Short Run


DEFINITION of 'Short Run'

In economics, it is the concept that within a certain period of time, in the future, at least one input is fixed while others are variable. The short run is not a definite period of time, but rather varies based on the length of the firm's contracts. For example, a firm may have entered into lease contracts which fix the amount of rent over the next month, year or several years. Or the firm may have wage contracts with certain workers which cannot be changed until the contract renewal.


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In the analysis of short run versus long run costs, it is important to understand the behavior of the firms. In certain situations, it may be preferable to keep operating an unprofitable firm over the short run if this helps to partially offset costs that are fixed. In the long run, however, an unprofitable firm will be able to terminate its leases and wage agreements and shut down operations.

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