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SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION: An independent federal agency that was started in 1953 to help small business. It provides a variety of assistance, including financial, technical, and managerial help. It helps other agencies in the federal government direct contracts and spending in the direction of proprietorships and small corporations. It also provides low interest loans to small businesses that suffer from natural disasters.

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LABOR AGREEMENT: A formal, official, legal contract between a firm and the labor union representing the firm's employees. Such an agreement stipulates the various aspects of employment, including wages, fringe benefits, vacations, layoffs, promotions, and grievance procedures. The terms of the agreement are generally negotiated through the collective bargaining process. Should the collective bargaining process breakdown, the terms of the labor agreement might be helped along through a third-party mediator. If this doesn't help, then the labor union might call a strike or the firm might impose a lockout. Once in effect, any questions about the terms of the agreement are often subject to arbitration.

     See also | labor union | collective bargaining | Taft-Hartley Act | National Labor Relations Act | bilateral monopoly | mediation | strike | lockout | arbitration |


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MINIMUM EFFICIENT SCALE

The quantity of production that places a firm at the lowest point on its long-run average cost curve. The minimum efficient scale achieves production of a good at the lowest possible opportunity cost. In other words, it is not possible to produced a good at any lower cost than at the minimum efficient scale. At this quantity the production involves foregoing the least amount of other goods.

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