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MARGINAL ANALYSIS: A basic technique used in the economics that analyzes small, incremental changes in key variables. The economic obsession with marginal changes exists for at least two reasons. One reason is that many economic decisions made in the real world are made "at the margin." A second reason for using marginal analysis can best be termed analytical sophistication.

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PRODUCTION POSSIBILITIES SCHEDULE: A table of numbers that illustrates the production possibilities of an economy--the alternative combinations of two goods that an economy can produce with given resources and technology. A production possibilities schedule illustrates that the economy must give up the production of one good to produce of another good--the basic economic notion of opportunity cost. A production possibilities schedule is also used to derive the highly useful production possibilities curve (or frontier)

     See also | production possibilities | production possibilities curve | resources | technology | full employment | unemployment | opportunity cost | economic growth | law of increasing opportunity cost | scarcity | convex |


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AUTONOMOUS CONSUMPTION

Household consumption expenditures that do not depend on income or production (especially disposable income, national income, or even gross domestic product). That is, changes in income do not generate changes in consumption. Autonomous consumption is best thought of as a baseline or minimum level of consumption that the household sector undertakes in the unlikely event that income falls to zero. It is measured by the intercept term of the consumption function or the consumption line. The alternative to autonomous consumption is induced consumption, which does depend on income.

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