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TOTAL COST AND MARGINAL COST: A mathematical connection between marginal cost and total cost stating that marginal cost IS the slope of the total cost curve. If the total cost curve has a positive slope (that is, is upward sloping), then marginal cost is positive. Moreover, if the total cost curve has a positive and increasingly steeper slope, then the marginal cost is positive and rising. If the total cost curve has a positive and decreasingly steeper slope, then the marginal cost is positive but falling.

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Lesson 9: Macro Basics | Unit 1: The Macroeconomy Page: 3 of 16

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  • The basic definition of an economy, which is an interactive system of production, distribution, and consumption of resources, goods and services.
  • The four macroeconomic sectors of and their expenditures on total production: (a) the household sector and consumption, (b) the business sector and investment, (c) the government sector and government purchases, and (d) the foreign sector and net exports.
  • The primary economic functions of the household sector, which is consumption, the business sector, which is production, and the government sector, which is regulating economic activity.
  • The difference between microeconomics, the study of the parts of the economy, and macroeconomics, the study of the aggregate economy.


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MARGINAL COST AND LAW OF DIMINISHING MARGINAL RETURNS

Decreasing then increasing marginal cost, reflected by a U-shaped marginal cost curve, is the result of increasing then decreasing marginal returns. In particular the decreasing marginal returns is caused by the law of diminishing marginal returns. As such, the law of diminishing marginal returns affects not only the short-run production of a firm but also the cost of short-run production. This translates into a positively-sloped supply curve for profit-maximizing competitive firms.

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