Long Period Phrase

Long Period Phrase

Long Period, phrase used by economists to distinguish between changes which can be expected to take place quickly (in the 'short period') and those which occur more slowly over the 'long period'. The distinction is important, for example, when the responsiveness of the supply of a commodity to a small change in price is being considered. Although supply may be inelastic and unresponsive in the short period, given time for, say, investment of new capital equipment to take place, supply may be highly responsive over the long period. The phrase is loose in the sense that the length of the (clock-fine) period is not specific, so that what can be considered a short period in one line of production (steel production) may be considered long in another (rag and bone collection), depending upon the time taken for adjustments in equipment to be made. The term is frequently used to mean the length of time necessary for all the adjustments caused by an initial event, like a shift in taste or change in relative factor prices, to work themselves out.

Longfield, Samuel Mountifort (1802-84), Irish economist and jurist. He became Professor of Political Economy and later Professor of Law at the University of Dublin. His contribution to economics is to be found largely in Lectures on Political Economy (1834). In general Longfield adhered to the basic doctrines of classical political economy, but he introduced several important innovations. lie rejected the 'wages fund' theory and held that wages were determined by the productivity of labour. He maintained that the rate of interest was determined on the supply side by the willingness of savers to sacrifice the present for the future, and on the demand side by the productivity of capital. His work on tariffs and the trade cycle also tended to anticipate later ideas.

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