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TOTAL VARIABLE COST AND TOTAL PRODUCT: Because variable cost is largely associated with the cost of employing a variable input in the short run, it's possible to derive the total variable cost curve from the total product curve. This admittedly simplistic connection between total product and total variable cost is designed to illustrate the fundamental role that the law of diminishing marginal returns plays in the slope and shape of the total variable cost curve. Because he slope of the total variable cost curve, which is also the slope of the total cost curve, is marginal cost, this analysis also indicates how the law of diminishing marginal returns relates to marginal cost.

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M: The standard abbreviation for imports produced by the domestic economy and purchased by the foreign sector, especially when used in the study of macroeconomics. This abbreviation is most often seen in the aggregate expenditure equation, AE = C + I + G + (X - M), where C, I, G, and (X - M) represent expenditures by the four macroeconomic sectors, household, business, government, and foreign. The United States, for example, buys a lot of the stuff produced within the boundaries of other countries, including bananas, coffee, cars, chocolate, computers, and, well, a lot of other products. Imports, together with exports, are the essence of foreign trade--goods and services that are traded among the citizens of different nations. Imports and exports are frequently combined into a single term, net exports (exports minus imports).

     See also | imports | exports | net exports | foreign sector | aggregate expenditures | consumption expenditures | investment expenditures | government purchases | domestic | foreign trade | balance of trade | free trade | trade barriers | quota | comparative advantage | C | I | G | M |


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MARGINAL FACTOR COST, PERFECT COMPETITION

The change in total factor cost resulting from a change in the quantity of factor input employed by a perfectly competitive firm. Marginal factor cost, abbreviated MFC, indicates how total factor cost changes with the employment of one more input. It is found by dividing the change in total factor cost by the change in the quantity of input used. Marginal factor cost is compared with marginal revenue product to identify the profit-maximizing quantity of input to hire.

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