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May 26, 2022 

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BENEFIT-COST ANALYSIS: An analytical technique that compares the benefit generated by an activity with its opportunity cost of production. The rule is that if benefits exceed costs, then the activity is efficient and should be undertaken. In some cases the end result of benefit-cost analysis is net benefits, which is benefits minus cost. A positive value means the activity is efficient. In other cases the end result of benefit-cost analysis is a benefit-cost ratio, which is benefits divided by costs. A ratio greater than 1.0 is thus the indication of an efficient activity.

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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS:

The process of investigating economic phenomena in a systematic manner. In one sense, this is the heart and soul of the economic discipline. While economists spend an ample time identifying economic concepts, the end result of this discovery process is usually aimed at combining these concepts in such a way as to evaluate or analyze alternative consequences.
For example, economists seek to understand the notions of demand and supply. But this is not the end result of their analytical quest. They are more interested in analyzing how a change in buyers' income, as a demand determinant, affects the demand for a good like gasoline and subsequently its price. Or how technological improvements, as a supply determinant, affects the supply of a good like computers and subsequently the quantity sold.

One important aspect of economic analysis is that it is typically performed "at the margin," meaning that economists are usually more concerned with small, incremental changes than with overall totals. For example, economists are more interested in how many additional computers are sold because of the technological advance than in the total sales of computers.

The reason for this "marginal" obsession is that consumers, producers, and other economic decision-makers usually make choices "at the margin." Consumers decide whether or not to buy another hot fudge sundae today (having eaten dozens this year). They do not decide in January how many to purchase for the entire year. They decide each hot fudge sundae purchase one at a time. And so it goes for many economic decisions.

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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia, http://www.AmosWEB.com, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2022. [Accessed: May 26, 2022].


Check Out These Related Terms...

     | marginal analysis | graphical analysis | scientific method | comparative statics |


Or For A Little Background...

     | economics | positive economics | normative economics | economic thinking |


And For Further Study...

     | seven economic rules | three questions of allocation | dismal science | four estates | distribution standards | political views | demand shock | supply shock | utility analysis | short-run production analysis | business cycles | circular flow |


Related Websites (Will Open in New Window)...

     | American Economic Association |


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