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ENTRY BARRIER: An institutional, government, technological, or economic restriction on the entry of firms into a market or industry. The four primary barriers to entry are: resource ownership, patents and copyrights, government restrictions, and start-up costs. Barriers to entry are a key reason for market control and the inefficiency that this generates. In particular, monopoly, oligopoly, monopsony, and oligopsony often owe their market control to assorted barriers to entry. By way of contrast, perfect competition, monopolistic competition, and monopsonistic competition have few if any barriers to entry and thus little or no market control.

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UTILITY: The satisfaction of wants and needs obtained from the use or consumption of goods and services. The terms utility and satisfaction are, for the most part, used interchangeably in economics. Two other somewhat technical economic terms frequently used to capture this notion are welfare and well-being. Whichever term is used, the underlying concept is the same: To what extent are unlimited wants and needs fulfilled using the goods and services produced from society's limited resources.

     See also | satisfaction | consumption | wants | needs | unlimited wants and needs | welfare | consumer demand theory | law of demand | scarcity | util | utility maximization |


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AVERAGE TOTAL COST CURVE

A curve that graphically represents the relation between average total cost incurred by a firm in the short-run product of a good or service and the quantity produced. The average total cost curve is constructed to capture the relation between average total cost and the level of output, holding other variables, like technology and resource prices, constant. The average total cost curve is one of three average curves. The other two are average variable cost curve and average fixed cost curve. A related curve is the marginal cost curve.

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