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LAFFER CURVE: The graphical inverted-U relation between tax rates and total tax collections by government. Developed by economist Arthur Laffer, the Laffer curve formed a key theoretical foundation for supply-side economics of President Reagan during the 1980s. It is based on the notion that government collects zero revenue if the tax rate is 0% and if the tax rate is 100%. At a 100% tax rate no one has the incentive to work, produce, and earn income, so there is no income to tax. As such, the optimum tax rate, in which government revenue is maximized, lies somewhere between 0% and 100%. This generates a curve shaped like and inverted U, rising from zero to a peak, then falling back to zero. If the economy is operating to the right of the peak, then government revenue can be increased by decreasing the tax rate. This was used to justify supply-side economic policies during the Reagan Administration, especially the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 (Kemp-Roth Act).

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SHORT-RUN PRODUCTION: An analysis of the production decision made by a firm in the short run, with the ultimate goal of explaining the law of supply and the upward-sloping supply curve. The central feature of this short-run analysis is the law of diminishing marginal returns, which results in the short run when larger amounts of a variable input, like labor, are added to a fixed input, like capital. This analysis of short-run production is but the first step in a brisk walk toward a better understanding of supply. Further steps include the cost of short-run production, especially marginal cost, and the market structure in which a firm operates, such as perfect competition or monopoly.

     See also | fixed input | variable input | law of diminishing marginal returns | marginal product | total product | average product | marginal cost | total variable cost | total cost | total fixed cost | profit maximization | total revenue and total cost | marginal revenue and marginal cost |


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LAW OF COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE

A principle that states that every nation, worker, or production entity has a production activity that incurs a lower opportunity cost than that of another nation, worker, or production entity, which means that trade between the two can be beneficial to both if each specializes in the production of a good with lower relative opportunity cost. This law is most often studied in the confines of international trade, but it also applies to labor and other types of production.

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