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TRADE BARRIERS: Restrictions, invariably by government, that prevent free trade among countries. The more popular trade restrictions are tariffs, import quotas, and assorted nontariff barriers. An occasional embargo will be even thrown into this mix. The primary use of trade barriers is to restrict imports from entering in country. By restring imports, domestic producers of the restricted goods are protected from competition and are even subsidized through higher prices. Consumers, though, get the short end of this stick with higher prices and a limited choice of goods. In that producers tend to have more political clout than consumers, it's pretty obvious why trade barriers are a "natural" state of affairs.

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POLLUTION: Any waste that imposes an opportunity cost when it's returned to the natural environment. Pollution is one of the more prevalent examples of an externality cost and market failure. Examples include, but by no means are limited to, car exhaust, municipal sewage, industrial waste, and agricultural chemical runoff from farms. Pollution waste can be classified as degradable, persistent, or nondegradable, depending on how easily it can be broken down into nonharmful form by the natural environment. Pollution problems can never be eliminated, but they can be handled with efficiency if the amount of pollution is such that the cost of damages is the same as the cost of cleanup.

     See also | market failure | externality | environment | natural resources | materials balance | efficiency | Pigouvian tax | recycling | regulation | Coase theorem | command and control | pollution rights market |


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AVERAGE PRODUCT CURVE

A curve that graphically illustrates the relation between average product and the quantity of the variable input, holding all other inputs fixed. This curve indicates the per unit output at each level of the variable input. The average product curve is one of three related curves used in the analysis of the short-run production of a firm. The other two are total product curve and marginal product curve.

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