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A POSTERIORI: A conclusion reached through logical reasoning based on facts and observations about the real world. This notion is closely related to the scientific verification of hypotheses and the identification of principles. A similar sounding, but opposite term is a prior, which is a unverified presumption made before an analysis is undertaken. For example, in the study of economics of crime you might assume, a priori, that people are basically "good", and conclude, a posteriori, that people are more likely to commit crimes when the threat of capture and conviction is lower.

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MARGINAL PRODUCT CURVE: A curve that graphically illustrates the relation between marginal product and the quantity of the variable input, holding all other inputs fixed. This curve indicates the incremental change in output at each level of the variable input. The marginal product curve is one of three related curves used in the analysis of the short-run production of a firm. The other two are total product curve and average product curve. The marginal product curve plays in key role in the economic analysis of short-run production by a firm in large part because economists are generally obsessed with marginal changes in production.

     See also | marginal product | curve | total product | output | input | variable input | fixed input | average product | marginal cost | law of diminishing marginal returns | average-marginal rule | total-marginal rule | short-run production |


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PRIVATE SECTOR

The combination of households and businesses into a single group. It is termed the private sector to indicate that decisions are made by private individuals (either consumers or producers) in pursuit of their personal self-interests. The contrasting phrase is public sector, in which decisions are made by governments on behalf of the public.

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