve that graphically represents the relation between marginal cost incurred by a firm in the short-run product of a good or service and the quantity of output produced. This curve is constructed to capture the relation between marginal cost and the level of output, holding other variables, like technology and resource prices, constant. The marginal cost curve is U-shaped. Marginal cost is relatively high at small quantities of output, then as production increases, declines, reaches a minimum value, then rises. This shape of the marginal cost curve is directly attributable to increasing, then decreasing marginal returns (and the law of diminishing marginal returns).

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LAGGING ECONOMIC INDICATOR: One of seven economic statistics that tend to move up or down a few months after the expansions and contractions of the business cycle. These statistics paint a pretty clear picture of what the economy was doing a few months back. Lagging economic indicators lag the turning points of the aggregate economy by 3-12 months. After a contraction begins, lagging indicators decline 3 to 12 months later. And 3 to 12 months after a expansion begins, lagging indicators rise.

     See also | economic indicators | leading economic indicator | coincident economic indicator | interest rate | Consumer Price Index | personal income | unemployment | business inventories |

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In the short-run production of a firm, an increase in the variable input results in a decrease in the marginal product of the variable input. Decreasing marginal returns typically surface after the first few quantities of a variable input are added to a fixed input. This is one of two types of marginal returns. The other is increasing marginal returns. A related phenomenon is diseconomies of scale associated with long-run production.

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