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What is TRADE-OFF? What does TRADE-OFF mean? TRADE-OFF meaning - TRADE-OFF definition - TRADE-OFF explanation.
Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ license.
A trade-off (or tradeoff) is a situation that involves losing one quality or aspect of something in return for gaining another quality or aspect. More colloquially, if one thing increases, some other thing must decrease. Tradeoffs can occur for many reasons, including simple physics (into a given amount of space, you can fit many small objects or fewer large objects). The idea of a tradeoff often implies a decision to be made with full comprehension of both the upside and downside of a particular choice, such as when a person decides whether to invest in stocks (more risky but with a greater potential return) versus bonds (generally safer, but lower potential returns).
The term is also used widely in an evolutionary context, in which case natural selection and sexual selection act as the ultimate "decision-makers". In biology, the concepts of tradeoffs and constraints are often closely related. In economics, a trade-off is commonly expressed in terms of the opportunity cost of one potential choice, which is the loss of the best available alternative.
The concept of a trade-off is often used to describe situations in everyday life. The old saying "do not put all of your eggs into one basket" implies a trade-off with respect to spreading risk, as when one buys a mutual fund composed of many stocks rather than only one or a few stocks that may have a higher expected value of return. Similarly, trash cans can be small or large. A large trash can does not need to be put out for pickup so often, but it may become so heavy when full that one risks injury when trying to move it.
In cold climates, mittens serve well to keep the hands warm, but they do not allow the hands to function as well as do gloves. In a like fashion, warm coats are often bulky and hence difficult to store or even to hang up.
When copying music from compact disks to a computer, lossy compression formats, such as MP3, are used routinely to save harddisk space, but information is thrown away to the detriment of sound quality. Lossless compression schemes, such as FLAC or ALAC save less space but do not affect the sound quality.
Large cars can carry many people, but they also tend to be heavy (and often not very aerodynamic) and hence have relatively poor fuel economy.
In the Olympics, the best sprinters are not the same individuals as the best marathoners, a trade-off based on various morphological, physiological (e.g., variation in muscle fiber type), and possibly motivational factors.
In economics a trade-off is expressed in terms of the opportunity cost of a particular choice, which is the loss of the most preferred alternative given up. A tradeoff, then, involves a sacrifice that must be made to obtain a certain product, service or experience, rather than others that could be made or obtained using the same required resources. For example, for a person going to a basketball game, their opportunity cost is the loss of the alternative of watching a particular television program at home.
Many factors affect the tradeoff environment within a particular country, including availability of raw materials, a skilled labor force, machinery for producing a product, technology and capital, market rate to produce that product on reasonable time scale, and so forth.