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Economics has identified and labeled several kinds of cost.

One important distinction is between accounting cost[?] and opportunity cost (also "economic cost"?). The former is total amount of money or goods expended in a endeavour. The latter is the value of the most valuable endeavour that had to be foregone in order to pursue the current endeavour. In theoretical economics, cost (used without qualification) often means opportunity cost.

Another important distinction is between private cost[?] and social cost[?]; the former is the part of the cost paid by the purchaser of a good or service, while the latter is the part of the same cost paid by society at large. (See Externality.)

One technique in microeconomics is to analyze various costs incurred by consumers and others by type and category.

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