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VARIABLE FACTOR OF PRODUCTION: An input whose quantity can be changed in the time period under consideration. This usually goes by the shorter term fixed input and should be immediately compared and contrasted with fixed factor of production, which goes by the shorter term fixed input. The most common example of a variable factor of production is labor. A variable factor of production provides the extra inputs that a firm needs to expand short-run production. In contrast, a fixed factor of production, like capital, provides the capacity constraint in production. As larger quantities of a variable factor of production, like labor, are added to a fixed factor of production like capital, the variable factor of production becomes less productive.

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PERFECT COMPETITION, TOTAL ANALYSIS: A perfectly competitive firm produces the profit-maximizing quantity of output that generates the greatest difference between total revenue and total cost. This total approach is one of three methods that used to determine the profit-maximizing quantity of output. The other two methods involve the direct analysis of economic profit or a comparison of marginal revenue and marginal cost.

     See also | perfect competition, short-run production analysis | perfect competition, marginal analysis | perfect competition, breakeven output | perfect competition, profit analysis | short-run production alternatives | perfect competition, profit maximization | perfect competition, loss minimization |


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INCOME EFFECT

The change in quantity demanded that results because a change in the demand price of a good affects real income (that is, the purchasing power of income) even though nominal income remains the same. This is one of two reasons, or effects, underlying the law of demand and the negative slope of the market demand curve. The other is the substitution effect.

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