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UTILITY: The satisfaction of wants and needs obtained from the use or consumption of goods and services. The terms utility and satisfaction are, for the most part, used interchangeably in economics. Two other somewhat technical economic terms frequently used to capture this notion are welfare and well-being. Whichever term is used, the underlying concept is the same: To what extent are unlimited wants and needs fulfilled using the goods and services produced from society's limited resources.

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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).

     See also | marginal cost | curve | quantity | law of diminishing marginal returns | technology | resource prices | increasing marginal returns | decreasing marginal returns | U-shaped cost curves | average total cost curve | average variable cost curve | average fixed cost curve | total cost curve |


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ARC ELASTICITY

The average elasticity for discrete changes in two variables. The distinguishing characteristic of arc elasticity is that percentage changes are calculated based on the average of initial and ending values of each variable, rather than initial values. Arc elasticity is generally calculated using the midpoint elasticity formula. The contrast to arc elasticity is point elasticity. For infinitesimally small changes in two variables, arc elasticity is the same as point elasticity.

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