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LAW OF COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE: A basic principle that states every nation has a production activity that incurs a lower opportunity cost than that of another nation, which means that trade between the two nations can be beneficial to both if each specializes in the production of a good with lower relative opportunity cost. While this law is fundamental to the study of international trade, it also applies to other activities, especially the specialization and the division of labor.

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MARGINAL RETURNS: The change in the quantity of total product resulting from a unit change in a variable input, holding all other inputs fixed. You might recognize this as the definition of marginal product. It is. Marginal returns is an older and more generic term for marginal product. While marginal product has largely replaced marginal returns in most discussions of short-run production, the phrase does persist in a few terms like the law of diminishing marginal returns. When you come upon the phrase marginal returns, more often than not, it's probably referring to marginal product.

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


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INFORMATION SEARCH

The decision to seek out or produce information based on a comparison of the cost of acquiring the information and the benefit obtained from the information. Efficient information search is achieved with a equality between the marginal cost of search and the marginal benefit of search. Because the marginal cost of search is invariably greater than zero, search effort stops short of acquiring complete information.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time surfing the Internet trying to buy either a set of luggage without wheels or a how-to book on wine tasting. Be on the lookout for telephone calls from long-lost relatives.
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The 22.6% decline in stock prices on October 19, 1987 was larger than the infamous 12.8% decline on October 29, 1929.
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-- William Jennings Bryan

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