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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.

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ORDINAL: A measurement based on a ranking, such as first, second, and third, that enables a relative comparison of more or less. Relative comparability means, for example, that first is more than second and second is more than third, but how much more is not known. Cardinal measures, which use a quantitative measurement scale, is an alternative type of measure. An ordinal measure can be thought of as a list for high to low, good to bad, top to bottom, and are often based on subjective evaluations of items. The notion of ordinal measurement is most often seen in the economic analysis of indifference curves and utility.

     See also | ordinal utility | cardinal | cardinal utility | utility | satisfaction | indifference curve | quality of life | second rule of subjectivity |


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LONG RUN, MICROECONOMICS

In terms of the microeconomic analysis of production and supply, a period of time in which all inputs under the control of a firm used in the production process are variable. In the long run, labor and capital are variable inputs. The long-run analysis of production reveals the key role played by returns to scale. This is one of four production time periods used in the study of microeconomics. The other three are short run, very long run, and very short run (or market period). The long run is also a time period designation used in the macroeconomic analysis of economic growth and full employment.

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