How is the marginal product of a unit of labor determined?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The marginal product of a unit of labor is the added amount of product that can be made when that extra unit of labor is used.  In other words, let us say that I have three workers in my shop and we make 10 shirts per hour.  Let us then say that I hire a fourth worker and we are then able to make 15 shirts per hour.  In that case, the marginal product of the labor of the fourth worker is 5 shirts per hour.

As can be seen here, we obtain the marginal product of a unit of labor by taking the amount of the product made with that labor and subtracting from it the amount of the product made without that labor.