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LABOR-LEISURE TRADEOFF: The perpetual tradeoff faced by human beings between the amount of time spent engaged in wage-paying productive work and satisfaction-generating leisure activities. The key to this tradeoff is a comparison between the wage received from working and the amount of satisfaction generated from leisure. Such a comparison generally means that a higher wage entices people to spend more time working, which entails a positively sloped labor supply curve. However, the backward-bending labor supply curve results when a higher wage actually entices people to work less and to "consume" more leisure time.

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Lesson 1: Economic Basics | Unit 3: The Economy Page: 8 of 18

Topic: A Mixed Economy: Markets and Government <=PAGE BACK | PAGE NEXT=>

Markets do an effective (and efficient) job of answering the three questions of allocation--most of the time.
  • Markets are the VOLUNTARY exchange of goods and services.
  • A pure market economy is an economy that uses nothing but markets to allocate resources.
  • A pure market economy is a useful theoretical benchmark.
Market responses to the allocation questions:
  • What? Resources are used to produce goods with the highest prices.
  • How? Goods are produced using the combination of resource with the lowest prices.
  • For Whom? People with more income buy more goods.

Government also helps answer the three questions of allocation.
  • Government allocation is INVOLUNTARY. It sets the laws and rules.
  • A pure command economy is an economy that uses nothing but government to allocate resources.
  • A pure command economy is another useful theoretical benchmark.
Government responses to the allocation questions:
  • What? When government spends taxes, it dictates what goods will be produced.
  • How? Government has laws and rules that specify how resources will be used to produce goods.
  • For Whom? Government collects taxes from some people and distributes them among other people.

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LAW OF INCREASING OPPORTUNITY COST

The proposition that opportunity cost, the value of foregone production, increases as the quantity of a good produced increases. This fundamental economic principles can be seen in the production possibilities schedule and is illustrated graphically through the slope of the production possibilities curve. It generates a distinctive convex shape, flat at the top and steep at the bottom.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time strolling through a department store wanting to buy either a bottle of blackcherry flavored spring water or a travel case for you toothbrush. Be on the lookout for small children selling products door-to-door.
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The portion of aggregate output U.S. citizens pay in taxes (30%) is less than the other six leading industrialized nations -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, or Japan.
"Carpe diem! Rejoice while you are alive; enjoy the day; live life to the fullest; make the most of what you have. It is later than you think."

-- Horace, Ancient Roman poet

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Personal Disposable Income
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