March 17, 2018 

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RATIONAL IGNORANCE: The decision not to become informed about something because the cost of doing it is more than the expected benefit. In that information is costly, there's always some limit to how much anyone can know. The idea of rational ignorance, while popping up on a daily basis for most of us, is quite important come election time. Many voters decided, logically so, that it's not really worth their efforts to get ALL of the details on every candidate and issue on the ballot.

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Capital investment expenditures for factories, machinery, tools, and buildings. This is one of two main categories of gross private domestic investment included in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The other category is change in private inventories. This category is generally about 95 to 97 percent of gross private domestic investment and includes the capital goods that best reflect what most people consider capital investment.
Fixed investment is expenditures made by the business sector',500,400)">business sector for the factories and equipment used as productive resources. Business expenditures for fixed investment are not only critical for expanding the economy's long-run production capabilities, they also play a key role in short-run business cycles. Expansions see more fixed investment and contractions see less.

Fixed investment is divided into two major categories: nonresidential and residential. Each of these subcategories is then further divided into structures and producers' durable equipment.

  • The nonresidential category is just under 70 percent of gross private domestic investment and just over 70 percent of fixed investment. This subcategory includes structures (buildings, pipelines, oil wells) and producers' durable equipment (computers, machinery, vehicles). Structures are about one-fourth of nonresidential fixed investment and producers' durable equipment is about three-fourths.

  • The residential category primarily includes houses and apartments, and comes in at just under 30 percent of both fixed investment and gross private domestic investment. Like nonresidential fixed investment, residential fixed investment is divided into structures and producers' durable equipment. Structures are separated into single family (houses) and multifamily (apartments).

    Of some importance, single family structures can be owned by either a business or an individual. In other words, the production of an owner-occupied house is included as gross private domestic investment in the National Income and Product Accounts. This is the only notable purchase made by the household sector that is not included in personal consumption expenditures. Structures are about 98 percent of this residential category and producers' durable equipment is the remaining 2 percent.


Recommended Citation:

FIXED INVESTMENT, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia,, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2018. [Accessed: March 17, 2018].

Check Out These Related Terms...

     | change in private inventories | personal consumption expenditures | government consumption expenditures and gross investment | net exports of goods and services | durable goods, consumption | nondurable goods, consumption | services, consumption |

Or For A Little Background...

     | gross private domestic investment | gross domestic product, expenditures | investment | investment expenditures | business sector | gross domestic product | production | product markets | National Income and Product Accounts | Bureau of Economic Analysis | National Bureau of Economic Research |

And For Further Study...

     | macroeconomic sectors | circular flow | business cycles | gross domestic product, ins and outs | gross domestic product, income | gross domestic product, welfare | net domestic product | national income | personal income | disposable income | gross national product | real gross domestic product | saving | investment business cycles | investment, production possibilities |

Related Websites (Will Open in New Window)...

     | Bureau of Economic Analysis | National Bureau of Economic Research |

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