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Process of exchanging income for an asset that is expected to produce earnings at a later time. An investor refrains from consumption in the present in hopes of a greater return in the future. Investment may be influenced by rates of interest, with the rate of investment rising as interest rates fall, but other factors more difficult to measure may also be importantfor example, the business community's expectations about future demand and profit, technical changes in production methods, and expected relative costs of labour and capital. Investment cannot occur without saving, which provides funding. Because investment increases an economy's capacity to produce, it is a factor contributing to economic growth.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on investment, visit Britannica.com.