Marginal utility

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In economics, the marginal utility of a good or service is the utility gained (or lost) from an increase (or decrease) in the consumption of that good or service. Economists sometimes speak of a law of diminishing marginal utility, meaning that there are diminishing returns in consumption, so that the first unit of consumption of a good or service yields more utility than the second and subsequent units.

The concept of marginal utility played a crucial role in the marginal revolution of the late 19th century, and led to the replacement of the labor theory of value by neoclassical value theory in which the relative prices of goods and services are simultaneously determined by marginal rates of substitution in consumption and marginal rates of transformation in production, which are equal in economic equilibrium.


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