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In business usage, the excess of total revenue over total cost during a specific period of time. In economics, profit is the excess over the returns to capital, land, and labour. Since these resources are measured by their opportunity costs, economic profit can be negative. There are various sources of profit: an innovator who introduces a new production technique can earn entrepreneurial profits; changes in consumer tastes may bring some firms windfall profits; or a firm may restrict output to prevent prices from falling to the level of costs (monopoly profit).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on profit, visit Britannica.com.