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February 28, 2024 

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EXCESS CAPACITY: A condition that exists when monopolistic competition achieves long-run equilibrium such that production by each firm is less than minimum efficient scale. The implication of this condition is that each firm is not producing up to its fullest capacity, as would be the case under perfect competition, and thus more firms are need to produce total market output compared to perfect competition. Excess capacity results because market control means a monopolistically competitive firm faces a negatively-sloped demand curve. Long-run equilibrium is thus achieved by the tangency of the negatively-sloped demand curve and the long-run average cost curve, which results in economies to scale.

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PRINCIPLE: A generally accepted, verified, fundamental law of nature. Principles have been tested and verified through the scientific method. As a house is constructed from concrete, lumber, and nails, a theory is constructed from principles. To be a fundamental law of nature, a principle must capture a cause-and-effect relationship about the workings of the world. One example might be something like, "people seek the greatest benefit at the lowest cost." The scientific method is essentially the process of building theories by identifying and verifying these fundamental laws of nature.

     See also | law | scientific method | science | hypothesis | theory | verification | law of increasing opportunity cost | law of demand | law of supply | law of diminishing marginal utility | law of diminishing marginal returns |


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MARGINAL RETURNS

The change in the quantity of total product resulting from a unit change in a variable input, holding all other inputs fixed. Marginal returns is an older and more generic term for marginal product. While marginal product has largely replaced marginal returns in most discussions of short-run production, the phrase does persist in a few terms like the law of diminishing marginal returns.

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