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ELASTICITY ALTERNATIVES: Five categories of elasticity that form a continuum indicating the relatively responsiveness of a change in one variable (usually quantity demanded or quantity supplied) to a change in another variable (usually demand price or supply price). These five alternatives--perfectly elastic, relatively elastic, unit elastic, relatively inelastic, and perfectly inelastic--are most often are used to categorize the price elasticity of demand and the price elasticity of supply.

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MARGINAL FACTOR COST AND AVERAGE FACTOR COST: The relation between marginal factor cost and average factor cost is comparable to other average-marginal relations found in the study of economics. For a firm that hires factors in a perfectly competitive factor market, marginal factor cost and average factor cost are equal, and equal to the factor market price. All three are represented by a horizontal, or perfectly elastic, curve equal to the factor market price. For a firm that hires factors in an imperfectly competitive factor market, especially monopsony, marginal factor cost is greater than both average factor cost and the factor market price.

     See also | marginal factor cost | average factor cost | average-marginal rule | perfect competition | factor markets | perfectly elastic | factor price | imperfect competition | monopsony | factor supply curve |


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INCREASING RETURNS TO SCALE

A given proportional change in all resources in the long run results in a proportional greater change in production. Increasing returns to scale exists if a firm increases ALL resources--labor, capital, and other inputs--by a given proportion (say 10 percent) and output increases by more than this proportion (that is more than 10 percent). This is one of three returns to scale. The other two are decreasing returns to scale and constant returns to scale.

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