Long Run Market Entry and Exits
Decisions to Enter or Exit a Market in the Long Run
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What Guides Decisions to Enter or Exit a Market in the Long Run?
It is impossible to precisely define the line between the short run and the long run with a stopwatch, or even with a calendar. It varies according to the specific business. Therefore, the distinction between the short run and the long run is more technical: in the short run, firms cannot change the usage of fixed inputs, while in the long run, the firm can adjust all factors of production.
In a competitive market, profits are a red cape that incites businesses to charge. If a business is making a profit in the short run, it has an incentive to expand existing factories or to build new ones. New firms may start production, as well. When new firms enter the industry in response to increased industry profits it is called entry.
Losses are the black thundercloud that causes businesses to flee. If a business is making losses in the short run, it will either keep limping along or just shut down, depending on whether its revenues are covering its variable costs. But in the long run, firms that are facing losses will cease production altogether. The long-run process of reducing production in response to a sustained pattern of losses is called exit. The following Clear It Up feature discusses where some of these losses might come from, and the reasons why some firms go out of business.