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In economics, x-efficiency is the effectiveness with which a given set of inputs are used to produce outputs. If a firm is producing the maximum output it can given the resources it employs, such as men and machinery, and the best technology available, it is said to be x-efficient. x-inefficiency occurs when x-efficiency is not achieved.

In a market with perfect competition, there will in general be no x-inefficiency because if any firm is less efficient than the others it will not make sufficient profits to stay in business in the long term. However, with other market forms such as monopoly it may be possible for x-inefficiency to persist, because the lack of competition makes it possible to use inefficient production techniques and still stay in business.

X-inefficiency is not the only type of inefficiency in economics. X inefficiency only looks at the outputs that are produced with given inputs. It doesn't take account of whether the inputs are the best ones to be using, or whether the outputs are the best ones to be producing, which is referred to as allocative efficiency. For example, a firm that employs brain surgeons to dig ditches might still be x-efficient, even though reallocating the brain surgeons to curing the sick would be more efficient for society overall.

See also: Pareto efficiency, production, costs, and pricing

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