Marginal Analysis

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DEFINITION of 'Marginal Analysis'

An examination of the additional benefits of an activity compared to the additional costs of that activity. Companies use marginal analysis as a decision-making tool to help them maximize their profits. Individuals unconsciously use marginal analysis to make a host of everyday decisions.

Marginal analysis is also widely used in microeconomics when analyzing how a complex system is affected by marginal manipulation of its comprising variables.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Marginal Analysis'

For example, if you already exercise five times a week and are thinking about adding a sixth day, you would use marginal analysis to determine whether the benefits of the sixth day, such as additional calories burned, endurance gained and muscle built, would be worth the costs of the sixth day, such as giving up sleeping in on Saturdays, having less energy to do your other weekend activities, and increasing your risk of injury.

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