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A PRIORI: A presumption made before an analysis is undertaken, often based on experiences, beliefs, or deductions from seemingly self-evident propositions about how the world works. This is a Latin for assumption or axiom. A similar sounding, but opposite term is a posteriori, which is derived from observation or facts. For example, in the study of economics of crime you might assume, a priori, that people are basically "good", because that just seems to be part of human nature, and conclude, a posteriori, that people are more likely to commit crimes when the threat of capture and conviction is lower.

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BALANCE OF TRADE: The difference between funds received by a country when exporting merchandise and the funds paid for importing merchandise. The balance of trade is a major part of the current accounts portion of the balance of payments. A balance of trade surplus results if exports exceed imports, commonly termed a favorable balance of trade, and a balance of trade deficit exists if imports exceed exports, analogously termed an unfavorable balance of trade. The "favorable" and "unfavorable" normative connotations attached to the balance of trade rests with the presumption that a nation is "better off" when it exports more than it imports, which is not necessarily true.

     See also | foreign trade | export | import | current account | balance of payments | balance of trade surplus | balance of trade deficit | favorable balance of trade | unfavorable balance of trade | normative economics |


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AVERAGE PRODUCT

The quantity of total output produced per unit of a variable input, holding all other inputs fixed. Average product, usually abbreviated AP, is found by dividing total product by the quantity of the variable input. Average product, which occasionally goes by the alias average physical product (APP), is one of two measures derived from total product. The other is marginal product.

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