October 23, 2016 

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TOTAL VARIABLE COST CURVE: A curve that graphically represents the relation between total variable cost incurred by a firm in the short-run production of a good or service and the quantity produced. The marginal cost curve, THE focal point for the analysis of short-run production, can be derived directly from the total variable cost curve. The shape of the total variable cost curve reflects increasing marginal returns at small quantities of output and decreasing marginal returns at later quantities.

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SPECIALIZATION: The condition in which resources are primarily devoted to specific tasks. This is one of THE most important and most fundamental notions in the study of economics. Civilized human beings have long recognized that limited resources can be more effectively used in the production the goods and services that satisfy unlimited wants and needs if those resources specialize. For example, three ice cream parlor workers, can be, in total, more productive if one runs the cash register, another scoops the ice cream, and a third adds the hot fudge topping. By devoting their energies to learning how to do their respective tasks really, really well, these three workers can produce more hot fudge sundaes than if each performed all required tasks.

     See also | resources | economics | limited resources | production | goods | services | unlimited wants and needs | comparative advantage | division of labor |

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Time lags that occur between the onset of an economic problem and the full impact of the policy intended to correct the problem. Policy lags come in two broad categories--inside lag (getting the policy activated) and outside lag (the subsequent impact of the policy). The three specific inside lags are recognition lag, decision lag, and implementation lag. The one specific outside lag is termed impact lag. Policy lags can reduce the effectiveness of business-cycle stabilization policies and can even destabilize the economy. Policy lags, especially inside lags, are often different for monetary policy than for fiscal policy.

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