Glossary

3-6-3 rule – An informal rule of operation of savings and loan associations in the 1950s and 1960s in which a 3 percent interest was paid on savings accounts, a 6 percent interest was charged for mortgage loans, and the president was playing golf by 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon. This informal rule is used to indicate that the savings and loan industry during this period was far removed from the high-stressed financial markets that characterize modern banking.

4-firm concentration ratio – The proportion of total output in an industry that’s produced by the four largest firms in the industry. This is one of two common concentration ratios. The other is the eight-firm concentration ratio. The four-firm concentration ratio is commonly used to indicate the degree to which an industry is oligopolistic and how market control is held by the four largest firms in the industry.

401(k) plan – A savings retirement plan, set up by an employer, that allows workers to set aside a portion of their wages and salaries. The employer can match the contributions made by the employee. Like other private pension plans, income diverted to 401(k) plans are tax deferred, that is, taxes on not paid on the income until it is withdrawn during retirement.

45-degree line – A guideline used in Keynesian economics in conjunction with the consumption line (to derive saving) and the aggregate expenditures line (to identify Keynesian equilibrium). This guideline forms a 45-degree angle with both the horizontal income axis and the vertical consumption expenditure (or aggregate expenditures) axis in the Keynesian graphical analysis. Each point on the line represents equality between income and horizontal axis and consumption expenditure (or aggregate expenditures) on the vertical axis.

8-firm concentration ratio – The proportion of total output in an industry that’s produced by the eight largest firms in the industry. This is one of two common concentration ratios. The other is the four-firm concentration ratio. The eight-firm concentration ratio is commonly used to indicate the degree to which an industry is oligopolistic and how market control is held by the eight largest firms in the industry.

a – The common notation for the “intercept” term of an equation specified as Y = a + bX. Mathematically, the a-intercept term indicates the value of the Y variable when the value of the X variable is equal to zero. Theoretically, the a-intercept is frequently used to indicate exogenous or independent influences on the Y variable, that is, influences that are independent of the X variable. For example, if Y represents consumption and X represents national income, a measures autonomous consumption expenditures.

a posteriori – A conclusion reached through logical reasoning based on facts and observations about the real world. This notion is closely related to the scientific verification of hypotheses and the identification of principles. A similar sounding, but opposite term is a prior, which is a unverified presumption made before an analysis is undertaken. For example, in the study of economics of crime you might assume, a priori, that people are basically “good”, and conclude, a posteriori, that people are more likely to commit crimes when the threat of capture and conviction is lower.

a priori – A presumption made before an analysis is undertaken, often based on experiences, beliefs, or deductions from seemingly self-evident propositions about how the world works. This is a Latin for assumption or axiom. A similar sounding, but opposite term is a posteriori, which is derived from observation or facts. For example, in the study of economics of crime you might assume, a priori, that people are basically “good”, because that just seems to be part of human nature, and conclude, a posteriori, that people are more likely to commit crimes when the threat of capture and conviction is lower.

AAUP – The abbreviation for American Association of University Professors, which is an association of university and college faculty established in 1915 to protect academic freedom. The AAUP is the closest thing university faculty have to a labor union. While it does engage in some collective bargaining functions with specific universities, similar to traditional labor unions, its primary function is to ensure that faculty maintain intellectual or academic freedom from political of social pressures.

ability-to-pay principle – A principle of taxation in which taxes are based on the income or resource-ownership ability of people to pay the tax. The income tax collected by our friends at the Internal Revenue Service is one of the most common taxes that seeks to abide by the ability-to-pay principle. In theory, the income tax system is set up such that people with greater incomes pay more taxes. Proportional and progressive taxes follow this ability-to-pay principle, while regressive taxes, such as sales taxes and Social Security taxes, don’t.

absolute advantage – The general ability to produced more goods using fewer resources. This idea of absolute advantage is important for trading that occurs between both people and nations. A nation can get an absolute advantage from an advanced level of technology or higher quality resources. For a person, an absolute advantage can result from natural abilities or the acquisition of human capital (education, training, or experience).

absolute poverty – The amount of income a person or family needs to purchase an absolute amount of the basic necessities of life. These basic necessities are identified in terms of calories of food, BTUs of energy, square feet of living space, etc. The problem with the absolute poverty level is that there really are no absolutes when in comes to consuming goods. You can consume a given poverty level of calories eating relatively expensive steak, relatively inexpensive pasta, or garbage from a restaurant dumpster. The income needed to acquire each of these calorie “minimums” vary greatly. That’s why some prefer relative poverty.

absolute poverty level – The amount of income a person or family needs to purchase an absolute amount of the basic necessities of life. These basic necessities are identified in terms of calories of food, BTUs of energy, square feet of living space, etc. The problem with the absolute poverty level is that there really are no absolutes when in comes to consuming goods. You can consume a given poverty level of calories eating relatively expensive steak, relatively inexpensive pasta, or garbage from a restaurant dumpster. The income needed to acquire each of these calorie “minimums” vary greatly. That’s why some prefer a relative poverty level.

abstraction – Simplifying the complexities of the real world by ignoring (hopefully) unimportant details while doing economic analysis. Abstraction is often criticized because it’s, well, it’s JUST NOT REALISTIC. However, when done correctly (ignoring things that JUST DON’T MATTER), then the pursuit of knowledge is greatly enhanced by abstraction. For example, when travelling cross country along a high-speed interstate highway, a paper road map is a handy tool. It shows towns and cities along the way, the major intersections, rest stop locations, and other important points of interest. However, it ignores unimportant details. It doesn’t realistically show the location of every tree, bush, or blade of grass. Why bother? This information won’t enhance your road trip.

abstraction methods – Abstraction is the process of simplifying the complexities of the real world by ignoring (hopefully) unimportant details, especially (for our purposes) while doing economic analysis. Three common methods of actual, real world abstraction used in economic theories are words, graphs, and equations. Words can be misunderstood. Graphs are a little more precise. And equations tend to be the most precise of the three.

accelerator – The ratio between investment expenditures and the change in gross domestic product. This is based on the notion that business investment depends on the rate of growth of aggregate output. If the economy is expanding, in other words, then the business sector invests in more capital goods to produce the extra output needed. This accelerator effect modifies and magnifies the simply multiplier effect based on the induced consumption and the marginal propensity to consume.

accessibility – The location of economic activity (especially in terms of land) relative to other activities. As real estate agents are prone to say, “The three most important factors in real estate are ‘location, location, location.'” Accessibility determines how easy or difficult (read this as costly) it is to allocate good, services, and resources. Transportation is a key factor in accessibility. Efficient, low cost transportation systems improve accessibility.

accounting cost – The actual outlays or expenses incurred in production that shows up a firm’s accounting statements or records. Accounting costs, while very important to accountants, company CEOs, shareholders, and the Internal Revenue Service, is only minimally important to economists. The reason is that economists are primarily interested in economic cost (also called opportunity cost). That fact is that accounting costs and economic costs aren’t always the same. An opportunity or economic cost is the value of foregone production. Some economic costs, actually a lot of economic opportunity costs, never show up as accounting costs. Moreover, some accounting costs, while legal, bonified payments by a firm, are not associated with any sort of opportunity cost.

accounting profit – The difference between a business’s revenue and it’s accounting expenses. This is the profit that’s listed on a company’s balance sheet, appears periodically in the financial sector of the newspaper, and is reported to the Internal Revenue Service for tax purposes. It frequently has little relationship to a company’s economic profit because of the difference between accounting expense and the opportunity cost of production. Some accounting expense is not an opportunity cost and some opportunity cost is does not show up as an accounting expenses.

accumulation – The process of acquiring an item and adding that item to others previously acquired. In an economic context this most often refers to the accumulation of capital, as in the phrase “capital accumulation.” However, it is also used in the context of consumer durable goods, financial assets, money, wealth, and a host of other “stock” variables. When applied to capital, the process of accumulation occurs through investment.

action lag – In the context of economic policies, a part of the implementation lag involving the time it takes for appropriate policies to be launched once they have been agreed to by policy makers. Another part of the implementation lag is the decision lag. For fiscal policy, this involves appropriating funds to government agencies (for government spending) or changing the tax code (for taxes) For monetary policy, this involves the buying and selling government securities in the open market. The action lag is usually shorter for monetary policy than fiscal policy.

activist policy – Government policies that involve explicit actions designed to achieve specific goals. A common type of activist policy is that designed to stabilize business cycles, reduce unemployment, and lower inflation, through government spending and taxes (fiscal policy) or the money supply (monetary policy). Activist policies are also term discretionary policies because they involve discretionary decisions by government. A contrast to activist policy is automatic stabilizers that help stabilize business cycles without explicit government actions.

actual investment – Investment expenditures that the business sector actual undertakes during a given time period, including both planned investment and any unplanned inventory changes. This is a critical component of Keynesian economics and the analysis of macroeconomic equilibrium, which occurs when actual investment is equal to planned investment. The difference between planned and actual investment is unplanned investment, which is inventory changes caused by a difference between aggregate expenditures and aggregate output. Should actual and planned investment differ, then aggregate expenditures are not equal to aggregate output, and the macroeconomy is not in equilibrium.

AD – The abbreviation for aggregate demand, which is the total (or aggregate) real expenditures on final goods and services produced in the domestic economy that buyers would willing and able to make at different price levels, during a given time period (usually a year). Aggregate demand (AD) is one half of the aggregate market analysis; the other half is aggregate supply. Aggregate demand, relates the economy’s price level, measured by the GDP price deflator, and aggregate expenditures on domestic production, measured by real gross domestic product. The aggregate expenditures are consumption, investment, government purchases, and net exports made by the four macroeconomic sectors (household, business, government, and foreign).

AD curve – The aggregate demand curve, which is a graphical representation of the relation between aggregate expenditures on real production and the price level, holding all ceteris paribus aggregate demand determinants constant. The aggregate demand, or AD, curve is one side of the graphical presentation of the aggregate market. The other side is occupied by the aggregate supply curve (which is actually two curves, the long-run aggregate supply curve and the short-run aggregate supply curve). The negative slope of the aggregate demand curve captures the inverse relation between aggregate expenditures on real production and the price level. This negative slope is attributable to the interest-rate effect, real-balance effect, and net-export effect.

ad valorem tariff – A tax on imports that is specified as a percentage of the value of the good or service being taxed. This is one form of trade barrier that’s intended to restrict imports into a country. Unlike nontariff barriers and quotas, which increase prices and thus revenue received by domestic producers, an ‘ad valorem tariff’ generates revenue for the government. For example: a 15 percent ad valorem tariff on a TV set worth $100 would pay a tariff of $15. One advantage of an ad valorem tariff is that it keeps up with changes in prices (mostly inflation).

ad valorem tax – A tax that is specified as a percentage of value. Sales, income, and property taxes are three of the more popular ad valorem taxes devised by government. The total ad valorem tax paid increases with the value of what’s being taxed.

AD-AS analysis – An economic model relating the price level and real production that is used to analyze business cycles, gross domestic product, unemployment, inflation, stabilization policies, and related macroeconomic phenomena. The AS-AD model, inspired by the standard market model, captures the interaction between aggregate demand (the buyers) and short-run and long-run aggregate supply (the sellers).

AD-AS model – An economic model relating the price level and real production that is used to analyze business cycles, gross domestic product, unemployment, inflation, stabilization policies, and related macroeconomic phenomena. The AS-AD model, inspired by the standard market model, captures the interaction between aggregate demand (the buyers) and short-run and long-run aggregate supply (the sellers).

Adam Smith – A Scottish professor (born 1723, died 1790) who is considered the father of modern economics for his revolutionary book, entitled An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations published in 1776.

ADB – An abbreviation that stands for either the African Development Bank the Asian Development Bank. The African Development Bank is a regional multilateral development institution engaged in promoting the economic development and social progress of its member countries in Africa. The Bank, established in 1964, started functioning in 1966 with its Headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’ lvoire. The Bank borrows funds from the international money and capital markets. Its shareholders are the 53 countries in Africa as well as 24 countries in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. The Asian Development Bank is a multilateral development finance institution dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific that engages in mostly public sector lending for development purposes in its developing member countries. They pursue this goal by helping to improve the quality of people’s lives providing loans and technical assistance for a broad range of development activities. ADB raises fund through bond issues on the world’s capital markets but they also rely on members’ contributions. The ADB was established in 1966 and has its headquarters in Manila, Philippines. As of September of 2003, the ADB had 58 member countries.

long-run aggregate market adjustment – Disequilibrium in the long-run aggregate market induces changes in the price level that restore equilibrium. If the price level is above the long-run equilibrium price level, economy-wide product market surpluses cause the price level to fall. If the price level is below the long-run equilibrium price level, economy-wide product market shortages cause the price level to rise. In both cases long-run equilibrium is restored. Price level changes induce changes in aggregate expenditures but NOT changes in real production. The reason is that long-run aggregate supply is full-employment real production, which is unaffected by the price level.

short-run aggregate market adjustment – Disequilibrium in the short-run aggregate market induces changes in the price level that restore equilibrium. If the price level is above the short-run equilibrium price level, economy-wide product market surpluses cause the price level to fall. If the price level is below the short-run equilibrium price level, economy-wide product market shortages cause the price level to rise. In both cases short-run equilibrium is restored. You might want to compare adjustment, long-run aggregate market. Price level changes induce changes in both aggregate expenditures and real production. Unlike the long-run aggregate market, changes in the price level can induce changes in short-run aggregate supply, making it greater or less than full-employment real production.

adverse selection – When a negotiation between two people with different amounts of information, that is, asymmetric information, restricts the quality of the good traded. This typically happens because the person with more information is able to negotiate a favorable exchange. This is frequently referred to as the “market for lemons.”

advertising – Information provided about a product by a company to promote or maintain sales, revenue, and or profit. Advertising is often an explicit method of signalling that sellers use to provide information to buyers. The primary objective of advertising from the sellers perspective is to increase (or at least maintain) demand for a product. To accomplish this objective advertising provides buyers with two important types of information — prices and product quality.

Federal Reserve System advisory councils – Three support committees that provide feedback to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System to assist in its assorted regulatory responsibilities, including Federal Advisory Council, Thrift Institutions Advisory Council, and Consumer Advisory Council. The Federal Advisory Council is a broad ranging council comprise of commercial bankers. The Thrift Institutions Advisory Council is comprised of representatives of thrift institutions. The Consumer Advisory Council is comprised of consumer credit representatives.

AE line – Another term for aggregate expenditure line, which is a line representing the relation between aggregate expenditures and gross domestic product used in the Keynesian cross. The aggregate expenditure line is obtained by adding investment expenditures, government purchases, and net exports to the consumption line. As such, the slope of the aggregate expenditure line is largely based on the slope of the consumption line (which is the marginal propensity to consume), with adjustments coming from the marginal propensity to invest, the marginal propensity for government purchases, and the marginal propensity to import. The intersection of the aggregate expenditures line and the 45-degree line identifies the equilibrium level of output in the Keynesian cross.

AEA – The abbreviation for, the American Economic Association, an organization of over 25,000 professional economists. Founded in 1885, this premier top-of-the-economic-association-list publishes the prestigious American Economic Review, arguably THE number one scholarly U.S. economic journal and the Journal of Economic Literature, arguably THE number one index of economic journal publications. The AEA, as acronymically inclined economists call it, also sponsors an annual conference where professional economists present scholarly papers on their latest scholarly research.

AFC – The abbreviation for average fixed cost, which is fixed cost per unit of output, found by dividing total fixed cost by the quantity of output. Average fixed cost is one of three related cost averages. The other two are average variable cost and avarage total cost. Average fixed cost decreases with larger quantities of output. Because fixed cost is FIXED and does not change with the quantity of output, a given cost is spread more thinly per unit as quantity increases. A thousand dollars of fixed cost averages out to $10 per unit if only 100 units are produced. But if 10,000 units are produced, then the average shrinks to a mere 10 cents per unit.

AFL – The abbreviation for the American Federation of Labor, which started as a collection of craft unions in 1886, this is now one half of the umbrella organization for labor unions in the United States (the AFL part of AFL-CIO). As a collection of craft unions, the AFL primarily represented skilled workers in particular occupations. However, it also contained unions representing unskilled industrial workers, which led to a rift among AFL members in 1938 and spawned the formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). This rift was closed in 1955, when both joined together to form the AFL-CIO, which is the primary advocate for workers and labor unions in the United States.

AFL-CIO – The umbrella organization for many labor unions in the United States, with AFL standing for American Federation of Labor, and CIO the abbreviation of Congress of Industrial Organizations. The AFL-CIO began as just the AFL in 1886 as a collection of craft unions representing skilled workers. It expanded to include semiskilled and unskilled workers represented by industrial unions. Differing interests among the two groups lead to a division of the original AFL in 1938 into two separate groups — the AFL containing craft unions and CIO containing industrial unions. This rift was closed in 1955, when the AFL and CIO merged to form the AFL-CIO.

African Development Bank – A regional multilateral development institution engaged in promoting the economic development and social progress of its member countries in Africa. The Bank, established in 1964, started functioning in 1966 with its Headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’ lvoire. The Bank borrows funds from the international money and capital markets. Its shareholders are the 53 countries in Africa as well as 24 countries in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

agglomeration – The clustering of several similar or related activities at the same location. Many industries have firms that tend to agglomerate, that is, locate very close to one another, leading to geographic concentration. For example, the motion picture industry is concentrated in California, the fashion industry is concentrated in New York, and the petroleum industry is concentrated in Texas. Agglomeration can be caused by accessibility to a concentrated natural resource (such as petroleum or sunny weather), but if often feeds upon itself through agglomeration economies. Firms in the same industry often have lower production cost when the located near their competitors.

agglomeration economies – A reduction in production cost the results when related firms locate near one another. Firms can be related as competitors in the same industry, by using the same inputs, or through providing output to the same demographic group. The fashion industry, for example, experiences agglomeration economies because they can share specialized inputs (photographers, models) that would be too expensive to employ full time. Retail stores have agglomeration economies when located in shopping malls because they have access to a large group of potential customers with lower advertising cost. Agglomeration economies is given as one of the primary reasons for the emergence of urban areas.

aggregate – A common modifier for an assortment of economic terms used in the study of macroeconomics that signifies a comprehensive, often national, total value. This modifier most often surfaces in the study of the AS-AD, or “aggregate market”, model of the economy with such terms as aggregate demand and aggregate supply. For example, aggregate demand indicates the total demand for production in the macroeconomy and aggregate supply indicates the total amount of that output produced. Two other noted “aggregate” terms are aggregate expenditures and aggregate production function.

aggregate demand – The total (or aggregate) real expenditures on final goods and services produced in the domestic economy that buyers would willing and able to make at different price levels, during a given time period (usually a year). Aggregate demand (AD) is one half of the aggregate market analysis; the other half is aggregate supply. Aggregate demand, relates the economy’s price level, measured by the GDP price deflator, and aggregate expenditures on domestic production, measured by real gross domestic product. The aggregate expenditures are consumption, investment, government purchases, and net exports made by the four macroeconomic sectors (household, business, government, and foreign).

aggregate demand curve – A graphical representation of the relation between aggregate expenditures on real production and the price level, holding all ceteris paribus aggregate demand determinants constant. The aggregate demand, or AD, curve is one side of the graphical presentation of the aggregate market. The other side is occupied by the aggregate supply curve (which is actually two curves, the long-run aggregate supply curve and the short-run aggregate supply curve). The negative slope of the aggregate demand curve captures the inverse relation between aggregate expenditures on real production and the price level. This negative slope is attributable to the interest-rate effect, real-balance effect, and net-export effect.

aggregate demand determinant – A ceteris paribus factor that affects aggregate demand, but which is assumed constant when the aggregate demand curve is constructed. Changes in any of the aggregate demand determinants cause the aggregate demand curve to shift. While a wide variety of specific ceteris paribus factors can cause the aggregate demand curve to shift, it’s usually most convenient to group them into the four, broad expenditure categories — consumption, investment, government purchases, and net exports. The reason is that changes in these expenditures are the direct cause of shifts in the aggregate demand curve. If any determinant affects aggregate demand it MUST affect one of these four expenditures.

aggregate demand determinants – An assortment of ceteris paribus factors that affect aggregate demand, but which are assumed constant when the aggregate demand curve is constructed. Changes in any of the aggregate demand determinants cause the aggregate demand curve to shift. While a wide variety of specific ceteris paribus factors can cause the aggregate demand curve to shift, it’s usually most convenient to group them into the four, broad expenditure categories — consumption, investment, government purchases, and net exports. The reason is that changes in these expenditures are the direct cause of shifts in the aggregate demand curve. If any determinant affects aggregate demand it MUST affect one of these four expenditures.

aggregate expenditure determinant – A ceteris paribus factor that affects aggregate expenditures, but which is assumed constant when the aggregate expenditure line is constructed. Changes in any of the aggregate expenditures determinants cause the aggregate expenditure line to shift. While a wide variety of specific ceteris paribus factors can cause the aggregate expenditure line to shift, it’s usually most convenient to group them into the four, broad expenditure categories — consumption, investment, government purchases, and net exports. The reason is that changes in these expenditures are the direct cause of shifts in the aggregate expenditure line. If any determinant affects aggregate expenditures it MUST affect one of these four expenditures.

aggregate expenditure determinants – An assortment of ceteris paribus factors that affect aggregate expenditures, but which are assumed constant when the aggregate expenditure line is constructed. Changes in any of the aggregate expenditures determinants cause the aggregate expenditure line to shift. While a wide variety of specific ceteris paribus factors can cause the aggregate expenditure line to shift, it’s usually most convenient to group them into the four, broad expenditure categories — consumption, investment, government purchases, and net exports. The reason is that changes in these expenditures are the direct cause of shifts in the aggregate expenditure line. If any determinant affects aggregate expenditures it MUST affect one of these four expenditures.

aggregate expenditure equation – An equation indicating that aggregate expenditures (AE) are the sum of consumption expenditures (C), investment expenditures (I), government purchases (G), and net exports (X-M), stated as: AE = C + I + G + (X-M). This equation surfaces in the Keynesian economic income-expenditure model in the form of the aggregate expenditures line. However, it’s also central throughout the study of macroeconomics, including aggregate demand and the measurement of gross domestic product.

aggregate expenditure line – A line representing the relation between aggregate expenditures and gross domestic product used in the Keynesian cross. The aggregate expenditure line is obtained by adding investment expenditures, government purchases, and net exports to the consumption line. As such, the slope of the aggregate expenditure line is largely based on the slope of the consumption line (which is the marginal propensity to consume), with adjustments coming from the marginal propensity to invest, the marginal propensity for government purchases, and the marginal propensity to import. The intersection of the aggregate expenditures line and the 45-degree line identifies the equilibrium level of output in the Keynesian cross.

aggregate expenditures – The total expenditures on gross domestic product undertaken in a given time period by the four sectors — household, business, government, and foreign. Expenditures made by each of these sectors are specifically labeled consumption expenditures, investment expenditures, government purchases, and net exports. Aggregate expenditures (AE) are a cornerstone in the study of macroeconomics, playing critical roles in Keynesian economics, aggregate market analysis, and to a lesser degree, monetarism.

aggregate expenditures line – A line representing the relation between aggregate expenditures and gross domestic product used in the Keynesian cross. The aggregate expenditure line is obtained by adding investment expenditures, government purchases, and net exports to the consumption line. As such, the slope of the aggregate expenditure line is largely based on the slope of the consumption line (which is the marginal propensity to consume), with adjustments coming from the marginal propensity to invest, the marginal propensity for government purchases, and the marginal propensity to import. The intersection of the aggregate expenditures line and the 45-degree line identifies the equilibrium level of output in the Keynesian cross.

aggregate market – An economic model relating the price level and real production that is used to analyze business cycles, gross domestic product, unemployment, inflation, stabilization policies, and related macroeconomic phenomena. The aggregate market, inspired by the standard market model, captures the interaction between aggregate demand (the buyers) and short-run and long-run aggregate supply (the sellers).

aggregate market analysis – An investigation of macroeconomic phenomena, including unemployment, inflation, business cycles, and stabilization policies, using the aggregate market interaction between aggregate demand, short-run aggregate supply, and long-run aggregate supply. Aggregate market analysis, also termed AS-AD analysis, has been the primary method of investigating macroeconomic activity since the 1980s, replacing Keynesian economic analysis that was predominant for several decades. Like most economic analysis, aggregate market analysis employs comparative statics, the technique of comparing the equilibrium after a shock with the equilibrium before a shock. While the aggregate market model is usually presented as a simply graph at the introductory level, more sophisticated and more advanced analyses often involve a system of equations.

aggregate market equilibrium – The state of the aggregate market in which real aggregate expenditures are equal to real production, which means that the price level, aggregate expenditures, and/or real production do not change. In other words, the opposing forces of aggregate demand (the buyers) and aggregate supply (the sellers) are in balance.

aggregate market shocks – Disruptions of the equilibrium in the aggregate market (or AS-AD model) caused by shifts of the aggregate demand, short-run aggregate supply, or long-run aggregate supply curves. Shocks of the aggregate market are associated with, and thus used to analyze, assorted macroeconomic phenomena such as business cycles, unemployment, inflation, stabilization policies, and economic growth. The specific analysis of aggregate market shocks identifies changes in the price level (GDP price deflator) and real production (real GDP). However, changes in the price level and real production have direct implications for the unemployment rate, the inflation rate, national income, and a host of other macroeconomic measures.

aggregate output – The macroeconomy’s total production of final goods and services. You might recognized it by it’s official term gross domestic product. Another related term is aggregate supply. This is the total production in the economy that is purchased by the four basic economic sectors — household, business, government, and foreign. See also aggregate market, aggregate demand, aggregate expenditures.

aggregate production function – A relation between the total production of real output for an economy and the amount of labor input. The aggregate production function is comparable to the standard production function used in the microeconomic analysis of firm behavior but is applied to the macroeconomic study of aggregate supply, resource markets, and employment. It is typically assumed to experience diminishing marginal returns, resulting in a decreasing marginal product of labor.

aggregate supply – The total (or aggregate) real production of final goods and services available in the domestic economy at a range of price levels, during a given time period. Aggregate supply (AS) is one half of the aggregate market analysis; the other half is aggregate demand. Aggregate supply, relates the economy’s price level, measured by the GDP price deflator, and aggregate domestic production, measured by real gross domestic product. The aggregate supply relation is generally separated into long-run aggregate supply, in which all prices and wages and flexible and all markets are in equilibrium, and short-run aggregate supply, in which some prices and wage are NOT flexible and some markets are NOT in equilibrium.

aggregate supply curve – A graphical representation of the relation between real production and the price level, holding all ceteris paribus aggregate supply determinants constant. There are actually two separate aggregate supply curves, one for the long run and one for the short run. These aggregate supply curves are one side of the graphical presentation of the aggregate market. The other side is occupied by the aggregate demand curve.

aggregate supply determinants – An assortment of ceteris paribus factors that affect both short-run aggregate supply and long-run aggregate supply, but which are assumed constant when the short-run and long-run aggregate supply curves are constructed. Changes in any of the aggregate supply determinants cause the short-run and long-run aggregate supply curves to shift. While a wide variety of specific ceteris paribus factors can cause the aggregate supply curves to shift, it’s usually most convenient to group them into three broad categories — resource quantity, resource quality, and resource prices.

aggregate supply shifts – Changes in the aggregate supply determinants can shift either the short-run aggregate supply curve and the long-run aggregate supply curve. The mechanism is comparable to that for market supply determinants and market supply. We have two options — an increase in aggregate supply and a decrease in aggregate supply. An increase in resource quantity or quality or a decrease in resource prices shift the aggregate supply curves to right. A decrease in resource quantity or quality or an increase in resource prices shift the aggregate supply curves to left.

aggregation – The process of adding up, summing, or otherwise identifying the total value of a variable or measure, especially when used in the study of macroeconomics. Common items that are aggregated are demand, supply, and expenditures on gross domestic product, which result in aggregate demand, aggregate supply, and aggregate expenditures.

agrarian – A term signifying a connection to farming, agricultural production, or the land. Agrarian is often used as a modifier for other terms, such as agrarian society (an economy that relies heavily on agricultural production), agrarian society (a society based on the institutions that emerge from a heavy reliance on agricultural production), or agrarian movement (a political movement designed to product agricultural production). Because farming was one of the first and remains one of the most fundamental activities undertaken by even the most primitive society, agrarian is typically associated with less developed, as in the phrase a “less developed, agrarian nation.”

allocation – The process of distributing resources for the production of goods and services, and of distributing goods and services for consumption by households. This process of allocation is essential to an economy’s effort to address the problem of scarcity. An allocation is efficient if the resources, goods, and services are distributed according to the economy’s highest valued uses.

allocation effect – The goal of imposing taxes to change the allocation of resources, that is, to discourage the production, consumption, or exchange or one type of good usually in favor of another. This is one of two reasons that governments impose taxes. The other reason is the revenue effect. Because people would rather not pay taxes, taxes create disincentives to produce, consume, and exchange. If society deems that less of a particular good, such as alcohol, pollution, or cigarettes are “bad,” then a tax can reduce its production and consumption, and thus change the allocation of resources.

allocative efficiency – Obtaining the most consumer satisfaction from available resources. Allocative efficiency means that our economy is doing the best job possible of satisfying unlimited wants and needs with limited resources — that is, of addressing the problem of scarcity.

alternative unemployment rates – The official unemployment rate estimated and reported monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) using data from Current Population Survey is one of six alternative measures of unemployment tracked by the BLS, officially labeled U1-U6. The “official” unemployment rate is U3. The other five measures seek to document different ways in which labor can be underutilized, including unemployment duration, job losers, discouraged workers, marginally-attached workers, and part-time workers.

American Association for the Advancement of Science – A scientific society whose main mission is to advance science and innovation throughout the world. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS for short) publishes one of the most respected scientific magazines called Science. The association and magazine have nearly 140,000 individual and institutional subscribers, plus 272 affiliated organizations in more than 130 countries, serving a total of 10 million individuals. The American Association for the Advancement of Science was founded in 1848 to represent all disciplines of science and to support scientific exchange and discussion of science and society issues.

American Association of University Professors – An association of university and college faculty established in 1915 to protect academic freedom. Commonly abbreviated AAUP, this association is the closest thing university faculty have to a labor union. While it does engage in some collective bargaining functions with specific universities, similar to traditional labor unions, its primary function is to ensure that faculty maintain intellectual or academic freedom from political of social pressures.

American Economic Association – An organization of over 25,000 professional economists. Founded in 1885, this premier top-of-the-economic-association-list publishes the prestigious American Economic Review, arguably THE number one scholarly U.S. economic journal and the Journal of Economic Literature, arguably THE number one index of economic journal publications. The AEA, as acronymically inclined economists call it, also sponsors an annual conference where professional economists present scholarly papers on their latest scholarly research.

American Enterprise Institute – A private organization that seeks to maintain and strengthen the foundations of freedom through scholarly research, open debate, and publications. The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (as it is officially designated) promotes the principles of limited government, private enterprise, vital cultural and political institutions, and a strong foreign policy and national defense. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) publishes dozens of books and hundreds of articles and reports each year, and an influential policy magazine called The American Enterprise. The AEI is one of the largest and most respected “think tanks” in the United States. The AEI, which was founded in 1943, is located in Washington, D.C.

American Federation of Labor – Started as a collection of craft unions in 1886, this is now one half of the umbrella organization for labor unions in the United States (the AFL part of AFL-CIO). As a collection of craft unions, the AFL primarily represented skilled workers in particular occupations. However, it also contained unions representing unskilled industrial workers, which led to a rift among AFL members in 1938 and spawned the formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). This rift was closed in 1955, when both joined together to form the AFL-CIO, which is the primary advocate for workers and labor unions in the United States.

American Stock Exchange – One of three national stock markets in the United States (see National Association of Securities Dealers and New York Stock Exchange) that trade ownership shares in corporations. In terms of daily stock transactions and the number of stocks listed, the American Stock Exchange is the smallest of these three. However, it’s composite index of stock prices — AMEX is considered important enough to be flashed briefly on the nightly news.

AMEX – The common abbreviation for the American Stock Exchange, which is one of three national stock markets in the United States (see National Association of Securities Dealers and New York Stock Exchange) that trade ownership shares in corporations. In terms of daily stock transactions and the number of stocks listed, the American Stock Exchange is the smallest of these three. However, it’s composite index of stock prices — AMEX is considered important enough to be flashed briefly on the nightly news.

amortization – The process of paying off a debt liability and accrued interest through a series of equal, periodic payments. Car loans and mortgages are two debts commonly paid off through amortization. Your monthly car payment, for example, partially pays for interest accrued on the outstanding balance and partly reduces that balance. Because one payment reduces the outstanding balance, each subsequent payment has a smaller portion for interest. If the proper amortization schedule has been calculated, your loan will be paid off with the last payment.

Andean Community – The Andean Community (CAN) is a subregional organization endowed with an international legal status, which is made up of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. The main objectives of the Andean Community are to promote the balanced and harmonious development of the member countries under equitable conditions, to boost their growth through integration and economic and social cooperation and to enhance participation in the regional integration process with a view to the progressive formation of a Latin American common market. The Andean Community started operating on August 1, 1997 with a General Secretariat, whose headquarters are in Lima (Peru), as its executive body.

annual – A standard 12-month period, or one year, used for reporting economic and financial data. Gross Domestic Product and related measures are noted economic data released annually. Many businesses also provide annual financial reports. Another standard reporting period is the quarter.

annuity – The receipt of payments at regular intervals from a established fund. Annuities are commonly used for insurance and retirement programs. It works in this way: A fund, which can be established either through a one-time sum of money or a series of payments, is exhausted over time with fixed, periodic payments. The amount of each payment depends on the interest accrued on the outstanding balance in the fund, and the length of time scheduled to exhaust the fund. For example, if your pension plan is based on an annuity that begins payments at the age of 65, then the size of the payments depends on whether you expect to live 5, 10, 15, or more years and set up payments accordingly. It’s very similar to amortization, but in the reverse direction.

antidumping duty – A tariff levied by an imported country (presumably) being the target of foreign dumping. Since dumping implies selling a good to a foreign country at a price below production cost, the antidumping duty is intended to offset the ‘unfair’ advantage that the foreign seller obtains by selling below cost. The antidumping duty raises the domestic price of the good to the level that the foreign producer would charged if true costs were considered.

antitrust – The generally process of preventing monopoly practices or breaking up monopolies that restrict competition. The term antitrust derives from the common use of the trust organizational structure in the late 1800s and early 1900s to monopolize markets. The most noted example of the use of a monopoly trust was the Standard Oil Trust, controlled by J. D. Rockefeller and dismantled through the Sherman Act in 1911. The creation of similar monopoly trusts led to the several antitrust laws, including the Sherman Act, the Clayton Act, and the Federal Trade Commission Act.

antitrust laws – A series of laws passed by the U. S. government that tries to maintain competition and prevent businesses from getting a monopoly or otherwise obtaining and exerting market control. The first of these, the Sherman Antitrust Act, was passed in 1890. Two others, the Clayton Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act, were enacted in 1914. These laws impose all sorts of restrictions on business ownership, control, mergers, pricing, and how businesses go about competing (or cooperating) with each other.

AP – The abbreviation for average product, which is the quantity of total output produced per unit of a variable input, holding all other inputs fixed. It is found by dividing total product by the quantity of the variable input. Average product, abbreviated AP also goes by the alias of average physical product (APP), so don’t be confused by the extra term (physical).

APC – The abbreviation for average propensity to consume, which is the proportion of income, usually measured as disposable income or national income, used for household consumption expenditures. It is found by dividing consumption by income. The average propensity to consume, abbreviated APC, most often pops up in discussions of Keynesian economics. The average propensity to consume is the average amount of total household income that is devoted consumption expenditures.

APP – The abbreviation of average physical product, which is the quantity of total output produced per unit of a variable input, holding all other inputs fixed. Average physical product, usually abbreviated APP, is found by dividing total physical product by the quantity of the variable input. Average physical product is actually just another name for average product (AP). But don’t be confused by the extra term (physical).

appreciation – A more or less permanent increase in value or price. “More or less permanent” doesn’t include temporary, short-term jumps in price that are common in many markets. Appreciation is only those price increases that reflect greater consumer satisfaction and thus value. While all sorts of stuff can appreciate in value, some of the more common ones are real estate, works of art, corporate stock, and money. In particular, the appreciation of a nation’s money is seen by an increase in the exchange rate caused by a growing, expanding, and healthy economy.

AR – The abbreviation for average revenue, which is the revenue received for selling a good, per unit of output sold, found by dividing total revenue by the quantity of output. Average revenue actually goes by a simpler and more widely used term… price. Average revenue is really a fancy-schmancy term for the price received by a seller for selling a good. However, using the longer term average revenue let’s us see the connection with other terms, like total revenue, marginal revenue, and quantity.

arbitrage – Buying something in one market then immediately (or as soon as possible) selling it in another market for (hopefully) a higher price. Arbitrage is a common practice in financial markets. For example, an aspiring financial tycoon might buy a million dollars worth of Japanese yen in the Tokyo foreign exchange market then resell it immediately in the New York foreign exchange market for more than a million dollars. Arbitrage of this sort does two things. First, it often makes arbitragers wealthy. Second, it reduces or eliminates price differences that exist between two markets for the same good.

arbitration – Intervention of an impartial third party to settle disputes between two others. The decisions of this third party — the arbitrator — are legally binding, much like the ruling of a judge in a court of law. Arbitration is commonly used to interpret a collective bargaining agreement between unions and employers. Much like a judge (in some cases it is a judge) an arbitrator determines how a given union and employer conflict stacks up against the terms of existing agreement. Note that an arbitrator doesn’t try to decide what’s “best, “fair,” or mutually agreeable to both sides — as would be the case with mediation — but only what’s in line with the existing agreement.

arc elasticity – The average elasticity for discrete changes in two variables, A and B. The distinguishing characteristic of arc elasticity is that percentage changes are calculated based on the average of the initial and ending values of each variable, rather than only initial values. Arc elasticity is generally calculated using the midpoint formula. Arc elasticity should be compared with point elasticity. For infinitesimally small changes in variables A and B, arc elasticity is the same as point elasticity.

ARP – The abbreviation for average revenue product, which is total revenue generated per unit of a variable input, keeping all other inputs unchanged. Average revenue product, usually abbreviated ARP, is found by dividing total revenue by the variable input. Average revenue product is most often used in the analysis of the demand for productive inputs.

AS – The abbreviaion for aggregate supply, which is the total (or aggregate) real production of final goods and services available in the domestic economy at a range of price levels, during a given time period. Aggregate supply (AS) is one half of the aggregate market analysis; the other half is aggregate demand. Aggregate supply, relates the economy’s price level, measured by the GDP price deflator, and aggregate domestic production, measured by real gross domestic product. The aggregate supply relation is generally separated into long-run aggregate supply, in which all prices and wages and flexible and all markets are in equilibrium, and short-run aggregate supply, in which some prices and wage are NOT flexible and some markets are NOT in equilibrium.

AS-AD analysis – An economic model relating the price level and real production that is used to analyze business cycles, gross domestic product, unemployment, inflation, stabilization policies, and related macroeconomic phenomena. The AS-AD model, inspired by the standard market model, captures the interaction between aggregate demand (the buyers) and short-run and long-run aggregate supply (the sellers).

AS-AD model – An economic model relating the price level and real production that is used to analyze business cycles, gross domestic product, unemployment, inflation, stabilization policies, and related macroeconomic phenomena. The AS-AD model, inspired by the standard market model, captures the interaction between aggregate demand (the buyers) and short-run and long-run aggregate supply (the sellers).

ASEAN – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a subregional organization established in 1967 in Bangkok by the five original Member Countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam joined in 1984, Vietnam in 1995, Laos and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999. The aims and purposes of the Association are to accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and to promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law.

Asian Development Bank – A multilateral development finance institution dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific that engages in mostly public sector lending for development purposes in its developing member countries. They pursue this goal by helping to improve the quality of people’s lives providing loans and technical assistance for a broad range of development activities. ADB raises fund through bond issues on the world’s capital markets but they also rely on members’ contributions. The ADB was established in 1966 and has its headquarters in Manila, Philippines. As of September of 2003, the ADB had 58 member countries.

asset – Something that you own. For a person, assets can be financial, like money, stocks, bonds, bank accounts, and government securities, or they can be physical things, like cars, boats, houses, clothes, food, and land. The important assets for our economy are the output we have produced and the resources, capital, and natural resources used to produce that output.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a subregional organization established in 1967 in Bangkok by the five original Member Countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam joined in 1984, Vietnam in 1995, Laos and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999. The aims and purposes of the Association are to accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and to promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law.

assumption – An initial condition or statement that sets the stage for an analysis by abstracting from the real world. Assumptions are important to economic theories and economic analysis. Some assumptions are used to simplify a complex analysis into more easily manageable parts. These establish idealistic benchmarks that can be used to evaluate real world conditions. Other assumptions are used as control conditions that are subsequently changed to evaluate the effect of the change. The use of ceteris paribus assumptions in comparative statics analysis is an excellent example.

classical economics assumptions – Classical economics, especially as directed toward macroeconomics, relies on three key assumptions–flexible prices, Say’s law, and saving-investment equality. Flexible prices ensure that markets adjust to equilibrium and eliminate shortages and surpluses. Say’s law states that supply creates its own demand and means that enough income is generated by production to purchase the resulting production. The saving-investment equality ensures that any income leaked from consumption into saving is replaced by an equal amount of investment. Although of questionable realism, these three assumptions imply that the economy would operate at full employment.

Keynesian economics assumptions – The macroeconomic study of Keynesian economics relies on three key assumptions–rigid prices, effective demand, and savings-investment determinants. First, rigid or inflexible prices prevent some markets from achieving equilibrium in the short run. Second, effective demand means that consumption expenditures are based on actual income, not full employment or equilibrium income. Lastly, important savings and investment determinants include income, expectations, and other influences beyond the interest rate. These three assumptions imply that the economy can achieve a short-run equilibrium at less than full-employment production.

production possibilities assumptions – Production possibilities analysis is based on four key assumptions: (1) resources are used to produce one or both of only two goods, (2) the quantities of the resources do not change, (3) technology and production techniques do not change, and (4) resources are used in a technically efficient way.

asymmetric information – The economics of information search tells us that everyone falls short of having perfect information. It suggests that everyone will have different information about different things. For example, if you aren’t a plumber (nor have any desire to become one), then you aren’t likely to seek information about the wages paid plumbers in Boise, Idaho. In contrast, this information could be quite beneficial to plumbers in Pocatello, Idaho.

ATC – The abbreviation for average total cost, which is total cost per unit of output, found by dividing total cost by the quantity of output. Average total cost can be found in two ways. Because average total cost is total cost per unit of output, it can be found by dividing total cost by the quantity of output. Alternatively, because total cost is the sum of total variable cost and total fixed cost, average total cost can be derived by summing average variable cost and average fixed cost.

attitudes – A person’s consistent evaluation and behavioral tendencies toward an idea or object. This is one of the psychological influences on consumer buying behavior. This pattern of behavior is central to a company’s effort to market a product or service to at target market. Once developed, attitudes tend to be stable and vary little in a moment to moment situation.

attractive force – A force that causes activities to locate closer together. One primary attractive force is transportation cost and the weight of an activity. In this case, activities locate close together to reduce transportation cost. Another is agglomeration and urban economies. In this case, activities locate close together to lower other production cost. Attractive forces are countered by dispersive forces, which act to force activities farther apart.

auctions – Formal markets where buyers and sellers come together to negotiate a price. Auctions are commonly held for agricultural commodities, financial instruments, and works of art. The four most common types of auctions are English, Dutch, sealed-bid, and Walrasian tatonnement.

automatic stabilizer – A feature of the federal government’s budget that tends to reduce the ups and downs of the business cycle without the need for any special legislative action, that is stabilization policies. The two key automatic stabilizers are income taxes and transfer payments. When our economy drops into a recession, unemployment rises, aggregate output declines, and people have less income. But with less income, they pay fewer income taxes, and thus there’s less of a drain on consumption than their might have been. Likewise, many who are unemployed get transfer payments in the form of unemployment compensation, welfare, or Social Security. This lets them consume more than they would have otherwise. During an expansion, both of these go in the other direction. As a result, a recession sees more spending and fewer taxes, while an expansion has less spending and more taxes, all occurring quite automatically.

automatic stabilizers – A feature of the federal government’s budget that tends to reduce the ups and downs of the business cycle without the need for any special legislative action, that is stabilization policies. The two key automatic stabilizers are income taxes and transfer payments. When our economy drops into a recession, unemployment rises, aggregate output declines, and people have less income. But with less income, they pay fewer income taxes, and thus there’s less of a drain on consumption than their might have been. Likewise, many who are unemployed get transfer payments in the form of unemployment compensation, welfare, or Social Security. This lets them consume more than they would have otherwise. During an expansion, both of these go in the other direction. As a result, a recession sees more spending and fewer taxes, while an expansion has less spending and more taxes, all occurring quite automatically.

automatic transfer service accounts – Deposit accounts offered by commercial banks, credit unions, savings and loan associations, and mutual savings banks that automatically transfer funds from interest-paying savings account to checking accounts when needed to process checks or to maintain minimum balances. Automatic transfer service (ATS) accounts effectively function as interest-paying checking accounts and are considered as one type of checkable deposits. Other checkable deposits are demand deposits (standard checking accounts), negotiable order of withdrawal (NOW) accounts, and share draft accounts.

autonomous – The general notion that changes in one variable are NOT related to, or caused by, changes in another variable. Autonomous relations, especially changes in aggregate expenditures that disrupt the macroeconomy, are a key aspect of Keynesian economics and business cycles The alternative to an autonomous relation between variables is an induced relation, in which one variable is related to another.

autonomous change – A change in autonomous expenditures that sets in motion a change in the national income and gross domestic product through the multipiler. In terms of Keynesian economics and the Keynesian cross diagram, autonomous changes are seen as shifts in the aggregate expenditures line. Autonomous changes cause changes in income and production which then “induce” further changes in aggregate expenditures, especially consumption expenditures, which are induced changes. This two step process, autonomous changes causing induced changes, is key to explaining business cycle fluctuations.

autonomous consumption – Household consumption expenditures that are unrelated to income or production (especially disposable, national income, or gross national product). These are consumption expenditures that would occur even if household disposable income was zero. Autonomous consumption is graphically depicted as the vertical intercept of the consumption or propensity-to-consume line. Autonomous saving is the equal to the negative value of autonomous consumption. Changes in autonomous consumption, along with changes in other autonomous expenditures, are what trigger the multiplier effect.

autonomous expenditure – An aggregate expenditure (you know them as consumption, investment, government purchases, and net exports) that is unrelated to national income or gross domestic product. These four aggregate expenditures are conveniently separated into two types, autonomous, which is our current topic of expenditures unrelated to national income or GDP, and induced expenditures, expenditures which ARE related to national income or GDP. Autonomous expenditures cause shocks in the macroeconomy, which result in changes in income and production. These income/production changes then “induce” further changes in aggregate expenditures, our induced expenditures.

autonomous government purchases – Government purchases that are unrelated to income or production (especially national income or gross national product). These are government purchases that would occur even if national income was zero. Autonomous government purchases are graphically depicted as the vertical intercept of the government purchases line relating government purchases to national income. Changes in autonomous government purchases, along with changes in other autonomous expenditures, are what trigger the multiplier effect.

autonomous investment – Business investment expenditures that are unrelated to income or production (especially national income or gross national product). These are investment expenditures that would occur even if national income was zero. Autonomous investment is graphically depicted as the vertical intercept of the investment line relating investment to national income. Changes in autonomous investment, along with changes in other autonomous expenditures, are what trigger the multiplier effect.

autonomous net exports – Net exports by the foreign sector that do not depend on income or production (especially national income or gross domestic product). That is, changes in income do not generate changes in net exports. Autonomous net exports are best thought of as net exports that the foreign sector undertakes independent of income. They are measured by the intercept term of the net exports line. The alternative to autonomous net exports is induced net exports, which do depend on income.

autonomous saving – Household saving that is unrelated to income or production (especially disposable, national income, or gross national product). This is saving that would occur even if household disposable income was zero. Autonomous saving is graphically depicted as the vertical intercept of the saving or propensity-to-save line. Autonomous saving is the equal to the negative value of autonomous consumption. Changes in autonomous saving, along with changes in autonomous expenditures, are what trigger the multiplier effect.

AVC – The abbreviation for average variable cost, which is total variable cost per unit of output, found by dividing total variable cost by the quantity of output. Average variable cost decreases with additional production at relatively small quantities of output, then eventually increases with relatively larger quantities of output. This pattern is illustrated by a U-shaped average variable cost curve.

average cost – The opportunity cost incurred per unit in the production of a good. This can be calculated by dividing the total cost of production by the quantity of output produced. While average cost is a general term relating cost and the quantity of output, three more specific average cost terms that are worth a closer look are average total cost, average variable cost, and average fixed cost. As long as you’re looking into cost, you might want to spend a little time with the most important member of the cost family of terms, marginal cost.

average factor cost – Total factor cost per unit of factor input, found by dividing total factor cost by the quantity of factor input. Average factor cost, abbreviated AFC, is essentially the factor price. However, using the longer term average factor cost let’s us see the connection with other terms, like total factor cost and marginal factor cost.

average factor cost curve – A curve that graphically represents the relation between average factor cost incurred by a firm for buying or hiring a factor of production and the factor quantity. Because average factor cost is essentially factor price, the average factor cost curve (in most circumstances) is also the factor supply curve facing the firm. This curve is constructed to capture the relation between average factor cost and the factor quantity, holding other variables constant.

monopsony average factor cost curve – A curve that graphically represents the relation between average factor cost incurred by a firm for employing an input and the quantity of input used. Because average factor cost is essentially the price of the input, the average factor cost curve is also the supply curve for the input. The average factor cost curve for a firm with no market control is horizontal. The average factor cost curve for a firm with market control is positively sloped.

perfect competition average factor cost curve – A curve that graphically represents the relation between average factor cost incurred by a perfectly competitive firm for employing an input and the quantity of input used. Because average factor cost is essentially the price of the input, the average factor cost curve is also the supply curve for the input. The average factor cost curve for a perfectly competitive firm with no market control is horizontal. The average revenue curve for a firm with market control is positively sloped.

monopsony average factor cost – Total factor cost per unit of factor input employed by a monopsony in the production of output, found by dividing total factor cost by the quantity of factor input. Average factor cost, abbreviated AFC, is generally equal to the factor price. However, using the longer term average factor cost makes it easier to see the connection to related terms, including total factor cost and marginal factor cost.

perfect competition average factor cost – Total factor cost per unit of factor input employed by a perfectly competitive firm in the production of output, found by dividing total factor cost by the quantity of factor input. Average factor cost, abbreviated AFC, is generally equal to the factor price. However, using the longer term average factor cost makes it easier to see the connection to related terms, including total factor cost and marginal factor cost.

average fixed cost – Fixed cost per unit of output, found by dividing total fixed cost by the quantity of output. Average fixed cost is one of three related cost averages. The other two are average variable cost and average total cost. Average fixed cost, usually abbreviated AFC, decreases with larger quantities of output. The logic behind this relationship is relatively simply. Because fixed cost is FIXED and does not change with the quantity of output, a given cost is spread more thinly per unit as quantity increases. A thousand dollars of fixed cost averages out to $10 per unit if only 100 units are produced. But if 10,000 units are produced, then the average shrinks to a mere 10 cents per unit.

average fixed cost curve – A curve that graphically represents the relation between average fixed cost incurred by a firm in the short-run product of a good or service and the quantity produced. This curve is constructed to capture the relation between average fixed cost and the level of output, holding other variables, like technology and resource prices, constant. The average fixed cost curve is one the three average curves. The other two are average total cost curve and average variable cost curve.

average physical product – The quantity of total output produced per unit of a variable input, holding all other inputs fixed. Average physical product, usually abbreviated APP, is found by dividing total physical product by the quantity of the variable input. Average physical product is actually just another name for average product (AP). But don’t be confused by the extra term (physical).

average product – The quantity of total output produced per unit of a variable input, holding all other inputs fixed. It is found by dividing total product by the quantity of the variable input. Average product, abbreviated AP also goes by the alias of average physical product (APP), so don’t be confused by the extra term (physical). Compare this term with marginal product and average revenue product when you have a chance. If you haven’t yet come across the term, then you really should spend some time with the law of diminishing marginal returns. The average-marginal rule is also worth a look.

average product and marginal product – A mathematical connection between marginal product and average product stating that the change in the average product depends on a comparison between the average product and marginal product. If marginal product is less than average product, then average product declines. If marginal product is greater than average product, then average product rises. If marginal product is equal to average product, then average product does not change.

average product curve – A curve that graphically illustrates the relation between average product and the quantity of the variable input, holding all other inputs fixed. This curve indicates the per unit output at each level of the variable input. The average product curve is one of three related curves used in the analysis of the short-run production of a firm. The other two are total product curve and marginal product curve. To be quite honest, the average product curve is the least important of the three for economic analysis. Economists are generally more interested in totals and marginals than averages.

average propensity to consume – The proportion of income, usually measured as disposable income or national income, used for household consumption expenditures. It is found by dividing consumption by income. The average propensity to consume, abbreviated APC, most often pops up in discussions of Keynesian economics. The average propensity to consume is the average amount of total household income that is devoted consumption expenditures. For closely related information see marginal propensity to consume, average propensity to save, marginal propensity to save, and consumption function.

average propensity to save – The proportion of income, usually measured as disposal income or national income, used for household saving. It is found by dividing saving by income. The average propensity to save, abbreviated APS, is most relevant for discussions of Keynesian economics. The average propensity to save is the average amount of total household income that is devoted to saving and NOT used for consumption expenditures.

average revenue – The revenue received for selling a good, per unit of output sold, found by dividing total revenue by the quantity of output. Average revenue, abbreviated AR, actually goes by a simpler and more widely used term… price. Average revenue is really a fancy-schmancy term for the price received by a seller for selling a good. However, using the longer term average revenue let’s us see the connection with other terms, like total revenue, marginal revenue, and quantity.

average revenue and marginal revenue – A mathematical connection between average revenue and marginal revenue stating that the change in the average revenue depends on a comparison between average revenue and marginal revenue. For perfect competition, with no market control, marginal revenue is equal to average revenue, and average revenue does not change. For monopoly and other firms with market control, marginal revenue is less than average revenue, and average revenue falls.

average revenue curve – A curve that graphically represents the relation between average revenue received by a firm for selling its output and the quantity of output sold. Because average revenue is essentially the price of a good, the average revenue curve (in most circumstances) is also the demand curve for a firm’s output. This curve is constructed to capture the relation between average revenue and the level of output, holding other variables constant.

monopolistic competition average revenue curve – A curve that graphically represents the relation between average revenue received by a monopolistically competitive firm for selling its output and the quantity of output sold. Because average revenue is essentially the price of a good, the average revenue curve is the demand curve for the firm’s output. In general, the average revenue curve reflects the degree of market control held by a firm. For a monopolistically competitive firm with a small degree of market control, the average revenue (and demand) curve is is negatively-sloped. The average revenue is used in conjunction with a firm’s average total cost curve to determine economic profit.

monopoly average revenue curve – A curve that graphically represents the relation between average revenue received by a monopoly firm for selling its output and the quantity of output sold. Because average revenue is essentially the price of a good, the average revenue curve (in most circumstances) is also the demand curve for a monopoly firm’s output. The negative slope of the average revenue curve indicates that a monopoly has market control. The average revenue is used in conjunction with the monopoly’s average total cost curve to determine economic profit.

average revenue product – Total revenue generated per unit of a variable input, keeping all other inputs unchanged. Average revenue product, usually abbreviated ARP, is found by dividing total revenue by the variable input. Average revenue product is most often used in the analysis of the demand for productive inputs.

average revenue product curve – A curve that graphically illustrates the relation between average revenue product and the quantity of the variable input, holding all other inputs fixed. This curve indicates the per unit revenue at each level of the variable input. The average revenue product curve is one of two related curves often used in the analysis of factor markets. The other is marginal revenue product curve. To be quite honest, the average revenue product curve is not nearly as important as the marginal revenue product curve. Economists are generally more interested in marginals than averages.

monopolistic competition average revenue – The revenue a monopolistically competitive firm receives for selling a good per unit of output sold, found by dividing total revenue by the quantity of output. Average revenue is a polysyllabic term for the price a monopolistically competitive firm receives for selling its’ good. For a firm operating under monopolistic competition, average revenue decreases as the quantity of output increases. The decreasing nature of average revenue is a prime indication of the market control of a firm.

monopoly average revenue – The per unit revenue received by a monopoly firm for selling its output. It is found by dividing total revenue by the quantity of output. Average revenue is also the price received by a monopoly for selling its output. Because average revenue is price and because the demand for a monopoly’s output is the market demand for the good, the average revenue received by a monopoly depends on the quantity sold. A monopoly firm sees average revenue decrease as the quantity of output sold increases. For relatively small quantities, average revenue is relatively high. For relatively larger quantities, average revenue is less.

perfect competition average revenue – The revenue received for selling a good per unit of output sold, found by dividing total revenue by the quantity of output. Average revenue often goes by a simpler and more widely used term… price. For a perfectly competitive firm average revenue is also equal to marginal revenue. Average revenue for a perfectly competitive firm is often depicted by a horizontal average revenue curve.

average tax rate – A tax rate that is the percentage of the total tax base paid in taxes. Comparable to any average, this is the total taxes collected or paid divided by the total value of the tax base. For example, if a person earns $50,000 in income and pays $5,000 in taxes, then the average income tax rate is 10 percent. The contrasting term is marginal tax rate.

average total cost – Total cost per unit of output, found by dividing total cost by the quantity of output. Average total cost, usually abbreviated ATC, can be found in two ways. Because average total cost is total cost per unit of output, it can be found by dividing total cost by the quantity of output. Alternatively, because total cost is the sum of total variable cost and total fixed cost, average total cost can be derived by summing average variable cost and average fixed cost.

average total cost curve – A curve that graphically represents the relation between average total cost incurred by a firm in the short-run product of a good or service and the quantity produced. The average total cost curve is constructed to capture the relation between average total cost and the level of output, holding other variables, like technology and resource prices, constant. The average total cost curve is one the three average curves. The other two are average variable cost curve and average fixed cost curve.

average variable cost – Total variable cost per unit of output, found by dividing total variable cost by the quantity of output. Average variable cost, abbreviated AVC, decreases with additional production at relatively small quantities of output, then eventually increases with relatively larger quantities of output. This pattern is illustrated by a U-shaped average variable cost curve. The logic behind this decrease-increase U-shaped pattern can be found with a closer examination of the law of diminishing marginal returns, average product, and the average-marginal rule. You should also check out marginal cost.

average variable cost curve – A curve that graphically represents the relation between average variable cost incurred by a firm in the short-run production of a good or service and the quantity produced. This curve is constructed to capture the relation between average variable cost and the level of output, holding other variables, like technology and resource prices, constant. The average variable cost curve is one the three average curves. The other two are average total cost curve and average fixed cost curve.

average-cost pricing – A regulatory policy used for public utilities (especially those that are natural monopolies) in which the price received by a firm is set equal to the average total cost of production. The great thing about average-cost pricing is that a regulated public utility is guaranteed a normal profit, usually termed a fair rate of return. One bad thing about average-cost pricing is that marginal cost is less than average total cost meaning that price is greater than marginal cost. As such, the public utility is NOT operating according to the price equals marginal cost (P = MC) rule of efficiency.

average-marginal rule – An intriguing, extremely useful mathematical relationship between an average measure and it’s corresponding marginal measure, for example average product and marginal product, or average total cost and marginal cost. When the marginal measure is greater than the average measure, then the average measure increases. Alternatively, when the marginal measure is less than the average measure, then the average measure decreases. In addition, when the marginal measure is equal to the average measure the average measure doesn’t change.

axes – Two number lines that are joined at a right angle such that they intersect at their zero points (called the origin). The vertical axis is by convention termed the Y-axes and the horizontal axis is termed the X-axis. These axes are used to locate or plot pairs of numbers in coordinate space, one value for the X-variable coordinate and a corresponding value for the Y-variable coordinate. More often than not, coordinate number pairs are used to plot relationships that can be connected by one or more lines. This line construction procedure is one of the more powerful tools used by economists. Economists typically analyze relationships between two variables, such as price and quantity demanded. By letting one axis measure price and the other measure quantity demanded, these axes form the framework, the guidelines if you will, for constructing a demand curve (the relationship between price and quantity demanded). Once we have an abstract relationship graphed out, then it can be used to perform all sorts of economic analysis.

axiom – A basic precondition or assumption underlying a theory. Axioms are basic, unverifiable world view assumptions, including personal beliefs, political views, and cultural values, that form the foundation of a theory. These axioms can not be verified with real world data, and as such are largely accepted on faith. Belief in a supreme, omnipotent, omniscience being is one such axiom. The notion that people are basically good (or bad) is another. The presumption that the universe abides by cause-and-effect relationships is a key axiom for science.

b – The common notation for the “slope” term of an equation specified as Y = a + bX. Mathematically, the b-slope term indicates the change in the value of the Y variable resulting from a unit change in the value of the X variable. Theoretically, the b-slope is frequently used to indicate endogenous or dependent relation between the Y and X variables. For example, if Y represents consumption and X represents national income, b measures induced consumption expenditures.

Baby Boomer – A citizen of the good old U. S. of A. born between the years 1946 and 1960. These Boomers represent a relatively large segment of the population and outnumber any other group born during a similar period, such as those born from 1931 to 1945 or from 1961 to 1975. Over the years, they’ve tended to set the standard for consumption, production, and politics. They have had and will continue to have a big impact on the Social Security system. As labor, they’ve provided an amble pool of tax funds and thus sizable benefits to Social Security recipients during the 1980s and 1990s. When these Boomers retire in the 2020s and beyond, however, they will leave a big gap in the labor force and also demand a great deal from the Social Security system.

backstop resource – A sustainable, renewable natural resource that is used in place of, and as a substitute for, finite, exhaustible natural resources that have been exhausted. A sustainable resource is one in which the amount used today cannot reduce the amount available tomorrow.The best example is solar energy. No matter how much solar energy we use today, the same amount reaches the planet every day in the future. A backstop resource is then a sustainable resource, like solar energy, that society uses after finite resources, like fossil fuels, have been exhausted. In fact, solar energy is often considered THE backstop energy resource. It represents THE “safety net” that’s available when fossil fuels are depleted.

backward-bending labor supply curve – A labor supply curve that is positively-sloped for relatively small quantities of labor and negatively-sloped for relatively large quantities of labor. In other words, workers supply larger quantities of labor in response to a higher wage when the wage is relatively low. However, when the wage reaches a relatively high level, further increases in the wage entice workers to reduce the quantity supplied. The supply curve thus bends back on itself. The reason for the negatively-sloped, backward-bending segment rests with the tradeoff between labor and leisure. Workers decide to “spend” a portion of their higher wage “buying” more leisure time, and thus working less. The end result is that the higher wage decreases the quantity of labor supplied.

balance of payments – The difference between the funds received by a country and those paid by a country for all international transactions. The international transactions include the exchange of merchandise (exports and imports), which is commonly summarized as the balance of trade, plus the exchange of services, summarized as the balance of services, as well as any gifts or transfer payments that do not involve the exchange of goods and services. The balance of payments, in effect, indicates the difference between currency coming into a country and that flowing out of the country. The balance of payments is divided into two accounts — current account (which includes payments for imports, exports, services, and transfers) and capital account (which includes payments for physical and financial assets).

balance of payments deficit – An imbalance in a nation’s balance of payments in which payments made by the country exceed payments received by the country. This is also termed an unfavorable balance of payments. It’s considered unfavorable because more currency is flowing out of the country than is flowing in. Such an unequal flow of currency will reduce the supply of money in the nation and subsequently cause an increase in the exchange rate relative to the currencies of other nations. This then has implications for inflation, unemployment, production, and other facets of the domestic economy. A balance of trade deficit is often the source of a balance of payments deficit, but other payments can turn a balance of trade deficit into a balance of payments surplus.

balance of payments surplus – An imbalance in a nation’s balance of payments in which payments made by the country are less than payments received by the country. This is also termed a favorable balance of payments. It’s considered favorable because more currency is flowing into the country than is flowing out. Such an unequal flow of currency will expand the supply of money in the nation and subsequently cause a decrease in the exchange rate relative to the currencies of other nations. This then has implications for inflation, unemployment, production, and other facets of the domestic economy. A balance of trade surplus is often the source of a balance of payments surplus, but other payments can turn a balance of trade surplus into a balance of payments deficit.

balance of services – The difference between funds received by a country when exporting services and the funds paid for importing services. The balance of services is one part of the current accounts portion of the balance of payments, the other is major part is the balance of trade. The balance of services is very much like the merchandise balance of trade, excepct intangible services are being exported and imported rather than tangible goods. Like the balance of trade, the balance of services can be out of balance. A balance of services surplus results if service exports exceed imports, also termed a favorable balance of services, and a balance of services deficit exists if service imports exceed exports, analogously termed an unfavorable balance of services.

balance of trade – The difference between funds received by a country when exporting merchandise and the funds paid for importing merchandise. The balance of trade is a major part of the current accounts portion of the balance of payments. A balance of trade surplus results if exports exceed imports, commonly termed a favorable balance of trade, and a balance of trade deficit exists if imports exceed exports, analogously termed an unfavorable balance of trade. The “favorable” and “unfavorable” normative connotations attached to the balance of trade rests with the presumption that a nation is “better off” when it exports more than it imports, which is not necessarily true.

balance of trade deficit – An imbalance in a nation’s balance of trade in which the payments for merchandise imports made by the country exceed payments for merchandise exports received by the country. This is also termed an unfavorable balance of trade. It’s considered unfavorable because more goods are imported into the country than are exported out, meaning that domestic production is replaced with foriegn production, which then reduces domestic employment and income. A balance of trade deficit is often the source of a balance of payments deficit.

balance of trade surplus – An imbalance in a nation’s balance of trade in which the payments for merchandise exports received by the country exceed payments for merchandise imports paid by the country. This is also termed a favorable balance of trade. It’s considered favorable because more goods are exported out of the country than are imported in, meaning that foreign production is replaced with domestic production, which then increases domestic employment and income. A balance of trade surplus is often the source of a balance of payments surplus.

balance sheet – A statement of the assets, liabilities, and net worth of a company at a given point in time. The basic relationship illustrated by a balanced sheet is that assets minus liabilities are equal to net worth. Or alternatively, assets are equal to liabilities plus net worth. This is one of two financial statements for an entity. The other is an income statement, which reports the revenues, expenses, and profit over a period of time.

balanced budget – An equality between the revenues and expenditures that constitute a budget. The notion of a budget is most important for governments, where revenues are taxes and expenditures are assorted public goods, administrative expenses, etc. While the federal government has been notorious for its failure to maintain a balanced budget, except for periods of unexpected prosperity, many state and local governments are very good at this sort of thing.

balanced-budget amendment – A proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would constrain total government spending to be less than or equal to total tax collections. Such an amendment would effectively eliminate the federal deficit, which results when the spending exceeds taxes. The logic behind such an amendment is to prevent discretionary use of fiscal policy, which is often blamed for political business cycles and the resulting problems of inflation and unemployment. It is also touted as a way to limit the size of the Federal government.

balanced-budget multiplier – The ratio of the change in aggregate output (GDP) to a change in government spending, which are matched by an equal change in taxes. This is termed a balanced-budget multiplier because the change in spending is matched by the change in taxes and thus the government’s budget deficit or surplus is neither increased nor decreased. If the government had a balanced budget before the changes, then it has one after the changes.

bank – A financial organization that accepts deposits, makes loans, and directly controls a significant portion of the nation’s money supply. In the olden days of the economy (before 1980), a bank was easy to identify because it had the word “bank” in it’s name — such as “First National Bank”, “Second National Bank”, etc. However, after several laws were passed in the early 1980s to reform and deregulate the banking industry, the term bank has come to functionally include other financial institutions that previously went by the titles of “Savings and Loan,” “Credit Union,” and “Mutual Savings Banks.” These institutions are operationally considered banks because they all perform “banking” functions — especially accepting checking account deposits and making loans.

bank assets – What a bank owns, including loans, reserves, investment securities, and physical assets. Bank assets are typically listed on the left-hand side of a bank’s balance sheet. Bank liabilities, what a bank owes, are listed on the right-hand side of a bank’s balance sheet. Net worth is the difference between assets and liabilities. The largest asset category of most bank is loans, which generates interest revenue. A critical asset category used to maintain the safety of deposits is reserves (vault cash and Federal Reserve deposits).

bank balance sheet – A record of the assets, liabilities, and net worth of a bank at a given point in time. Assets are what a bank owns. Liabilities are what a bank owes. Net worth is the difference between the two and what is claimed by or owed to the owners of the bank. By definition, a balance sheet must balance. The assets on one side are equal to the liabilities and net worth on the other.

bank failure – In principle, this results when a bank’s liabilities exceed assets for an extended period and the bank is forced to go out of business. This is comparable to other types of business that go bankrupt. However, because banks are heavily regulated by government entities, including the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and Comptroller of the Currency, bank failure does not necessarily mean that the bank ceases to operated. In may cases, such a failure means the operation of the bank is take over by one of the government entities. The troubled bank might also be allowed or “encouraged” to merge with another, healthier bank.

Bank for International Settlements – The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is an international organization which fosters cooperation among central banks and other agencies in pursuit of monetary and financial stability. Established in 1930, the BIS is the world’s oldest international financial organization. The head office is in Basel, Switzerland and there are two representative offices: in the Hong Kong, China and in Mexico City. As its customers are central banks, the BIS cannot accept deposits from, or provide financial services to, private individuals or corporate entities.

bank liabilities – What a bank owes, including most notably customer deposits. Bank liabilities are typically listed on the right-hand side of a bank’s balance sheet. Bank assets, what a bank owns, are listed on the left-hand side of a bank’s balance sheet. Net worth is the difference between assets and liabilities. The most important liability category of most bank is checkable deposits, which is part of the economy’s M1 money supply. The largest liability category includes other types of deposits (especially savings deposits, certificates of deposit, and money market deposits) that enter into the M2 and M3 monetary aggregates.

Bank of the United States – This was actually two central banks that preceded the Federal Reserve System as the nation’s monetary authority. The First Bank of the United States, under the design of Alexander Hamilton, commenced operations in 1791, almost immediately after the U.S. Constitution was written and George Washington became the first U.S. President. Its charter was not renewed and it ceased to operate in 1811. Financial instability resulting from the absence of a central bank over the next few years prompted the formation of the Second Bank of the United States in 1816. The Second Bank’s performance, however, was somewhat more suspect. When it knocked heads with President Andrew Jackson, a strong critic of central banking, the Second Bank ceased to be in 1836.

bank panic – Economy-wide concern over the stability of the banking system prompted by the failure of a few banks, which then contributes to the failure of many more banks, which contributes to the failure of even more banks, in a snowballing effect.

Bank Panic of 1907 – A relatively serious economic downturn, that is business-cycle contraction, in 1907 that was caused by serious, big-time, instability in the banking system. This major bank panic was so severe (the term depression is more applicable than recession) that it prompted Congress to establish the Federal Reserve System, which came into existence in 1913. See fractional-reserve banking.

bank reserves – The “money” that banks use to conduct day-to-day business, including cashing checks, satisfying customers’s withdrawals, and clearing checks between accounts at different banks. The “money” in question includes vault cash and Federal Reserve deposits. Specifically, vault cash is the paper money and coins that a bank keeps on the bank premises (both in the vault and in teller drawers), which is used to “cash” checks and otherwise provide the funds that customers withdraw. Federal Reserve deposits are accounts that banks keep with the Federal Reserve System, which are used to process, in a systematic, centralized fashion, the millions of checks written each day by customers of one bank that are deposited by customers of another bank. Using these deposits, the Fed acts as a central clearing house for checks, being able to simultaneously debit the account of one bank and credit the account of another. More on the importance of bank reserves can be found under fractional-reserve banking.

bank run – A situation in which a relatively large number of a bank’s customers attempt to withdraw their deposits in a relatively short period of time, usually within a day or two. While common throughout the 1800s and early 1900s, government deposit insurance has largely eliminated banks runs in the modern economy. Historically a bank run was prompted by fears that the bank was on the verge of collapse, causing deposits to become worthless. Ironically a bank run often caused the bank to fail. Bank runs were often infectious, leading to economy-wide bank panics and business-cycle contractions.

banking – The industry consisting of financial intermediaries that maintain deposits (that is, the industry of banks). Banking is one of several financial industries, with insurance and stock trading two other notable examples. Firms that comprise the banking industry are traditional banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions, and mutual savings banks. Banking in modern economies is generally fractional-reserve banking, with banks acting as financial intermediaries and safekeepers of deposits.

bankruptcy – A legal declaration that the liabilities of a proprietor (individual), partnership, or corporation are greater than assets. In other words, a consumer or business that is unable to pay the bills can go to court and be formally declared bankrupt. The impetus for entering a court can come voluntarily from the deadbeat who has acquired more liabilities than assets, or involuntarily from the creditors who have been unable to collect from the deadbeat.

banks – Financial intermediaries that function as depository institutions, maintaining deposits, making loans, and directly controlling the checkable deposits portion of the economy’s money supply. As financial intermediaries, banks match up lenders and borrowers, using deposits for loans. However, banks are also responsible for maintaining liquid checkable deposits that are used as money for the economy. The generic term “banks” or “commercial banks” is used in reference to traditional banks, as well as checking-account issuing thrift institutions–credit unions, savings and loan associations, and mutual savings banks.

bar chart – A graph containing a set of vertical or horizontal “bars” that are used to present data for discrete categories. A bar chart provides a useful way to compare information about different groups or categories.

barrier to entry – An institutional, government, technological, or economic restriction on the entry of firms into a market or industry. The four primary barriers to entry are: resource ownership, patents and copyrights, government restrictions, and start-up costs. Barriers to entry are a key reason for market control and the inefficiency that this generates. In particular, monopoly, oligopoly, monopsony, and oligopsony often owe their market control to assorted barriers to entry. By way of contrast, perfect competition, monopolistic competition, and monopsonistic competition have few if any barriers to entry and thus little or no market control.

barter – A method of trading goods, commodities, or services, directly for one another without the use of money. In a barter exchange one good is traded directly for another. This sort of exchange ultimately requires a double coincidence of wants, meaning that each trader has what the other trader wants and wants what the other has. Without a double coincidence of wants the exchange process can become exceedingly complex, requiring a great deal of resources to complete transactions, resources that can not be used for production. In fact, inefficient barter trading was the primary reason that money was invented. With money, more resources can be used for production and fewer are needed for trading.

barter economy – An economy that trades goods and services using barter exchanges rather than money. Barter economies originally predated the invention of money, emerging out the early stage of self-sufficiency before giving way to the use of commodity money. However, barter economies occasionally surface in modern times, especially when the public loses confidence in the monetary unit during a government crises or a period of hyperinflation.

barter exchange – A method of trading goods, commodities, or services, directly for one another without the use of money. In a barter exchange one good is traded directly for another. This sort of exchange ultimately requires a double coincidence of wants, meaning that each trader has what the other trader wants and wants what the other has. Without a double coincidence of wants the exchange process can become exceedingly complex, requiring a great deal of resources to complete transactions, resources that can not be used for production. In fact, inefficient barter trading was the primary reason that money was invented. With money, more resources can be used for production and fewer are needed for trading. See market.

BBB – The abbreviation for the Better Business Bureau, a group of businesses and organizations in a local community that seek to eliminate unethical business practices and protect consumers. The first Better Business Bureau was established in 1912 in Minnesota. Today, most local communities (read this as cities) throughout North America have Better Business Bureaus. This private response to questionable business practices should be compare with the government response, the Federal Trade Commission.

BEA – The abbreviation for the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which is an agency of the U.S. Federal government, specifically a branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce, that compiles and reports a wide range of economic data and measurements. At the top of their list of important economic numbers maintained by the BEA, is the National Income and Product Accounts, which includes gross domestic product and the broad assortment of related measures of income and production. Economists rely heavily on the BEA to provide data needed to evaluate and analyze the macroeconomy.

bear market – A condition of the stock market in which stock prices are generally declining and most of the participants expect this decline to continue. In other words, the stock market is into an extended period of “hibernation” that could last for months or even years. This isn’t the same as a “crash” of falling stock prices over a short time (like one day). A bear market usually occurs because investors see a sluggish, stagnant economy with few signs of robust growth.

benefit principle – A principle of taxation in which taxes are based on the benefits received by people using the good financed with the tax. The benefit principle is often difficult to implement because by their very nature, many government produced goods (public goods) do not have easily measured benefits. But in those cases where benefits are identifiable, government is not shy about establishing taxes, fees, or charges in accordance with the benefit principle. Public college tuition, national park admission fees, and gasoline excise taxes are three common examples. The beneficiaries of education, a wilderness experience, and highway use are asked (required) to pay accordingly.

benefit-cost analysis – An analytical technique that compares the benefit generated by an activity with its opportunity cost of production. The rule is that if benefits exceed costs, then the activity is efficient and should be undertaken. In some cases the end result of benefit-cost analysis is net benefits, which is benefits minus cost. A positive value means the activity is efficient. In other cases the end result of benefit-cost analysis is a benefit-cost ratio, which is benefits divided by costs. A ratio greater than 1.0 is thus the indication of an efficient activity.

benefit-cost ratio – The benefit of an activity per dollar of cost. Benefit-cost ratios (or alternatively cost-benefit ratios) are frequently estimated for many forms of government spending, as well as a growing number of business investments. This technique was originally developed to determine if public investment projects, like dams, public parks, highways, etc., were worth doing. The logic is simple — If benefits are greater than costs, then the project is worthwhile, if they are less, then it isn’t.

Better Business Bureau – A group of businesses and organizations in a local community that seek to eliminate unethical business practices and protect consumers. The first Better Business Bureau was established in 1912 in Minnesota. Today, most local communities (read this as cities) throughout North America have Better Business Bureaus. This private response to questionable business practices should be compare with the government response, the Federal Trade Commission.

bid-rent curve – A line or curve that shows the relation between the rent economic activities are willing to pay for land (bid-rent) and the distance of the land from the point of attraction (such as the cent of a city). The bid-rent curve has a negative slope because the activities balance the bid-rent with the cost of transportation to the point of attraction. Farther distances require greater transportation cost and thus reduce the amount of rent that can be paid. The bid-rent curve indicates why rents, and by inference land values, tend to be higher near central locations.

big business – A small number of the largest businesses (usually corporations) in our economy that (1) produce a substantial share of total output, (2) control a bunch of our economy’s resources, and (3) have a great deal of market control in their respective industries. A listing of the Fortune 500 companies provides an idea for those businesses that have achieved the status of “big.” The second estate obtains most its members from the presidents, shareholders, boards of directors, and high-level managers of big business.

bilateral – An action, often used in terms of an international trade agreement, that mutually affects two parties. As such, a bilateral trade agreement is one negotiated by two countries. For example, the United States might enter into a bilateral agreement with Germany over car sales, such that each agrees to restrict the number of imports from the other. Compare multilateral, unilateral.

bilateral monopoly – A market containing a single buyer and a single seller. Bilateral monopoly is the combination of a monopoly market on the selling side and a monopsony market on the buying side. Factor markets tend to offer the best examples of bilateral monopolies, and thus is the field of economic analysis where this term generally surfaces. A market dominated by a profit-maximizing monopoly tends to charge a higher price. A market dominated by a profit-maximizing monopsony tends to pay a lower price. When combined into a bilateral monopoly, the buyer and seller are forced to negotiate a price. Then resulting price could end up anywhere between the higher monopoly’s price and the lower monopsony’s price. Where the price ends ups depends on the relative negotiating power of each side.

factor market analysis bilateral monopoly – The analysis of a factor market characterized by monopsony dominating the buying side and monopoly dominating the selling side indicates that the factor price and quantity exchanged depends on the negotiating power of each side. Ironically, the factor price is likely to be closer to the efficient price achieved with perfect competition than that achieved individually by either monopsony or monopoly.

birth rate – The number of people born per 1,000 population. The birth rate is compared with the death rate to indicate the natural population growth of a country. (Net migration is also needed in the calculation of the final, overall, actual growth of population.) The birth rate most frequently comes up in economic development discussions of less developed countries and their progress (or lack thereof) through the demographic transition.

BIS – The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is an international organization which fosters cooperation among central banks and other agencies in pursuit of monetary and financial stability. Established in 1930, the BIS is the world’s oldest international financial organization. The head office is in Basel, Switzerland and there are two representative offices: in the Hong Kong, China and in Mexico City. As its customers are central banks, the BIS cannot accept deposits from, or provide financial services to, private individuals or corporate entities.

black market – An illegal market in which the price of the goods sold is above a legally set maximum price. A black market invariable results whenever the government imposes a price ceiling on a good. A common example of a price ceiling is rent controls on apartments in many large cities. Although landlords cannot “legally” rent apartments for more than the specified maximum, they often do so “illegally” by charging “finders fees” and “tenant association dues.” In so doing, they have entered into the realm of black markets.

BLS – The abbreviation for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an agency of the U.S. Federal government, specifically a branch of the U.S. Department of Labor, that compiles and reports a wide range of economic data and measurements. At the top of their list of important economic numbers maintained by the BLS are the unemployment rate (and related measures) and the Consumer Price Index (and related measures). Economists rely heavily on the BLS to provide data needed to evaluate and analyze the macroeconomy.

blue chip – The corporate stock of relatively large, good old U. S. of A. companies that tend to be consistently profitable, pay out consistently high dividends, and are consistently stable force in the economy. The blue chip stocks are often considered synonymous with those included in Dow Jones averages.

Board of Governors – The policy-making head of the Federal Reserve System. The Board is comprised of 7 members, each serving 14-year terms, with one term expiring every two years. This Board, when joined by five Federal Reserve District Bank presidents forms the Federal Open Market Committee. The Chairman of the Board of Governors is considered to be one of the, if not THE, most powerful individuals in the economy.

Chairman Board of Governors – The head of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Federal Reserve System. This is the guy in charge of monetary policy and is considered to be one of the two or three most powerful people in terms of the national and global economy. The Chairman is one of the seven members of the Board and serves as Chairman for a five-year term. The Fed Chairman also serves as Chairman of the powerful Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed Committee that sets the course of monetary policy.

bond – The general term for a long-term loan in which a borrower agrees to pay a lender an interest rate (usually fixed) over the length of the loan and then repay the principal at the date of maturity. Bond maturities are usually 10 years or more, with 30 years quite common. Bonds are used by corporations and federal, state, and local governments to raise funds. Most bonds are negotiable, or can be readily traded prior to their maturity date. The price at which a bond sells depends on the original amount borrowed, the interest rate the bond pays, and comparable interest rates and returns on other investments in the economy.

bond rating – A measure of the ability of a firm to meet its debt obligations or credit worthiness. Basically, a bond rating summarizes the assessment of a firm’s net worth, cash flow and viability of projects so that investors can assign the size of the default-risk premium to the bond. These measurements are so important that investors frequently pay professional analysts to collect, monitor and process information about firms. Standard and Poor’s Corporation and Moody’s Investors Service are two of the most respected bond rating agencies.

boycott – An organized effort to reduce the sales of a particular good that’s intended to punished the producer or seller. Boycotts are promoted by labor unions to inflict harm on their companies and (hopefully) encourage their employers to settle labor distributes. Special interest groups also use boycotts to achieve assorted political goals. Some groups, for example, have called for boycotts of the products advertised on “undesirable” television shows, while others have boycotted companies that do business in politically “undesirable” countries.

brand – The process of developing and maintaining a name, phrase, symbol or other identifying characteristic of a product or service to create recognition on the part of the consumer. This usually occurs over a period of time with multiple exposures and positive experiences. However, negative experiences dealing with the product can also create brand awareness, just not the kind a company works to achieve. Examples of brands are: Regal, Buick, General Motors.

brand equity – The intrinsic value a brand has in the market place. This value is developed over a period of time and because a brand is widely recognized. There is an amount of business that is repeatedly generated due to brand alone. Brand equity is achieved based on brand recognition, brand loyalty and perceived product quality. BMW has developed an image of high product quality and performance which in turn has created a high brand equity.

brand loyalty – A positive attitude toward and preference for purchasing a specific product or service in the market place. It is the desired goal of all businesses to create brand loyalty from members of their target markets. Once brand loyalty has been created it is more difficult to persuade customers to switch to an alternative brand. Some consumers will only purchase Mountain Dew, nothing else will do.

brand name – That part of a brand that can be spoken. McDonald’s use both its name and the “Golden Arches” as part of its brand. McDonald’s would be the brand name.

brand preference – The amount of brand loyalty a customer has toward a specific product or service. Some customers are fanatical about a certain brand and will not switch or even consider another substitute. That being said, brand loyalty is sometimes very sensitive to price fluctuations. In the soft drink industry, many consumers will switch back and forth between Pepsi and Coke, depending on which is on sale. These consumers might prefer one product to the other, but are not absolutely loyal or brand insistent.

brand recognition – The awareness on the part of the consumer that a brand exists and is an option to purchase. Companies work hard and spend considerable resources in an effort to facilitate brand recognition. By doing so, a company hopes to increase market share and develop brand loyalty. Scarcity Stan’s Ye Olde Bakery Shoppe and Confectionery Palace spent a lot of time and money developing its brand name in Shady Valley.

breakeven output – The quantity of output in which the total revenue is equal to total cost such that a firm earns exactly a normal profit, but no economic profit. Breakeven output can be identified by the intersection of the total revenue curve and total cost curve, or by the intersection of the average total cost curve and average revenue curve. The most straightforward way of noting breakeven output, however, is with the profit curve. For a perfectly competitive firm breakeven output occurs where price is equal to average total cost.

broker – Anyone who is paid to bring together buyers and sellers to complete a market transaction. Common examples of brokers are real estate agents, stock brokers, and insurance agents. The thing to note about brokers is that they don’t buy or sell anything, but merely bring buyers and sellers together. This little function is different from that of a dealer. A dealer is one who is always ready to help a transaction by selling to those who are buying or buying from those who are selling. As such, while stock brokers are in fact brokers, matching up buyers and sellers, many are also dealers, ready to buy or sell if no one else does.

Brookings Institution – An independent, nonpartisan organization devoted to research, analysis, education, and publication focused on public policy issues in the areas of economics, foreign policy, and governance. The Brookings Institution takes its name from Somers Brookings (1850-1932) who in 1922 and 1924 founded the Institute of Economics and a graduate school bearing his name. These two institutions and the Institute for Government Research (IGR), which was the first private organization devoted to analyzing public policy issues at the national level, merged in 1927 to create the Brookings Institution. The Brookings Institution is a non-profit organization located in Washington, D.C.

budget – A statement of the financial position of an entity–especially household, business, or government–based on estimates of anticipated revenues and expenditures. A budget is balanced if the revenues and expenditures are equal. A budget deficit arises if expenditures exceed revenues and a budget surplus exists if revenues are greater than expenditures.

budget constraint – The alternative combinations of two different goods that can be purchased with a given income and given prices of the two goods. This budget constraint, also termed budget line, plays a major role in the analysis of consumer demand using indifference curve analysis. Indifference curves represents the “willingness” aspect of consumer demand, the budget constraint captures the “ability”. One key consumer demand topic is to analyze how consumer equilibrium is affected by changes in the price of one good. Then end result of this analysis is a demand curve. For more fascinating uses of the budget constraint and indifference curves, and consumer demand analysis, see income-consumption curve and price-consumption curve.

budget deficit – An excess of budgetary expenditures over revenues. The federal government is well known for its inclination to operate with a budget deficit. But it is not alone. Consumers also find themselves in this position on many occasions. When a budget deficit occurs, the excess spending is financed through borrowing. For the federal government this involves issuing government securities. For households it typically involves some sort of bank loan, credit card purchase, use of savings (borrowing from thyself), or hitting a friend up for a few bucks.

budget line – The alternative combinations of two different goods that can be purchased with a given income and given prices of the two goods. This budget constraint, also termed budget constraint, plays a major role in the analysis of consumer demand using indifference curve analysis. Indifference curves represents the “willingness” aspect of consumer demand, the budget line captures the “ability”. One key consumer demand topic is to analyze how consumer equilibrium is affected by changes in the price of one good. Then end result of this analysis is a demand curve. For more fascinating uses of the budget line and indifference curves, and consumer demand analysis, see income-consumption curve and price-consumption curve.

budget proportion – One of three elasticity determinants (time period and substitute availability are the other two) stating that the elasticity of a good tends to be greater when the proportion of the budget devoting to the good is greater. In other words, the price elasticity of demand for housing (which takes up a sizeable portion of most budgets) is greater than that for a pair of socks (which does not take up much of most budgets). Even small percentage changes in goods that constitute a sizeable share of income can be quite large in absolute terms. As such, buyers tend to more sensitive to price changes in big-budget expenditures. This elasticity determinant works primarily for the price elasticity of demand.

budget surplus – An excess of budgetary revenues over expenditures. This seemingly rare event is in fact commonly practiced by many state and local governments — albeit often because of constitutional mandates. The federal government has even accomplished this feat once or twice. Consumers operate a budget surplus whenever they’re able to put a little bit of their income into saving.

building cycle – The recurring periods of first active and then stagnant home sales and housing construction. A complete cycle usually lasts from 15 to 20 years. The source of these ups and downs rests with the competitive nature of the home construction business, the length of time it takes to build a house and, perhaps most importantly, the length of time before a house depreciates.

bull market – A condition of the stock market in which stock prices are generally rising and most of the participants expect this to continue. In other words, the stock market is into an extended period of “charging ahead” like a mad bull. A bull market usually occurs because investors see a healthy, vibrant, profitable economy on the horizon. Compare bear market.

Bureau of Economic Analysis – An agency of the U.S. Federal government, specifically a branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce, that compiles and reports a wide range of economic data and measurements. At the top of their list of important economic numbers maintained by what is abbreviated the BEA, is the National Income and Product Accounts, which includes gross domestic product and the broad assortment of related measures of income and production. Economists rely heavily on the BEA to provide data needed to evaluate and analyze the macroeconomy.

Bureau of Labor Statistics – An agency of the U.S. Federal government, specifically a branch of the U.S. Department of Labor, that compiles and reports a wide range of economic data and measurements. At the top of their list of important economic numbers maintained by what is abbreviated the BLS, are the unemployment rate (and related measures) and the Consumer Price Index (and related measures). Economists rely heavily on the BLS to provide data needed to evaluate and analyze the macroeconomy.

bureaucracy – A system or rules and procedures designed to operate a complex organization. While most people look to government when the term bureaucracy arises (and make no mistake, government is not shy when it comes to complex bureaucracies), bureaucracies exist in all types of organizations — private, public, government, business, charities, corporations, even households. The problem economists have with bureaucracies is that rigid, administrative rules often drive a wedge between action and responsibility. The clerk at the welfare counter is only following rules established by Congress. The clerk has no authority to change the rules, and Congress seldom if ever sees the consequences of their rules.

bureaucrat – Someone who works in a bureaucracy. Usually the term bureaucrat is used as a deregulatory, even profane, description of a government employee (such as “that dirty faceless bureaucrat”), indicating that the person would need serious genetic restructuring to be included in the human race. Closer genetic inspection (and the theory of public choice), however, indicates that the real culprit is complex bureaucracies and the rules under which they operate.

business – A profit-motivated organization that combines resources for the production and supply of goods and services. The term business is often used synonymously with the term firm. If there is any difference, and a subtle difference at that, the term business usually refers to a productive organization that is privately owned and motivated by the pursuit of profit. A firm, in contrast, could also refer to nonprofit and/or publicly controlled productive organizations. But this distinction is quite subtle and for most economic analyses the terms firm and business are used interchangeably. Profit-motivated businesses are organized as either a proprietorship (1 owner) with unlimited liability, a partnership (2 or more equal owners) with unlimited liability, or a corporation that issues limited liability stock ownership shares.

business cycle – The recurring expansions and contractions of the national economy (usually measured by real gross domestic product). A complete cycle typically lasts from three to five years, but could last ten years or more. It is divided into four phases — expansion, peak, contraction, and trough. Unemployment inevitably rises during contractions and inflation tends to worsen during expansions. To avoid the inflation and unemployment problems of business cycles, the federal government frequently undertakes various fiscal and monetary policies.

business cycle indicators – Assorted economic statistics that provide valuable information about the expansions and contractions of business cycles. These statistics are grouped into three sets–lagging, coincident, and leading. Leading economic indicators tend to move up or down a few months BEFORE business-cycle expansions and contractions. Coincident economic indicators tend to reach their peaks and troughs AT THE SAME TIME as business cycles. Lagging economic indicators tend to rise or fall a few months AFTER business-cycle expansions and contractions.

business cycle measurement – Three of the most noted and often used measures of business cycle activity are real gross domestic product (especially the growth rate), unemployment rate, and inflation rate. Another group of measures fall under the broad heading of economic indicators and include leading economic indicators, coincident economic indicators, and lagging economic indicators. Real sophisticated economic types also follow measures such as changes in business inventories, Producer Price Index, M2 money supply, durable goods order, and others.

business cycle phases – The recurring, but irregular, pattern of business cycles can be divided into two basic phases — expansion and contraction. An expansion is a period of increasing economic activity and a contraction is a period of declining economic activity. These two phases are marked by two transitions. The transition from expansion to contraction is termed a peak and the transition from contraction to expansion is termed a trough. The early portion of an expansion is often referred to as a recovery.

business cycles – The recurring expansions and contractions of the national economy (usually measured by real gross domestic product). A complete cycle typically lasts from three to five years, but could last ten years or more. It is divided into four phases — expansion, peak, contraction, and trough. Unemployment inevitably rises during contractions and inflation tends to worsen during expansions. To avoid the inflation and unemployment problems of business cycles, the federal government frequently undertakes various fiscal and monetary policies.

business inventories – Stocks of finished products, intermediate goods, raw materials, and other inputs that businesses have on hand. One big reason to keep inventories is to maintain a continuous stream of production by avoiding any supply shortages. Another big reason is to avoid the loss of sales because finished products are unavailable when a customer is ready, willing, and able to buy.

business plan – A business plan defines your business, identifies your goals, and serves as a companyÕs resume. The basic elements include a current and pro forma balance sheet, an income statement, and a cash flow analysis. It helps the company allocate scarce resources properly and functions as a road map to make good business decisions. A marketing plan should be an integral part of the business plan.

business sector – The basic macroeconomic sector containing the private, profit-seeking firms in the economy that combine scarce resources into the production of wants-and-needs satisfying goods and services. The key economic function of the business sector is the production of goods and services. The three basic types of business organizations that comprise the business sector are proprietorship, partnership, and corporation. This is one of the four macroeconomic sectors. The other three are household sector, government sector, and foreign sector. You might want to check out the key role that the business sector plays in the circular flow.

business transfer payments – A payment by the business sector to the household sector without any corresponding production or expectations of production. Business transfer payments are essentially gifts, or subsidies, made to the household sector from the business sector. This is one of several key differences between national income (the resource cost of production) and gross/net domestic product (the market value of production). For further discussion of this point, see gross domestic product and national income or net domestic product and national income. business transfer payments, abbreviated BTP, tend to be quite small, invariably less than 1% of gross domestic product.

buyer’s remorse – The post purchase behavior a consumer experiences when one has doubts as to whether the purchase decision was correct or not. This is a possible step five in the decision making process (post-purchase behavior). It can be overcome by effective decision making upfront on the part of the consumer. The seller can help eliminate this by making follow-up calls or visits to reinforce the correctness of the decision on the part of a buyer.

buyers’ expectations – One of the five demand determinants assumed constant when a demand curve is constructed, and that shift the demand curve when they change. The other four are income, preferences, other prices, and number of buyers. If buyers expect the future price will be greater, then they’re likely to buy more today, to avoid the higher future price. Alternatively, if buyers expect a lower future price, then they’re likely to buy less today, awaiting the lower price. A higher future price induces an increase in demand and a lower future price induces a decrease in demand.

buyers’ expectations, demand determinant – The expectations that buyers have concerning the future price of a good, which is assumed constant when a demand curve is constructed. Buyers’ expectations are one of five demand determinants that shift the demand curve when they change. The other four are buyers’ income, buyers’ preferences, other prices, and number of buyers.

buyers’ income, demand determinant – The income that buyers have available to purchase a good, which is assumed constant when a demand curve is constructed. Buyers’ income is one of five demand determinants that shift the demand curve when they change. The other four are buyers’ preferences, other prices, buyers’ expectations, and number of buyers.

buyers’ market – A disequilibrium condition in a competitive market that has a surplus, such that buyers are able to force the price down. Note that a buyers’ market does not mean that a lack of competition among demanders have given buyers market control. A buyers’ market is a competitive market that simply has a temporary imbalance between the quantity demanded by the buyers and the quantity supplied by the sellers. The buyers’ market phrase is commonly used (mainly by real world noneconomist types) to describe a surplus in real estate or housing markets. It’s also commonly used when describing assorted financial markets. You might want to examine the opposite of a buyers’ market, which is a sellers’ market. Additional information on the real estate market can be found in the entry on building cycle.

buyers’ preferences, demand determinant – The satisfaction that buyers receive from the purchase of a good, which is assumed constant when a demand curve is constructed. Buyers’ preferences is one of five demand determinants that shift the demand curve when they change. The other four are buyers’ income, other prices, buyers’ expectations, and number of buyers.

by-product – One of two goods that are produced jointly using the same resource–that is, the production of one good automatically triggers the production of the other. Also termed joint products or complements-in-production, the phrase by-product is often used when one of the products is unwanted or of secondary importance. For example, sawdust is generally considered a by-product from producing lumber from trees.

C – The standard abbreviation for consumption expenditures by the household sector, especially when used in the study of macroeconomics. This abbreviation is most often seen in the consumption function, specified as C = a + bY, where Y stands for national income. It is also used for the aggregate expenditure equation, AE = C + I + G + (X – M), where I, G, and (X – M) represent expenditures by the other three macroeconomic sectors, business, government, and foreign.

C corporation – The term used for a standard corporation to distinguish it from the new S corporation. As such, it is established as a separate legal entity, sells ownership shares, and owners have limited liability. The difference is that a C corporation is subject to double taxation but an S corporation is not.

CAN – The Andean Community (CAN) is a subregional organization endowed with an international legal status, which is made up of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. The main objectives of the Andean Community are to promote the balanced and harmonious development of the member countries under equitable conditions, to boost their growth through integration and economic and social cooperation and to enhance participation in the regional integration process with a view to the progressive formation of a Latin American common market. The Andean Community started operating on August 1, 1997 with a General Secretariat, whose headquarters are in Lima (Peru), as its executive body.

capacity utilization rate – The ratio of actual production by business sector factories and other productive establishments in the economy to the potential production of these establishments. This rate indicates if our economy’s factories are being used as effectively and as fully as possible. Like the unemployment rate, the capacity utilization rate measures how close our economy is to full employment. And like unemployment, this rate moves up and down over the course of a business cycle. During expansions, the rate is near 85 percent (considered full employment), and during contractions, it tends to be in the 70 percent range. In addition to an overall rate, there are also separate rates for manufacturing, mining, and utility industries.

capital – One of the four basic categories of resources, or factors of production. It includes the manufactured (or previously produced) resources used to manufacture or produce other things. Common examples of capital are the factories, buildings, trucks, tools, machinery, and equipment used by businesses in their productive pursuits. Capital’s primary role in the economy is to improve the productivity of labor as it transforms the natural resources of land into wants-and-needs-satisfying goods.

capital account – One of two parts of a nation’s balance of payments. The capital is a record of all purchases of physical and financial assets between a nation and the rest of the world in a given period, usually one year. On one side of the balance of payments ledger account are all of the foreign assets purchase by our domestic economy. On the other side of the ledger are all of our domestic assets purchased by foreign countries. The capital account is said to have a surplus if a nation’s investments abroad are greater than foreign investments at home. In other words, if the good old U. S. of A. is buying up more assets in Mexico, Brazil, and Hungry, than Japanese, Germany, and Canada investors are buying up of good old U. S. assets, then we have a surplus. A deficit is the reverse.

capital account deficit – An imbalance in a nation’s balance of payments capital account in which payments made by the country for purchasing foreign assets exceed payments received by the country for selling domestic assets. In other words, investment by the domestic economy in foreign assets is less than foreign investment in domestic assets. This is generally not a desireable situation for a domestic economy. However, in the wacky world of international economics, a capital account deficit is often balanced by a current account surplus, which is generally considered a desireable situation. If, however, the current account does not balance out the capital account, then a capital account deficit contributes to a balance of payments deficit.

capital account surplus – An imbalance in a nation’s balance of payments capital account in which payments received by the country for selling domestic assets exceed payments made by the country for purchasing foreign assets. In other words, investment by the domestic economy in foreign assets is greater than foreign investment in domestic assets. This is generally a desireable situation for a domestic economy. However, in the wacky world of international economics, a capital account surplus is often balanced by a current account deficit, which is not generally considered a desireable situation. If, however, the current account does not balance out the capital account, then a capital account surplus contributes to a balance of payments surplus.

capital consumption adjustment – The official item in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis that measures the macroeconomy’s capital depreciation during a given time period, usually one year. The capital consumption adjustment, which is also commonly termed the capital consumption allowance, both of which conveniently go by the abbreviation of CCA, is subtracted from gross domestic product (GDP) to calculate net domestic product (NDP). The CCA is also subtracted from gross private domestic investment to calculate net private domestic investment.

capital consumption allowance – A common term for then item in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis that measures the macroeconomy’s capital depreciation during a given time period, usually one year. The capital consumption allowance, which is officially termed the capital consumption adjustment, both of which conveniently go by the abbreviation of CCA, is subtracted from gross domestic product (GDP) to calculate net domestic product (NDP). The CCA is also subtracted from gross private domestic investment to calculate net private domestic investment.

capital depreciation – The wearing out, breaking down, or technological obsolescence of physical capital that results from use in the production of goods and services. To paraphrase an old saying, “You can’t make a car without breaking a few socket wrenches.” In other words, when capital is used over and over again to produce goods and services, it wears down from such use.

capital gains tax – A tax on the difference between the sales price of a “capital” asset and it’s original purchase price. The capital assets subject to this tax include such things real estate, stocks, and bonds. This tax is frequently a source of controversy between the second and third estates. In that the second estate owns and sells a lot of this sort of capital, they don’t like to pay taxes on capital gains. However, because the third estate doesn’t have much capital it seems like a pretty good thing to tax. Those who oppose the capital gains tax argue that it takes away funds that would be used for further capital investment, which thus inhibits economic growth. Those who favor it argue that helps equalize unfairly unequal income and wealth distributions.

capital good – A good that is a manufactured (or previously produced) factor of production that is used to manufacture or produce other things. Common examples of capital goods re the factories, buildings, trucks, tools, machinery, and equipment used by businesses in their productive pursuits. The acquisition of capital goods is the primary goal of business investment.

capital investment – The acquisition of capital goods at the expense of consumption goods. This commonly goes by the shorter phrase “investment.” Both mean essentially the same. The addition of capital merely serves to emphasize that the investment act is in fact resulting in the acquisition of capital goods.

capital market – A financial market that trades bonds, stocks, or any other long-term financial instruments used by businesses to raise funds. The term “capital” comes from the notion that business commonly get their funds to finance investment in capital from these markets. Compare money market.

aggregate supply determinant capital stock – One of several specific aggregate supply determinants assumed constant when the aggregate supply curves (both long run and short run) are constructed, and which shifts the aggregate supply curves when it changes. An increase in the capital stock causes an increase (rightward shift) of both aggregate supply curves. A decrease in the capital stock causes a decrease (leftward shift) of both aggregate supply curves. Other notable aggregate supply determinants include the technology, energy prices, and the wages. Capital stock comes under the resource quantity aggregate supply determinant.

capitalism – A type of economy based on — (1) private ownership of most resources, goods, and other stuff (private property); (2) freedom to generally use the privately-owned resources, goods, and other stuff to get the most wages, rent, interest, and profit possible; and (3) a system of relatively competitive markets. While government establishes the legal “rules of the game” for capitalism and provides assorted public goods, like national defense, education, and infrastructure, most production, consumption, and resource allocation decisions are left up to individual businesses and consumers. The term capitalism is derived from the notion that capital goods are under private, rather than government, ownership (compare communism, socialism.

capture theory of regulation – Control of a regulatory agency by those entities, usually the businesses of a particular industry, that the agency is designed to regulate. Those industries subject to economic regulation that is intended to protect the public interest (consumers) invariably find it beneficial to exert influence over the regulatory agency. One common way of doing this is to have former or future employees in the industry “temporarily” work for the regulatory agency.

cardinal – A measurement based on a scale or quantitative numbers, such as 1, 5, or 357.2, that enables a comparison in magnitude. Comparability means, for example, that the difference between 5 and 2 is the same as the difference between 12 and 9. Measures such as height and weight use cardinal numbers. Most economic measures are based on cardinal numbers, including gross domestic product, unemployment rate, the price of chocolate, and the quantity of wheat produced. The benefit of cardinal measurement is the ability to directly compare one measure with another. If, for example, the price of chocolate is $1 a pound and the price of wheat is $4 a pound, then wheat is four times more expensive than chocolate. Ordinal measures, which involve relative ranking, is an alternative type of measure.

cardinal utility – A measure of utility, or satisfaction derived from the consumption of goods and services, that can be measured using an absolute scale. Cardinal utility exists if the utility derived from consumption is measurable in the same way that other physical characteristics–height and weight–are measured using a scale that is comparable between people. There is little or no evidence to suggest that such measurement is possible and is not even needed for modern consumer demand theory and indifference curve analysis. Cardinal utility, however, is often employed as a convenient teaching device for discussing such concepts as marginal utility and utility maximization.

Caribbean Community – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is a subregional organization that was established by the Treaty of Chaguaramas signed in 1973 by Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago. Currently, the CARICOM has 15 country members all from the Caribbean region and several non-Caribbean countries that serve as external observers. The Community has several objectives like achieving improved standards of living and work, expansion of trade and economic relations with third States, accelerated, coordinated and sustained economic development and convergence, etc.

CARICOM – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is a subregional organization that was established by the Treaty of Chaguaramas signed in 1973 by Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago. Currently, the CARICOM has 15 country members all from the Caribbean region and several non-Caribbean countries that serve as external observers. The Community has several objectives like achieving improved standards of living and work, expansion of trade and economic relations with third States, accelerated, coordinated and sustained economic development and convergence, etc.

cartel – A formal agreement between businesses in the same industry, usually on an international scale, to get market control, raise the market price, and otherwise act like a monopoly. A cartel tends to be unstable because the artificially high prices it sets gives each member of the cartel an incentive to “cheat” with a slightly lower price. When only one member of the cartel lowers the price, it can make oodles of profit by taking customers away from the other members. If they all cheat, the cartel falls apart. While cartels damage efficiency, they’re power is often short-lived because of this cheating. Like collusion and other techniques of market control, cartels are illegal in the United States.

cash – the common term for paper currency and metal coins components of the money supply. Cash includes the foldable green paper with portraits of famous dead people, and those shiny metal discs with raised imprints of famous dead people. Cash is often divided into the “cash in circulation” which is what the nonbank public uses for purchases, and “vault cash” which is what banks have stashed away in the large, highly-secured, vaults. Cash in circulation is part of the money supply. Vault cash is part of bank reserves.

Cato Institute – A public policy research foundation that contributes to the public policy debate inspired by the principles of limited government, individual liberty, free markets, and peace. The Institute is named for Cato’s Letters, which are 144 libertarian essays written by John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon and first published from 1720 to 1723, condemning tyranny and advancing principles of liberty. These two Englishmen were inspired by Cato the Younger (95-46 B.C.) a Roman statesman who had of the reputation for honesty and incorruptibility in ancient times. The Cato Institute is a non-profit organization founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

cause and effect – The notion that every event in the universe is the direct result of a preceding event. The purpose of the scientific method is to identify these cause-and-effect relationships. This pursuit is based on a simple point of view: everything happens for a reason, something causes an event to happen. For every action there is a consequence. And for every consequence there is a cause.

caveat emptor – A handy little latin term meaning to “let the buyer beware.” It’s a warning to buyers that sellers will try to extract a high price for low-quality stuff, and a heed that every hardworking consumer of the third estate should take. If you find you’ve been “taken”, note that government has established consumer protection guidelines that businesses are legally compelled to follow. As such, you can seek action through the Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Product Safety Commission, your state attorney general, and in all likelihood your local police department.

caveat venditor – This is a latin term meaning “let the seller beware.” It was developed as a counter to the buyer’s warning, caveat emptor, and suggests that sellers too can be “taken to the cleaners” in a market transaction. While it’s less important than caveat emptor to under appreciated consumers, it does surface from time to time.

CBO – The abbreviation of Congressional Budget Office, which is a Congressional agency that provides Congress with information needed for various economic and budget decisions. Established in 1974, the CBO is responsible for providing Congress with objective, timely, nonpartisan analyses used for economic and budget decisions. A key task is to generate information and estimates required for the Congressional budget process. The Presidential counterpart of the CBO is the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). And unlike the OMB, every attempt is made to ensure that the CBO is nonpartisan and objective. It does not recommend policies, but only presents alternatives.

CD – The abbreviation for certificate of deposit, which is a type of savings account maintained by banks and other depository institutions that pays higher interest rates that normal savings accounts, but requires the funds not be withdrawn for a specified time period. Small denomination CDs (under $100,000) are a component of the M2 monetary aggregate. Larger denomination CDs (over $100,000) are a component of the M3 monetary aggregate.

central bank – The banking authority of a nation that’s in charge of ensuring a sound money supply and conducting the country’s monetary policy. It’s usually authorized by, and works closely with, the government to achieve full employment, low inflation rates , economic growth, and all of the other goals that make people happy, healthy, and wise. Unlike many other nations, which have a single central bank, the good old U. S. of A. actually has a de-central bank.

central planning – A system of extensive central government control of an economy, including organizing production and making allocation decisions. This was the popular method of allocating resources and answering the three basic questions of allocation under the communism/socialism economic systems of the Soviet Union, China, and others during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Applying the communist/socialist philosophy that private property and market allocation were “bad,” central planning relied on extremely detailed plans made by government. These plans would set specific production quotas for individual products, parts, components, and inputs fabricated by all of the factories and farms across the economy. This was a daunting, complex task that required detailed production information for hundreds of thousands of different commodities.

certificate of deposit – A type of savings account, commonly termed CDs, maintained by banks and other depository institutions that pays higher interest rates that normal savings accounts, but requires the funds not be withdrawn for a specified time period. Small denomination CDs (under $100,000) are a component of the M2 monetary aggregate. Larger denomination CDs (over $100,000) are a component of the M3 monetary aggregate.

ceteris paribus – A Latin term meaning that all other factors are held unchanged. The ceteris paribus assumption is used to isolate the effect one economic factor has on another. Without this assumption, it would be difficult to determine cause and effect in the economy. Relaxing the ceteris paribus assumption is the primary analytical technique used in the study of economics, especially when analyzing the market. Much like a chemist adds one chemical at a time to a mixture to determine the resulting reaction, an economist relaxes one ceteris paribus assumption at a time to observe the results.

chaebol – A form of business structure common in South Korean which involves an alliance of businesses, each working toward the mutual success of the group. The alliance also has close ties to government. This is comparable to the keiretsu, which is common in Japan. Each “independent” business owns stock in the others and shares executives and directors.

Chairman of the Board of Governors – The head of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Federal Reserve System. This is the guy in charge of monetary policy and is considered to be one of the two or three most powerful people in terms of the national and global economy. The Chairman is one of the seven members of the Board and serves as Chairman for a five-year term. The Fed Chairman also serves as Chairman of the powerful Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed Committee that sets the course of monetary policy.

change in aggregate demand – A shift of the aggregate demand curve caused by a change in one of the aggregate demand determinants. In essence, a change in aggregate demand is caused by any factor affecting aggregate demand EXCEPT the price level. This concept should be contrasted directly with a change in aggregate expenditures. You might also want to review the terms change in quantity demanded and change in demand, as well. The change in aggregate demand is comparable to the change in market demand. A change in aggregate demand is a change in ALL price level-aggregate expenditure combinations, meaning that each price level is matched up with a different aggregate expenditure (which is illustrated as a shift of the aggregate demand curve). This change in aggregate demand is caused by a change in any of the aggregate demand determinants. In contrast, a change in aggregate expenditures is a change from one price level-aggregate expenditure combination to the another (which is illustrated as a movement along a given aggregate demand curve).

change in aggregate expenditures – The movement along an aggregate demand curve caused by a change in the price level. This should be contrasted directly with a change in aggregate demand. You might also want to review the terms change in quantity demanded and change in demand, as well. A change in aggregate expenditures means that we have identified a NEW level of expenditures on the existing aggregate demand curve. In contrast, a change in aggregate demand means that we have changed, moved, or shifted, the entire aggregate demand curve, the whole range of price levels and aggregate expenditures has changed.

change in aggregate supply – A shift of the short-run or long-run aggregate supply curve caused by a change in one of the aggregate supply determinants. In essence, a change in aggregate supply is caused by any factor affecting supply EXCEPT the price level. This concept should be contrasted directly with a change in real production. You might also want to review the terms change in quantity supplied and change in supply, as well. The change in aggregate supply is comparable to the change in market supply. A change in aggregate supply is a change in ALL price level-real production combinations, meaning that each price level is matched up with a different level of real production (which is then illustrated as a shift of the short-run or long-run aggregate supply curve). This change in aggregate supply is caused by a change in any of the aggregate supply determinants. In contrast, a change in real production is a change from one price level-real production combination to the another.

change in business inventories – The increase or decrease in the stocks of final goods, intermediate goods, raw materials, and other inputs that businesses keep on hand to use in production. This is one of two main categories of gross private domestic investment included in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The other category is fixed investment. Change in business inventories is NOT what most people think of when the topic of business investment arises. Inventory changes are considered investment because firms need inventories to smooth the flow of production and sales just like they need factories and equipment to produce goods. In fact, inventories are frequently termed “working capital.”

change in demand – A shift of the demand curve caused by a change in one of the demand determinants. In essence, a change in demand is caused by any factor affecting demand EXCEPT price. This concept should be contrasted directly with a change in quantity demanded. You should also review the terms change in quantity supplied and change in supply, too. A change in demand is a change in ALL demand price-quantity demanded pairs, meaning that each price is matched up with a different quantity (which is illustrated as a shift of the demand curve). And this change in demand is caused by a change in any of the demand determinants. In contrast, a change in quantity demanded is a change from one price-quantity pair to the another (which is illustrated as a movement along a given demand curve).

change in inventories – The increase or decrease in the stocks of final goods, intermediate goods, raw materials, and other inputs that businesses keep on hand to use in production the occur because aggregate expenditures are not equal to aggregate output. Inventory changes play a key role in the Keynesian economics and the analysis of macroeconomic equilibrium. When inventory changes are zero, then aggregate expenditures are equal to aggregate output and there is no reason for the business sector to change the rate of production. Hence this is equilibrium.

change in private inventories – The increase or decrease in the stocks of final goods, intermediate goods, raw materials, and other inputs that businesses keep on hand to use in production. Formerly termed change in business inventories, this is one of two main categories of gross private domestic investment included in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The other category is fixed investment. Change in private inventories tend to be about 3 to 5 percent of gross private domestic investment.

change in quantity demanded – The movement along a demand curve caused by a change in the price of the good. This should be contrasted directly with a change in demand. You might also want to review the terms change in quantity supplied and change in supply, as well. A change in quantity demanded means that we have identified a NEW quantity on the existing demand curve. In contrast, a change in demand means that we have changed, moved, or shifted, the entire demand curve, the whole range of prices and quantities has changed.

change in quantity supplied – The movement along a supply curve caused by a change in the price of the good. This should be contrasted directly with a change in supply. You might also want to review the terms change in quantity demanded and change in demand, as well. A change in quantity supplied means that we have identified a NEW quantity on the existing supply curve. In contrast, a change in supply means that we have changed, moved, or shifted, the entire supply curve, the whole range of prices and quantities has changed.

change in real production – The movement along the short-run or long-run aggregate supply curve caused by a change in the price level. This should be contrasted directly with a change in aggregate supply. You might also want to review the terms change in quantity supplied and change in supply, as well. A change in real production for short-run aggregate supply actually means real production changes with a movement along a given SRAS. However, a “change in real production” for long-run aggregate supply really refers to a movement along a given LRAS curve and doesn’t actually involve a change in production. A change in real production means that we have identified a NEW price level-real production combination on the existing aggregate supply curve. In contrast, a change in aggregate supply means that we have changed, moved, or shifted, the entire aggregate supply curve, the whole range of price levels and real production amounts has changed.

change in supply – A shift of the supply curve caused by a change in one of the supply determinants. In essence, a change in supply is caused by any factor affecting supply EXCEPT price. This concept should be contrasted directly with a change in quantity supplied. You should also review the terms change in quantity demanded and change in demand, too. A change in supply is a change in ALL supply price-quantity supplied pairs, meaning that each price is matched up with a different quantity (which is illustrated as a shift of the supply curve). And this change in supply is caused by a change in any of the supply determinants. In contrast, a change in quantity supplied is a change from one price-quantity pair to the another (which is illustrated as a movement along a given supply curve).

check clearing – The process in which reserves or funds are transferred among banks to settle the accounts of checks written on one account and deposited into another. Check clearing is the heart and sole of daily banking activity and the final step in the use of checkable deposits as the medium of exchange for conducting transactions in the economy. Check clearing is facilitated by central clearinghouses, including the Federal Reserve System and a number of private organizations. The check clearing process is also a key component of the money creation process.

checkable deposit – A checking account deposit maintained by a bank, savings and loan association, credit union, or mutual savings bank. These accounts, also termed transactions deposits, let customers transfer funds easily and quickly to another person, which makes them ideally suited for use as money. Checkable deposits are typically between 60 and 70 percent of the M1 money supply.

checkable deposits – Checking account deposits maintained by banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions, or mutual savings banks. These accounts, also termed transactions deposits, let customers transfer funds easily and quickly to another person, which makes them ideally suited for use as money. Checkable deposits are typically between 60 and 70 percent of the M1 money supply.

CIO – The abbreviation for the Congress of Industrial Organizations, which was originally a collection of industrial unions established due to a rift among AFL members in 1938, this is now one half of the umbrella organization for labor unions in the United States (the CIO part of AFL-CIO). Industrial unions included in the CIO, were originally part of the AFL. However, because the AFL primarily represented skilled workers in craft unions, a rift among AFL members developed in 1938, resulting in the creation of the CIO. This rift was closed in 1955, when both joined together to form the AFL-CIO, which is the primary advocate for workers and labor unions in the United States.

circular flow – The continuous movement of production, income, and resources between producers and consumers. This flow moves through product markets as the gross domestic product of our economy and is then the revenue received by the business sector in payment for this production. This stream of revenue then flows through resource markets as payments by businesses for the resources employed in production. The payments received by resource owners, however, is nothing more than the income of the household sector. The resource owners of the household sector use this income to purchase goods and services through the product markets, coming full circle to where we began.

civilian labor force – Everyone in the economy, 16 years of age or older, who is neither institutionalized nor in the military, and is either employed or unemployed but actively seeking employment. The civilian labor force is the “official” specification for the national economy’s labor supply. It is used for such calculations as the unemployment rate and the labor force participation rate. In particular, the unemployment rate is technically specified as the “percent of the civilian labor force that is unemployed.” The size of the civilian labor force (along with the wildly popular unemployment rate) is estimated monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from data generated by the Current Population Survey (CPS).

classical aggregate supply curve – A graphical representation of the classical economic view of the relation between real production and the price level, holding all ceteris paribus aggregate supply determinants constant. The classical aggregate supply curve is a vertical line that reflects the classical view that the macroeconomy has flexible prices and maintains full employment. This aggregate supply is essentially the long-run aggregate supply curve used in modern aggregate market analysis. It should be compared with the Keynesian aggregate supply curve.

classical economics – A body of economic thought originating with the work of Adam Smith based on the idea that the operation of unrestricted markets generates aggregate or national production that fully utilizes the economy’s resources and maintains full employment. The three primary assumptions of classical economics are flexible prices, Say’s law, and the saving-investment equality.

classical range – The vertical segment of the Keynesian aggregate supply curve that reflects the independence of full-employment aggregate output (or gross domestic product) to the price level. Shifts of the aggregate demand curve in this range lead to changes in the price level, but not changes in aggregate output. Such results are consistent with classical economics, which is why this is termed the “classical” range. The other ranges of the Keynesian aggregate supply curve are the Keynesian range and the intermediate range.

Clayton Act – This antitrust law passed in 1914 outlawed specific practices designed to monopolize a market including price discrimination, exclusive agreements, tying contracts, mergers, and interlocking directorates. The Clayton Act was one of three major antitrust laws passed in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The other two were the Sherman Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act. The specific practices outlawed were designed to correct flaws of the Sherman Act, especially vague wording about what constituting a monopoly. Moreover, while the Sherman Act outlawed monopoly after it emerged, the Clayton Act made practices that gave rise to monopoly control illegal.

closed economy – An economy with little or no foreign trade. A country with a closed economy can usually tend to it’s problems without worrying about other countries. During the 1950s and 1960s, the good old U. S. of A. had relatively little foreign trade, and was very nearly a closed economy. But that was a unique period in the United States unmatched before or since. In fact, it’s very difficult to find a real-life closed economy anywhere in the world today. Because of this, you should take a close look at the entry open economy.

closed shop – An employment arrangement, usually written into a collective bargaining agreement, in which a firm is allowed to hire only labor union members. Because this gives a labor union complete control over the labor services supplied to a particular firm, it was one of the earliest methods used by labor unions to monopolized a labor market. However, closed shops were outlawed by the Taft-Hartley Act passed in 1947 and has been largely supplanted by union shops.

Coase theorem – A policy proposition, developed by Ronald Coase, that pollution and other externalities can be efficiently controlled through voluntary negotiations among the affected parties (polluters and those harmed by pollution). A key to the Coase theorem is that many pollution problems involve common-property goods that have no clear-cut ownership or property rights. With clear-cut property rights, “owners” would have the incentive to achieve an efficient level of pollution. This theorem states that it doesn’t matter who receives the property rights, so long as someone does. Pollution can be reduced through voluntary negotiation by assigning private property rights to common-property resources. If common-property resources are privately owned, a market in property rights can be established. Owners then have the incentive to protect the quality of their resources.

coefficient of elasticity – A numerical measure of the relative response of one variable (A) to changes in another variable (B). The most common applications for the coefficient of elasticity are price elasticity of demand and price elasticity of supply. Two other notable applications are income elasticity of demand and cross elasticity of demand.

cognitive dissonance – Also called buyer’s remorse. This post-purchase behavior is more likely to happen when the purchase is a more expensive one. The consumer may experience some regrets or questioning as to whether the purchase was a good one. This is the fifth step in the decision making process. Marketers can help eliminate this by properly selling the product and doing a follow-up to help reinforce the buyer’s “good” decision.

coin – A shiny metal disc, almost always authorized by a national government entity, with a raised impression of famous dead people on one side and a building or birds on the other that is used as money. U.S. coins are issued by the U.S. Treasury Department and come in denominations of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, half-dollars, and dollars. At one time, metal coins were comprised of valuable metal (that is, commodity money) in an amount equivalent to their face value. A dime had 10-cents worth of silver. A nickel had 5-cents worth of nickel. A penney had 1-cents worth of copper. Most modern coins, however, are fiat money, containing less valuable metal alloys. But they work just fine in vending machines.

coincident economic indicator – One of four economic statistics that tend to move up and down with the expansions and contractions of the business cycle. You can get a pretty good idea of what our economy’s doing RIGHT NOW by looking at these. Coincident economic indicators are measurements that move with the aggregate economy. When a contraction starts, these indicators decline. During an expansion. these indicators rise. These indicators, and their siblings, leading economic indicators and lagging economic indicators are compiled by their parents, those pointy-headed economist at National Bureau of Economic Research.

collective bargaining – The negotiation process between a union and the company that employs the union’s members — usually going by the moniker of management. The purpose of collective bargaining is to find mutual agreement on wages, fringe benefits, workhours, promotion criteria, grievance procedures, and everything else that has to do with employment. The end result of this process is a collective bargaining agreement, which is a formal contract between management and the union. A negotiation process that breaks down without reaching an agreement might lead to a strike, lockout, or mediation.

collusion – A usually secret agreement among competing firms (mostly oligopolistic firms) in an industry to control the market, raise the market price, and otherwise act like a monopoly. The reason for the secrecy is that such behavior is illegal in the United States under antitrust laws. Collusion is a characteristic trait of oligopolistic industries. Intense competition and interdependent decision-making encourages oligopolistic firms to cooperate. One way to lessen the competition among an oligopolistic rival is to join forces through collusion. (The other way is through merger, but that’s another entry.)

collusion and efficiency – Colluding oligopolistic firms generally produce less output and charge a higher price than would be the case for a perfectly competitive industry. In essence, colluding oligopolistic firms function just as if a market were monopolized. The price charged by the colluding firms is higher than the marginal cost of production. The equality between price and marginal cost is THE key indication that resources are allocated efficiently and that society’s resources are being used to generate the highest possible level of satisfaction. Because the colluding firms control the market like a monopoly, the market demand curve is THE demand curve for the colluding firms’s. With a negatively-sloped demand curve, price is greater than marginal revenue. And because a profit-maximizing firm equates marginal revenue with marginal cost, the price charged by the colluding firms when the maximize industry profit is greater than marginal cost.

collusion production analysis – To avoid competition, oligopolistic firms are occasionally inclined to cooperate through collusion. Collusion occurs when two or more oligopolistic firms jointly agree to control market prices and quantity and to generally act like a monopoly. Colluding firms set a price and produce a quantity that maximizes industry-wide economic profit, the same price and quantity that would be selected by a profit-maximizing monopoly. Once the industry-wide price and production are determined, each individual firm produces the quantity of output that equates the marginal cost of the firm to the marginal revenue for the industry.;collusion, efficiency;monopoly, short-run production analysis;game theory;oligopoly;collusion;explicit collusion;implicit collusion;cartel;market control;oligopoly, behavior

command and control – A term frequently used when referring to government regulation of pollution emissions. This is where the government imposes regulations on polluters through the use of licenses, permits, zoning regulations, registration, and other controls. It should be contrasted with other methods of pollution control, especially Pigouvian tax, pollution rights market, Coase theorem, and recycling.

command economy – An economy in which the government uses its coercive powers (such as command and control) to answer the three questions of allocation. This is the real world version of the idealized theoretical pure command economy. While in this real world version some allocation decisions are undertaken by markets, the vast majority are made through central planning. The two most notable command economies of the 20th century were the communist/socialist economic systems of China and the Soviet Union.

commercial paper – Short-term negotiable financial instruments, or promissory notes, sold by corporations to raise working capital. The maturity length of commercial paper is less than a year, often 30, 60 or 90 days. The corporations who issue commercial paper are usually the largest, most stable, and most profitable businesses in the country.

commodity exchange – A financial market that trades the ownership of various commodities, such as wheat, corn, cotton, sugar, crude oil, natural gas, gold, silver, and aluminum. The two biggest commodity exchanges in good old U. S. of A. are the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Unlike, let’s say a grocery store where commodities physically trade hands, commodity exchanges trade only legal ownership. This is much like a stock market, which trades the ownership of a corporation, but leaves the factory at home. Commodity markets offer two basic sorts of trading — spot (immediate delivery of a commodity) and futures (delivery of a commodity at a future date).

commodity money – A medium of exchange (money) with both value in use and value in exchange. Commodity money is first and foremost a commodity that provides users with satisfaction of their wants and needs. However, it also has the secondary function of a medium of exchange.

common market – An agreement among two or more nations to eliminate trade restrictions with each other, to adopt a common trade policy with other nations, and to allow free movement of resources among their countries. There is, however, no effort to adopt common monetary or fiscal policies. This is considered the third of four levels of integration among nations. Customs union, economic union, and free-trade area are the other three levels.

common stock – The ownership shares in a corporation that have legal claim to the corporation’s assets. Stock is usually dividend into two types, common stock and preferred stock. Preferred stock has first claim to the corporations net assets, and common stock comes in second. However, if a corporation has no preferred stock, the common stock has exclusive claim. Most stocks are negotiable and are traded one on a stock market.

common-property good – A good that’s difficult to keep nonpayers from consuming, but use of the good by one person prevents use by others. Examples include oceans, the atmosphere, many lakes and streams, and large tracts of wilderness area or public parks. The term “common property” aptly describes the situation here, it’s commonly owned and thus everyone has access to it, but it can be easily used up or destroyed. Many of our pollution problems occur because common property becomes a convenient place to dump waste materials. For efficiency, government needs to take charge of common-property goods, private exchange through markets can’t do the job.

Commonwealth – The Commonwealth is a multilateral organization of 54 developed and developing nations around the world. The Commonwealth Secretariat was established in 1965 as the main intergovernmental agency of the Commonwealth, facilitating consultation and co-operation among member governments and countries. The Commonwealth strives to be a force for peace, democracy, equality and good governance, a catalyst for global consensus building and a source of assistance for sustainable development and poverty eradication. The Commonwealth Secretariat is headed by the Commonwealth Secretary-General and is located at Marlborough House in London. Association to the Commonwealth is voluntary.

Commonwealth versus Hunt – A notable court case, decided by the Massachusetts Supreme Court in 1842, that declared labor unions were not illegal, which had been the existing interpretation of the law up to that time. This court case paved the way for the U.S. labor union movement, which continued in force for the next 100 years. While this case established the legality of a labor union, union activities (such as strikes) were not necessarily legal. This was much like making it legal to own a gun, but not legal to shot someone.

communication – The process by which ideas, thoughts, and subsequent feedback is accomplished through encoding, sending, and decoding. In order for effective communication to occur the sender must understand the target audience and encode the message in a way that will be understood. This message is sent in various forms and can be distorted by interference prior to reaching the receiver. Receiver then interprets the message and performs required action and gives necessary feedback to the sender. Utilizing this process correctly is an integral part of the promotion element in the marketing mix.

communism – In theory, an economy based on — (1) a classless society, where everyone does their best to contribute to the common good, (2) a common, rather than individual, ownership of all resources, (3) the complete disappearance of government, and (4) income allocated based entirely on need rather than on resource ownership or contribution to production (that is, a needs standard, compare contributive standard).

company – An organization, usually consisting of more than one person, that combines resources for the production and supply of goods and services. The term company is generally used synonymously with other terms such as business, firm, and enterprise. If a distinction exists, company is used in reference to a group of people engaged in production (as opposed to a single person).

company town – A small town closely associated with the production activity by a single firm. The firm is typically the only employer in the town and most of the goods and services sold throughout the town are provided by this firm. Company towns were quite prevalent in the late 1800s and early 1900s during the U.S. industrial revolution, often affiliated with a large mining, lumber, or manufacturing facility that was isolated from major urban areas. The company literally built a town around this facility to provide support services for their employees. The downside, however, was the lack of competition for both the employment of labor (monopsony) and the provision of consumer goods (monopoly). In some cases, the controlling firm exploited its market control creating circumstances not but different from slavery. Such company towns were a key motivation from the formation of labor unions.

comparable worth – The notion that different jobs requiring comparable, but not identical, skills should be paid the same wage. The logic behind comparable worth is that centuries (perhaps even millennia) of discrimination against women by men have relegated women to second-class, poorly paid jobs with little or no chance for advancement. Men, in contrast, with the same education, skills, and abilities are able to get the better, higher paying jobs. Comparable worth would be a program in which different jobs are evaluated and scored, based on the skills, responsibilities, and education needed. Jobs with the same scores would then be required to have the same pay.

comparative advantage – The ability to produced one good at a relatively lower opportunity cost than other goods. While pointy-headed economists developed this idea for nations, it’s extremely important for people. A comparative advantage means that no matter how good (or bad) you are at producing stuff, there’s always something that you’re best (or least worst) at doing. Moreover, because you can produce this one thing by giving up less than what others give up, you can sell it or trade it to them. This idea of comparative advantage means that people and nations can benefit by specialization and exchange. You do what you do best, then trade to someone else for what they do best. Both sides in this trade get more and are thus better off after than before.

comparative statics – The technique of comparing the equilibrium resulting from a change in a determinant with the equilibrium prior to the change. Comparative statics is the primary analytical technique used in the study of economics. A popular example of this technique is found in the study of markets. Comparative statics is used to analyze how the equilibrium price and equilibrium quantity are affected by changes in the demand and supply determinants, which are graphically represented by shifts of the respective demand or supply curves.

compensating wages – Different wages paid in different workers or in different markets that adjust for differences in the jobs or in the productivity of the workers. Wage differentials occur for many reasons. Quite often they are the result of the personal preferences of workers. In some cases workers are willing to “buy” leisure-time or other types of household production by taking lower labor market wages. Differences in job risks, education, and location are also reasons for the persistence of wage differentials.

compensation of employees – The official item in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis measuring wages earned by the household sector for supplying labor services. This is one of five official factor payments making up national income. The other four are net interest, rental income of persons, corporate profits, and proprietors’ income. Compensation of employees is far and away the largest of the five factor payments, typically running about 70% of national income.

competition – In general, the actions of two or more rivals in pursuit of the same objective. In the context of markets, the specific objective is either selling goods to buyers or alternatively buying goods from sellers. Competition tends to come in two varieties — competition among the few, which is market with a small number of sellers (or buyers), such that each seller (or buyer) has some degree of market control, and competition among the many, which is a market with so many buyers and sellers that none is able to influence the market price or quantity exchanged.

competition along a line – A basic analysis of location theory that demonstrates how and why competing firms tend to locate next to each other. This analysis indicates that as firms attempt to attract customers from each other, they edge increasingly closer. In particular, while an efficient situation (indicated by minimum transportation cost) is obtained by a more disperse location of firms, competition brings them together and creates inefficiency (by increasing transportation cost)

competition among the few – A market with a small number of sellers (or buyers), such that each seller (or buyer) has some degree of market control. Many think of this type of competition when the term competition arises (the other type is competition among the many). This sort of competition leads to intense rivalry where each participant achieves their objective only by beating the others. I call this track-meet competition. In a track race among a handful of competitors, like a 100 meter sprint, the winner is the fastest of THIS GROUP.

competition among the many – A market with so many buyers and sellers that none is able to influence the market price or quantity exchanged. This type of competition is the one most favored by economists (the other type is competition among the few). Compared to a three-person sprint, this is like a 10,000-entry road race. To win this race, I can’t count on the other 9,999 coming up injured. To win, I may have to be the best I’ve ever been. I just might have to set a world record. This is the type of competition that brings out the best, most efficient use of resources.

competitive forces – Forces in the marketing environment that are based on competition among customers and competition with other firms. As the organization looks out at its business environment, competition is a critical factor. Who is buying goods and services and who is providing them to those customers? Are there many competitors or are there just a few? Maybe none. Knowing what competitive forces exist helps an organization develop strategic planning to attract customers.

competitive market – A market with a large number of buyers and a large number of sellers, such that no single buyer or seller is able to influence the price or any other aspect of the market — no one has any market control. A competitive market achieves efficiency in the use of our scarce resources if there are no market failures present.

complement – Two goods that “go together,” either in consumption or production. In terms of demand, a complement-in-consumption is one of two goods that are consumed together such that an increase in the price of one good leads to a decrease in demand and a leftward shift in the demand curve for the other good. If the demand of good 1 decreases as the price of good 2 increases, the goods are complements-in-consumption. In terms of supply, a complement-in-production is one of two goods that are produced jointly using the same resources, such that an increase in the price of one good leads to an increase in supply and a rightward shift in the supply curve for the other good. If the supply of good 1 increases as the price of good 2 increases, the goods are complements-in-production.

complement-in-consumption – One of two goods that are consumed together to provide satisfaction — that is, the goods are used jointly to satisfy wants and needs. A complement good is one of two alternatives falling within the other prices determinant of demand. The other is a substitute good. An increase in the price of one complement good causes a decrease in demand for the other. A complement good has a negative cross price elasticity. When the terms complements or complement goods are used, they typically means complement-in-consumption (compare this with complement-in-production). Examples of complement goods are golf clubs and golf balls; hamburgers and french fries; and cars and gasoline. In each case, the two goods “go together.” People seldom use or consume one without the other.

complement-in-production – One of two goods that are produced jointly using the same resource — that is, the production of one good automatically triggers the production of the other. The terms “joint products” or “by-products” are two terms commonly used for complements-in-production. A complement-in-production is one of two alternatives falling within the other prices determinant of supply. The other is a substitute-in-production. An increase in the price of one complement-in-production causes a increase in supply of the other. Complements-in-production are goods produced jointly from the same resource or input. This typically happens when the resource in question has parts that can be separated into different products. One example is the production of two goods — beef and leather — from one resource — cattle. Another complement in production example is lumber and sawdust, both produced from a single tree.

complex expenditure multiplier – The ratio of the change in aggregate output (or gross domestic product) to an autonomous change in an aggregate expenditure (consumption expenditures, investment expenditures, government purchases, or net exports) when all induced components are included in Keynesian analysis. This is the most comprehensive expenditure multiplier possible and includes not only the marginal propensity to consume/save, but also the marginal propensities for government purchases, investment, imports, and taxes. This should be compared with the simple expenditure multiplier that includes only induced consumption

compound interest – Interest that’s added to a principal at regular intervals such that each subsequent interest calculation is based on the original principal and the added interest. For example, suppose you have a $100 savings account that pays 5 percent interest. Without compound interest, such that your 5 percent interest is paid only at the end of a year, you will have exactly $105 in one year. However, if your interest is compounded each month you end up with $105.12 after a year. The extra 12 cents comes from interest on the interest paid the first month, interest on the interest paid the second month, interest on the interest paid the third month… well I could go on.

Comptroller of the Currency – An agency of the U.S. Federal government responsible for chartering national banks. In other words, if you want to establish a bank with the word “national” in the title, then you must gain permission from the Comptroller of the Currency. The Comptroller is also responsible for regulating banks and might even assume control of a bank that is in serious trouble (that is, on the verge of going out of business). Although the term “currency” appears in the title, the Comptroller of the Currency is primarily a bank regulator and has almost nothing to do with the nation’s “currency.

concave – A curve that is ‘bowed-in’ toward the origin, like entering a cave. Technically speaking, the slope of a concave curve decreases from left to right as the X-axis variable increases.

concentrated – A targeting strategy based on a heterogeneous market. Because the market is comprised of buyers with different needs and wants, the company uses market segmentation to divide the total market into smaller groups. Each smaller group or market segment is then targeted by the company with a specific marketing mix.

concentration ratio – The proportion of total output in an industry that’s produced by a given number of the largest firms in the industry. The two most common concentration ratios are for the four largest firms and the eight largest firms. The four-firm concentration ratio, as such, is the proportion of total output produced by the four largest firms in the industry and the eight-firm concentration ratio is proportion of total output produced by the eight largest firms in the industry.

conciliation – Intervention by an impartial third party to settle disputes between two others, which is also commonly termed mediation. The actions of this third party — the mediator — are not legally binding. Mediators are frequently used in collective bargaining negotiations when unions and their employers have reached an impasse. Mediators help both sides work out a satisfactory agreement. But neither side is legally compelled to follow the mediator’s advice.

The Conference Board – A private, non-profit, global organization established in 1916 that collects and distributes economic data to assist consumers, business leaders, and government policy makers in their economic decisions. The Conference Board is responsible for compiling the leading, coincident, and lagging economic indicators that are used to track business-cycle activity as well as the widely publicized Consumer Confidence Index. The Conference Board also convenes numerous conferences each year that provide forums to discuss and analyze pressing economic issues.

confidence index – A measure of consumers’ confidence in the economy. The two most noted measures of consumer confidence are put out by the University of Michigan and the Conference Board. Each is based on a survey that asks consumers an assortment of questions about their confidence in the economy. The questions are something like — Are you better of now than a year ago? Do you plan to buy a new car? Do you think the economy is in good shape? The respondents can answer these questions in one of five ways — strongly disagreeing, disagreeing, neutral, agreeing, strongly agreeing. The fraction of total respondents who agree or strongly agree on selected questions are then compiled into the confidence index.

conglomerate merger – The consolidation under a single ownership of two separately-owned businesses, in totally, completely separate industries. An example of a conglomerate merger would be an athletic shoe company merging with a soft drink company. A conglomerate merger should be contrasted with horizontal merger — two competing firms in the same industry that sell the same products; and vertical merger — two firms in different stages of the production of one good, such that the output of one business is the input of the other.

Congress of Industrial Organizations – Originally a collection of industrial unions established due to a rift among AFL members in 1938, this is now one half of the umbrella organization for labor unions in the United States (the CIO part of AFL-CIO). Industrial unions included in the CIO, were originally part of the AFL. However, because the AFL primarily represented skilled workers in craft unions, a rift among AFL members developed in 1938, resulting in the creation of the CIO. This rift was closed in 1955, when both joined together to form the AFL-CIO, which is the primary advocate for workers and labor unions in the United States.

Congressional Budget Office – A Congressional agency that provides Congress with information needed for various economic and budget decisions. Established in 1974, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is responsible for providing Congress with objective, timely, nonpartisan analyses used for economic and budget decisions. A key task is to generate information and estimates required for the Congressional budget process. The Presidential counterpart of the CBO is the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). And unlike the OMB, every attempt is made to ensure that the CBO is nonpartisan and objective. It does not recommend policies, but only presents alternatives.

conservative – A political view that favors — (1) limited government, (2) extensive reliance on markets, (3) strong national defense, (4) protection and promotion of existing cultural ideals and beliefs, and (5) economic rewards predominately based on productive efforts. Conservatives tend to come from the ranks of the second estate (or second-estate wannabes), with extensive ownership of and control over resources. As such, they support policies and first estate leaders that protect their interests. Conservatives tend to be strong advocates of free enterprise and find philosophical agreement with neoclassical economics, new classical economics, rational expectations, and monetarism theories that call for limited government intervention in the economy.

constant GDP – The total market value, measured in constant prices, of all goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually one year. The key is that constant gross domestic product is measured in constant prices, the prices for a specific base year. Constant gross domestic product, also termed real gross domestic product, adjusts gross domestic product for inflation.

constant gross domestic product – The total market value, measured in constant prices, of all goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually one year. The key is that constant gross domestic product is measured in constant prices, the prices for a specific base year. Constant gross domestic product, also termed real gross domestic product, adjusts gross domestic product for inflation.

constant returns to scale – A given proportionate increase in all resources in the long run results in the same proportionate increase in production. Constant returns to scale exists if a firm increases ALL resources — labor, capital, and everything else — by 10%, and output also increases by 10%. You might want to compare increasing returns to scale and decreasing returns to scale. Returns to scale are the flip side of economies of scale and diseconomies of scale. Although economies and diseconomies of scale focus on changes in average cost, returns to scale focus on production.

constant-cost industry – A perfectly competitive industry with a flat, or perfectly elastic long-run industry supply curve that results because expansion of the industry has no affect on production cost or resource prices. For a constant-cost industry the entry of new firms, prompted by an increase in demand, has no affect on the long-run average cost curve of each firm nor its minimum efficient scale of production.

constrained utility maximization – The process or goal of obtaining the highest possible level of utility, under given restrictions, when the highest overall level of utility cannot be reached. You might want to check out the utility maximization entry. While the generic notion of utility maximization as the unrestricted pursuit of utility is important to the study of economics and consumer demand theory, it’s probably less important to every day decisions than the notion of constrained utility maximization. We seldom achieve the maximize utility outright, but must do the best we can under assorted constraints and restrictions. See budget constraint.

consumer – A broad term for people when they are engaged in the use of goods and services to satisfy wants and needs. Consumers are part of the household sector.

Consumer Advisory Council – A support committee of the Federal Reserve System that provides advice and input to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors on matters dealing with consumer credit. The Federal Advisory Council (FAC) is comprised of 30 members, representing a broad spectrum of consumer related interests. The CAC is one of three Federal Reserve Board advisory committees. The other two are Federal Advisory Council and Thrift Institutions Advisory Council.;monetary economics;monetary policy;central banking;Federal Reserve pyramid;Federal Reserve System;Chairman of the Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System;Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System;Federal Reserve Banks;Federal Open Market Committee;Federal Advisory Council;Thrift Institutions Advisory Council;open market operations;discount rate;reserve requirements;fractional-reserve banking;banks;money;bank reserves;bank panic;business cycles;check clearing;money creation;macroeconomics

consumer behavior – Actions (that is, behavior) undertaken by people (that is, consumers) that involve the satisfaction of wants and needs. Such actions often, but not always, involve the acquisition (that is, purchase) of goods and services through markets. The study of consumer behavior is fundamental to the understanding of the demand-side of the market. From a marketing perspective, the patterns, actions or steps in the process of decision making by consumers. The decision making process is influenced by various attitudes, motives, and social influences on the purchaser. Buyers tend to behave in certain ways including habits, brand loyalty, and post purchase behavior.

consumer confidence – In general, this is the notion of how much confidence that consumers (the public) have in the present and future performance of the economy. Consumer confidence is a key determinant of the aggregate demand curve and the source of business-cycle instability. A sudden drop in consumer confidence can trigger a contraction, while overly optimistic consumers can keep an economy expanding, even though it shouldn’t. Consumer confidence is generally measured by periodic surveys which ask consumers about their degree of confidence in the economy.

Consumer Confidence Index – A measure of consumer attitudes, preferences, and expectations concerning the state of the economy and business cycle conditions that is compiled each month by The Conference Board. The Conference Board is also responsible for compiling the leading, coincident, and lagging economic indicators. The Consumer Confidence Index is one of two primary measures of consumer attitudes. The other is the Index of Consumer Sentiment developed by the University of Michigan.

aggregate demand determinant consumer confidence – One of several specific aggregate demand determinants assumed constant when the aggregate demand curve is constructed, and which shifts the aggregate demand curve when it changes. An increase in consumer confidence causes an increase (rightward shift) of the aggregate demand curve. A decrease in consumer confidence causes a decrease (leftward shift) of the aggregate demand curve. Other notable aggregate demand determinants include interest rates, federal deficit, inflationary expectations, and the money supply.;aggregate demand determinants;interest rates, aggregate demand determinant;federal deficit, aggregate demand determinant;inflationary expectations, aggregate demand determinant;money supply, aggregate demand determinant;exchange rates, aggregate demand determinant;physical wealth, aggregate demand determinant;financial wealth, aggregate demand determinant;change in aggregate demand;change in aggregate expenditures;aggregate demand shifts;slope, aggregate demand curve;aggregate supply determinants;aggregate demand;aggregate expenditures;aggregate demand and market demand;determinants;gross domestic product;consumption expenditures;investment expenditures;government purchases;net exports;price level;real production;GDP price deflator;real gross domestic product

aggregate expenditures determinant consumer confidence – One of several specific aggregate expenditures determinants assumed constant when the aggregate expenditures line is constructed, and that shifts the aggregate expenditures line when it changes. An increase in consumer confidence causes an increase (upward shift) of the aggregate expenditures line. A decrease in consumer confidence causes a decrease (downward shift) of the aggregate expenditures line. Other notable aggregate expenditures determinants include interest rates, federal deficit, inflationary expectations, and exchange rates.;aggregate expenditures determinants;interest rates, aggregate expenditures determinant;federal deficit, aggregate expenditures determinant;inflationary expectations, aggregate expenditures determinant;exchange rates, aggregate expenditures determinant;physical wealth, aggregate expenditures determinant;financial wealth, aggregate expenditures determinant;change in aggregate expenditures;change in aggregate demand;slope, aggregate expenditures line;intercept, aggregate expenditures line;aggregate expenditures;aggregate expenditures line;determinants;gross domestic product;consumption expenditures;investment expenditures;government purchases;net exports;Keynesian economics;effective demand;psychological law

consumer demand theory – The branch of economics devoted to the study of consumer behavior, especially as it applies to decisions related to purchasing goods and services through markets. Consumer demand theory is largely centered on the study and analysis of the utility generated from the satisfaction of wants and needs. The key principle of consumer demand theory is the law of diminishing marginal utility, which offers an explanation for the law of demand and the negative slope of the demand curve.

consumer equilibrium – The condition that exists when the last dollar spent on one good provides the same marginal utility as the last dollar spent on every other good. In consumer equilibrium, you allocate income between the purchase of different goods in such a way that you cannot increase your level of utility, that is, you have achieved utility maximization. In indifference curve analysis, this occurs where the budget line is tangent to the highest reachable indifference curve. With this consumption bundle, the ratio of prices is equal to the ratio of marginal utilities. This means that the willingness of the consumer to trade one good for the other is exactly the same as the ability to trade the two goods in the market.

Consumer Price Index – An index of prices of goods and services typically purchased by urban consumers. The Consumer Price Index, commonly known by its abbreviation, CPI, is compiled and published monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), using price data obtained from an elaborate survey of 25,000 retail outlets and quantity data generated by the Consumer Expenditures Survey. The CPI is unquestionably one of the most widely recognized macroeconomic price indexes, running second only to the Dow Jones averages in the price index popularity contest. It is used not only as an indicator of the price level and inflation, but also to convert nominal economic indicators to real terms and to adjust wage and income payments (such as Social Security) for inflation.

Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers – This is the official name and designation for the Consumer Price Index that’s commonly reported in the media. It is officially abbreviated CPI-U. Because it is THE standard, it usually goes by the shorted abbreviation CPI. The CPI-U was introduced in 1978 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to address some of the deficiencies in the existing consumer price index, which now has the designation of CPI-W. In particular, the newer CPI-U includes the prices of goods and services purchased by about 80% of the non-institutionalized population while the older CPI-W includes about only 32 percent (see ).

Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers – An index of prices of goods and services typically purchased by urban wage earners and clerical workers. This carries the official abbreviation CPI-W to distinguish it from it’s more famous sister index CPI-U, which is the standard Consumer Price Index for All Urban Workers, (commonly abbreviated simply as CPI). Like the standard CPI, the CPI-W is compiled and published monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), using price data obtained from an elaborate survey of 25,000 retail outlets and quantity data generated by the Consumer Expenditures Survey. The CPI-W is a continuation of the original CPI developed early in the 1900s to provide cost-of-living adjustment information to wage-earning workers.

Consumer Product Safety Commission – (CPSC) A regulatory agency formed by the Consumer Product Safety Act (1972) that is charged by Congress with — (1) protecting the public against unreasonable risk, (2) developing uniform safety standards for consumer products, (3) helping consumers evaluate the safety of products, and (4) promoting research that will improve product safety. The Act is designed to protect the public from risk of injury from products not covered by other Acts. Products not included are tobacco, automobiles, aircraft, boats, drugs, and food to name a few. It is run by a five-member commission that has the authority to remove unsafe products from the stores. This five members are appointed by the President and may contain no more than three members from any one political party. This is one of the regulatory forces in the marketing environment.

consumer sovereignty – The notion that consumers are “king” of the economy because they’re the ones who will ultimately determine what goods are produced and how our limited resources are used (that is, the three questions of allocation). Like most “notions” this one has a fair amount of validity, but also a notable exception. On the validity side, businesses can produce whatever goods that they please, but consumers won’t buy them if they don’t want them. If consumers don’t buy, then businesses close their doors and resources are diverted (ultimately) to the production of goods that consumers do want. On the exception side, consumers may not know what sorts of goods they actually want and may be easily swayed into buying something that the don’t want.

consumers – A broad term for people when they are engaged in the use of goods and services to satisfy wants and needs. Consumers are part of the household sector.

consumer surplus – The satisfaction that consumers obtain from a good over and above the price paid. This is the difference between the maximum demand price that you would be willing to pay and the price that you actually pay. For most consumers, under most circumstances, the demand price is greater than the price paid. Even competitive markets overflowing with efficiency generate an ample amount of consumer surplus.

consumption – The use of resources, goods, or services to satisfy wants and needs. At the microeconomic level, consumption is primarily analyzed in the context of utility, demand and their importance to market exchanges. At the macroeconomic level, consumption is most important as expenditures by the household sector on gross domestic product, one of four aggregate expenditures (the other three being investment, government purchases, and net exports).

consumption determinant – One of the ceteris paribus factors held constant when the consumption line (or propensity-to-consume line) used in Keynesian economics is constructed. Some of the more important consumption determinants are interest rate, consumer confidence, wealth, taxes, and expectations. A change in any of the consumption determinants result in a shift of the consumption line and a change in autonomous consumption. This is just the sort of thing that triggers the multiplier effect. Any consumption determinant triggering shift of the consumption line is matched by an equal by opposite shift of the saving line.

consumption expenditure – The common term for an expenditure by the household sector on gross domestic product. In general consumption expenditures include the wide assortment of goods and services purchased by the household sector that provide satisfaction of wants and needs. Consumption expenditures are divided into three categories — durable, nondurable, and services.

consumption expenditures – The common term for expenditures by the household sector on gross domestic product. In general consumption expenditures include the wide assortment of goods and services purchased by the household sector that provide satisfaction of wants and needs. Consumption expenditures are divided into three categories — durable, nondurable, and services.

consumption function – The positive relation between household consumption expenditures and household disposable income that forms one of the key building blocks for Keynesian economics. The consumption function is commonly presented as the consumption line or propensity-to-consume line. The slope of this line is the marginal propensity to consume, which is the proportion of any additional income used for consumption. The consumption function and the marginal propensity to consume play key roles in the multiplier and accelerator concepts. Because saving is the difference between disposable income and consumption, the saving function is a complementary relation to the consumption function.

consumption good – A that provides more or less immediate satisfaction of wants and needs. Consumption goods should be contrasted with capital goods. Investment is the fundamental process of producing fewer consumption goods and more capital goods.

consumption line – A graphical depiction of the relation between household consumption expenditures and household disposable income that forms one of the key building blocks for Keynesian economics. The slope of this line is positive, greater than zero, less than one, and goes by the name marginal propensity to consume. The vertical intercept of the consumption line is autonomous consumption. The aggregate expenditures line used in the Keynesian cross is obtained by adding investment, government purchases, and net exports to the consumption line. Because saving is the difference between disposable income and consumption, the saving line is a complementary relation to the consumption line.

consumption schedule – A table that illustrates the level of consumption that corresponds with each level of income. The consumption schedule captures the basic consumption-income relation underlying Keynesian economics and can be used to derive the consumption line.

consumption tax – A tax on consumer’s spending for goods, services and the other stuff they buy. One sort of consumption tax is the sales tax. Some politicians and balding, bespectacled economists argue that the current income tax system should be replaced with a consumption tax. This means any income that’s saved wouldn’t be taxed. The idea behind a consumption tax is to encourage saving, which is then used for investment, which then promotes economic growth. Such a tax would be easily implemented (you get a deduction for saving on the current income tax form), but it would tend to be a regressive tax hitting the poor harder than the wealthy.

consumption-income relation – The relation between household sector consumption expenditures and income. This relation captures the fundamental psychological law and is a cornerstone of Keynesian economics. It is generally represented by either the consumption schedule or the consumption line.

contestable markets – Markets that have few barriers such that firms can enter or exit quickly. If prices exceed costs, firms can easily enter. If prices drop below cost, firms can also exit quickly. Even though a market has few firms, if entry and exit are easy, then the market is contestable and can exhibit the characteristics of a competitive market. If there are a few firms in an industry in which entry or exit are difficult, the market is not contestable.

contraction – A phase of the business cycle characterized by a general period of declining economic activity. A contraction is one of two basic business cycle phases. The other is expansion. The transition from contraction to expansion is termed a trough and the transition from expansion to contraction is termed a peak. The popular term for contraction, one that frequent shows up in the media, is recession. Should you check out the entry recession, you will see information that is essentially identical to that presented here, because they are two terms for the same phenomenon.

contractionary fiscal policy – A form of stabilization policy consisting of a decrease in government spending and/or an increase in taxes. This policy is designed to avoid or correct the problems associated with a business-cycle expansion that gets out of hand and causes inflation.

contractionary gap – The difference between the equilibrium real production achieved in the short-run aggregate market and full-employment real production the occurs when short-run equilibrium real production is less than full-employment real production. A contractionary gap, also termed a recessionary gap, is associated with a business-cycle contraction. This is one of two alternative output gaps that can occur when short-run production differs from full employment. The other is an expansionary gap.

contractionary monetary policy – A form of stabilization policy consisting of a decrease in the amount of money in circulation (that is, the money supply). This policy is designed to avoid or correct the problems associated with a business-cycle expansion that gets out of hand and causes inflation.

contractionary policy – A stabilization policy consisting of a decrease in government spending and/or an increase in taxes (fiscal policy) and/or a decrease in the amount of money in circulation (monetary policy). This policy is designed to avoid or correct the problems associated with a business-cycle expansion.

contributive standard – One of three basic income distribution standards (the other two are equality standard and needs standard). The contributive standard distributes income based on a person’s contribution to production. This standard answers the For Whom? question of allocation primarily through the use of prices and markets. The resources used to produce goods that more highly valued society (meaning they better satisfy unlimited wants and needs) command higher prices and thus generate more income to their owners. An actor, for example, who can attract millions of adoring. $7-a-ticket fans to one performance of an action-packed, blockbuster movie produces a good that is more highly valued by society than a philosophy professor who spends all semester teaching a handful of reluctant, $100-a-credit-hour students the finer details of existentialism.

convex – A curve that is ‘bowed-out’ away the origin, like the side of an upside down mixing bowl. Technically speaking, the slope of a convex curve increases from left to right as the X-axis variable increases.

core inflation rate – The underlying inflation rate of the economy after volatile energy and food prices are removed. This core inflation rate is a good measure of the inflation rate consumers, business, and others expect over the next few years.

corporate bond – A bond issued by a corporation to raise the funds used for capital investment. A corporate bond usually has a maturity date of 5 years or more, with 30 years common. Most corporate bonds are negotiable and traded through financial markets after issued.

corporate income tax – A tax on the accounting profits of corporations. This tax is only levied on corporations, and excludes businesses that are proprietorships or partnerships. This tax is often criticized (usually by members of the second estate because corporate dividends are taxed twice — once as corporate profits, then a second time as income with the personal income tax.

corporate profits – The total accounting profits received by corporations. Corporate profits are the official item in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis that measures profit earned by the household sector for supplying entrepreneurship services to corporations. This also, to some degree, measures the payment for capital and land services, too. This is one of five official factor payments making up national income. The other four are compensation of employees, rental income of persons, net interest, and proprietors’ income. Corporate profits the second largest factor payment category, usually coming it around 20-25% of national income.

corporate profits distribution – Corporate profits are the excess revenue received by corporations over their accounting costs of production. Total corporate profits are distributed in three basic ways. One portion is used to pay corporate profits taxes. A second is undistributed corporate profits retained by corporations to finance capital investment. And a third is then paid out as dividends to shareholders, or corporate owners.

corporate profits tax – A tax on the accounting profits of corporations. This tax is only levied on corporations, and excludes businesses that are proprietorships or partnerships. This tax is often criticized (usually by members of the second estate because corporate dividends are taxed twice — once as corporate profits, then a second time as income with the personal income tax.

corporate stock – The ownership shares in a corporation that have legal claim to the corporation’s assets. Stock is usually dividend into two types, common stock and preferred stock. Preferred stock has first claim to the corporations net assets, and common stock comes in second. However, if a corporation has no preferred stock, the common stock has exclusive claim. Most stocks are negotiable and are traded one on a stock market.

corporation – One of the three basic forms of business organization (the other two are proprietorship and partnership). A corporation is a business established through ownership shares (termed corporate stock). A corporation is considered a distinct legal person, that can be sued, forced to pay taxes, etc., just like a human person. Unlike proprietorships and partnerships businesses, a corporation business exists separately from its owners. As such, the owners have what lawyer-types term limited liability. Owners cannot be held personally responsible for corporate debts. The owners can only lose the value of their ownership shares, but no more.

correlated – When two (or more events) occur at about the same time. Correlation should not be confused with causation, in which one event causes the other event. Causation requires correlation, but correlation does not imply causation.

correlation – The near simultaneous occurrence of two (or more events), that is, two events happening at about the same time. Correlation should not be confused with causation, in which one event causes the other event. Causation requires correlation, but correlation does not imply causation.

cost – Best referred to as opportunity cost, this is the highest valued alternative foregone in the pursuit of an activity. This is a hallmark of anything dealing with economics — or life for that matter — because any action that you take prevents you from doing something else. The value expressed in terms of satisfaction of the foregone activity is your opportunity cost. Because there are usually several alternatives that aren’t pursued, opportunity cost is the highest-valued one. An opportunity cost is sometimes compensated with some form of payment, like a wage. However, the existence of an opportunity cost is independent of any actual cash outlay.

cost minimization – The process or goal of incurring the least possible opportunity cost in the pursuit of a given activity. Cost minimization is comparable to other objectives, including utility maximization and profit maximization. This goal, however, is generally used when circumstances constrain a decision. For example, a government agency has been assigned the task of building a bridge. It must now do so at the lowest cost possible.

cost of living – The amount of income or money needed to acquire a given quantity of goods and services or to achieve a given living standard. This cost of living notion is closely intertwined with inflation, the economy’s price level, and the concept of purchasing power. The cost of living is typically indicated by a price index such as the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI, for example, measures the changing cost of a specific market basket of goods. An increase in the CPI indicates that the cost of this market basket has increased, and presumably so too has the cost of living. In fact, labor union wages, benefits paid to Social Security recipients, and similar income sources are regularly adjusted for changes in the cost of living using the CPI.

cost-push inflation – Inflation of the economy’s average price level induced by decreases in aggregate supply that result from increases in production cost. This type of inflation occurs when the cost of using any of the four factors of production (labor, capital, land, or entrepreneurship) increases. In general, higher production cost means the economy simply can’t continue to supply the same production at the same price level. If buyers want the production, they must pay higher prices. The higher cost “pushes” the price level higher. You might want to compare cost-push inflation with demand-pull inflation.

Council of Economic Advisors – A three-member board that advises the President of the United States on economic policy and helps prepare an annual economic report. These three men are economists (they’re usually, but not always men and usually, but not always, economists) who keep the President up to date on current economic statistics and do most of the dirty work in terms of formulating the details of economic policies. The Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors has one of the two most important non-elected voices on economic policy in the nation, with the other being the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

coupon rate – The annual rate of return on a legal claim or financial asset (usually a bond) stated as a percent of par value. If, for example, a $100,000 corporate bond has a fixed payment of $5000 a year, then the coupon rate is 5%. The coupon rate is not necessarily, and generally is not, the same as the current yield or yield to maturity of a financial asset.

CPI – The common abbreviation for the Consumer Price Index, which is an index of prices of goods and services typically purchased by urban consumers. The CPI is compiled and published monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), using price data obtained from an elaborate survey of 25,000 retail outlets and quantity data generated by the Consumer Expenditures Survey. The CPI is unquestionably one of the most widely recognized macroeconomic price indexes, running second only to the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the price index popularity contest. It is used not only as an indicator of the price level and inflation, but also to convert nominal economic indicators to real terms and to adjust wage and income payments (such as Social Security) for inflation.

CPI and GDP price deflator – The Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the GDP price deflator represent two alternative measures of the economy’s price level and the inflation rate. The CPI is reported more often (monthly versus quarterly), but the GDP price deflator is a broader measure of the price level (all final production versus urban consumption). While the CPI is better known, economists tend to prefer the accuracy of the GDP price deflator.;Consumer Price Index;GDP price deflator;Producer Price Index;Wholesale Price Index;Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers;Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers;CPI and GDP price deflator;inflation;price level;price index;gross domestic product;real gross domestic product;nominal gross domestic product;cost of living;business cycles;business cycle indicators;macroeconomics;macroeconomic goals;macroeconomic problems

CPI-U – The abbreviation for the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, which is the official name and designation for the Consumer Price Index that’s commonly reported in the media. Because it is THE standard, it usually goes by the shorted abbreviation CPI. You might want to compare the CPI-U with the CPI-W, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.The CPI-U was introduced in 1978 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to address some of the deficiencies in the existing consumer price index, which now has the designation of CPI-W.

CPI-W – The abbreviation for the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, which is an index of prices of goods and services typically purchased by urban wage earners and clerical workers. This carries the official abbreviation CPI-W to distinguish it from it’s more famous sister index CPI-U, which is the standard Consumer Price Index for All Urban Workers, (commonly abbreviated simply as CPI). Like the standard CPI, the CPI-W is compiled and published monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), using price data obtained from an elaborate survey of 25,000 retail outlets and quantity data generated by the Consumer Expenditures Survey. The CPI-W is a continuation of the original CPI developed early in the 1900s to provide cost-of-living adjustment information to wage-earning workers.

CPSC – The abbreviation for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is a regulatory agency formed by the Consumer Product Safety Act (1972). The CPSC is charged by Congress with — (1) protecting the public against unreasonable risk, (2) developing uniform safety standards for consumer products, (3) helping consumers evaluate the safety of products, and (4) promoting research that will improve product safety. The Act is designed to protect the public from risk of injury from products not covered by other Acts. Products not included are tobacco, automobiles, aircraft, boats, drugs, and food to name a few. It is run by a five-member commission that has the authority to remove unsafe products from the stores. This five members are appointed by the President and may contain no more than three members from any one political party. This is one of the regulatory forces in the marketing environment.

craft union – A labor union composed of workers in the same occupation, but not necessarily in the same industry, producing the same product, or employed by the same firm. Common examples of craft unions are for plumbers, carpenters, and musicians. Craft unions generally exert market control by limiting the number of suppliers. The American Federation of Labor (AFL) began as a collection of craft unions. This is also termed a trade union.

creative destruction – A notion put forth by Joseph Schumpeter that economic growth is the result of technological change and the innovations of new goods and services that emerge from the ashes of obsolete industries. This proposition indicates that economic progress is the result of fundamental changes in the structure of the economy and that capitalism is not a static, unchanging economic structure, but rather a dynamic, evolving system.

credit – The promise of future payment in exchange for money, goods, services, or anything else of value. Car loans, mortgages, credit cards, corporate bonds, commercial paper, and government securities are all forms of credit. In fact, credit is an extremely wide-spread and critical part of our economy. About one-third of the stuff consumers buy, and nine-tenths of business expenditures is on credit. Most business capital, and consumer car and home purchases would be impossible without credit. Moreover, given the time lapse between paying for inputs and selling output, few businesses could produce much without credit.

credit card – A piece of plastic (about 2 inches by 3 1/2 inches) that authorizes a user to make use of a pre-established loan (or line of credit) with a bank, store, or other business when conducting transactions (that is, buying stuff). Credit cards a simply a means of easily and quickly borrowing the funds needed to make a purchase. Some folks confuse credit cards with money, using the term “plastic money,” in that both are used to facilitate purchases. However, credit cards create a liability (the loan), while money is an asset. The only real plastic money is debit cards.

credit crunch – An economy-wide reduction in the ability of banks to make loans or otherwise issue credit. A credit crunch is usually caused by contractionary monetary policy of the Federal Reserve System.

credit union – A non-profit depository institution chartered by the National Credit Union Administration that was established to provide members of specific group, such as employees of a company, with low-cost banking services. However, credit unions have expanded their activities and now provide most of the services of traditional banks, including checkable deposits.

creditor nation – A nation that owes less to foreign governments, businesses, and consumers than foreigners owe to domestic governments, businesses, and consumers. The United States, was a creditor nation for many decades, being one of the chief sources of lending to other nations in the world. It has now achieved the status of debtor nation.

cross elasticity of demand – The relative response of a change in demand to a relative change in the price of another good. More specifically the cross elasticity of demand can be defined as the percentage change in demand for one good due to a percentage change in the price of another good. The cross elasticity of demand quantitatively identifies the theoretical relationship between other prices and demand discussed by the other prices. This elasticity should be compared with price elasticity of demand and income elasticity of demand. You might want to check out elasticity for a little background.

cross-price elasticity of demand – The relative response of a change in demand to a relative change in the price of another good. More specifically the cross elasticity of demand can be defined as the percentage change in demand for one good due to a percentage change in the price of another good. The cross elasticity of demand quantitatively identifies the theoretical relationship between other prices and demand discussed by the other prices. This elasticity should be compared with price elasticity of demand and income elasticity of demand. You might want to check out elasticity for a little background.

crowding out – A decline in investment caused by expansionary fiscal policy. When government counteracts a recession with an increase in spending or a reduction in taxes (both resulting in an increase in the federal deficit) interest rates tend to increase. Higher interest rates then inhibit business investment in capital goods. Some pointy-headed economists argue that investment crowding out completely offsets any intended expansionary policy, but the jury’s still out on this one. To the extend that crowding out occurs, economic growth is reduced if (and this is an important if) government has not seen fit to offset the loss in business investment with public investment in infrastructure, education, or other growth promoting expenditures.

currency – Paper usually issued by the national government that are used as money. Metal coins are also frequently included under the generic heading of currency. Currency in the U.S. economy is issued by the Federal Reserve System (paper) and the U.S. Treasury (coins). This constitutes about 30 to 40 percent of the M1 money supply. Most modern currency is fiat money.

current account – One of two parts of a nation’s balance of payments (the other is capital account). It is a record of all trade, exports and imports, between a nation and the rest of the world. The current account is separated into merchandise, services, and what’s called unilateral transfers. The merchandise part is nothing other than the well-known balance of trade. There’s also a lesser known balance of services — the difference between services imported and exported.

current account deficit – An imbalance in a nation’s balance of payments current account in which payments received by the country for selling domestic exports are less than payments made by the country for purchasing imports. In other words, imports (of goods and services) by the domestic economy are greater than exports (of goods and services). This is generally a not desireable situation for a domestic economy. However, in the wacky world of international economics, a current account deficit is often balanced by a capital account surplus, which is generally considered a desireable situation. If, however, the capital account does not balance out the current account, then a current account deficit contributes to a balance of payments deficit.

current account surplus – An imbalance in a nation’s balance of payments current account in which payments received by the country for selling domestic exports are greater than payments made by the country for purchasing imports. In other words, imports (of goods and services) by the domestic economy are less than exports (of goods and services). This is generally a desireable situation for a domestic economy. However, in the wacky world of international economics, a current account surplus is often balanced by a capital account deficit, which is generally considered an undesireable situation. If, however, the capital account does not balance out the current account, then a current account surplus contributes to a balance of payments surplus.

current GDP – The total market value, measured in current prices, of all goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually one year. The key is that current gross domestic product is measured in current, or actual prices; the prices buyers actually pay for goods and services purchased. Current gross domestic product is also termed nominal gross domestic product.

current gross domestic product – The total market value, measured in current prices, of all goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually one year. The key is that current gross domestic product is measured in current, or actual prices; the prices buyers actually pay for goods and services purchased. Current gross domestic product is also termed nominal gross domestic product.

Current Population Survey – A monthly survey of 60,000 occupied households undertaken by the Bureau of the Census which is then used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to estimate the employment, unemployment, and labor force status of the entire population. The Current Population Survey (CPS) contains an extensive series of questions designed to identify the wide range of ways a person can be categorized as employed, unemployed, in the labor force, or not in the labor force. The CPS is THE source of data used to calculate the nation’s official unemployment rate, as well as other employment measures, such as the employment rate and labor force participation rate.

current production – The production of final goods and services taking place during a given time period. The emphasis here is on time period, especially the CURRENT time period. Gross domestic product is the macroeconomy’s prime measure of current production. Current production is best contrasted with transactions for past production and future production, both of which are excluded from gross domestic product.

current surplus of government enterprises – The excess, during a given period of time, of revenue over cost received by government-operated firms that sell their output through markets and otherwise operate like private, profit-oriented firms. This is one component of the official entry government subsidies less current surplus of government enterprises found in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis that separates national income (the resource cost of production) and gross/net domestic product (the market value of production).

current yield – The yield or return on a financial asset calculated as the annual rate of return on the purchase price. The current yield is not necessarily equal to the yield to maturity or the coupon rate. For example a $100,000 corporate bond with a 5% coupon rate that is purchased at a discount of $95,000 has a current yield of 5.26%.

curve – A line with a non-constant, or changing, slope. In technical circles, the word “line” is often used if the slope is constant and the word “curve” is used to mean the slope is not constant. However, economics often uses the terms line and curve interchangeably, as in “demand line” or “demand curve.” Unless your course is taught be an economist with a really strong mathematical inclination, you too can safely use both terms interchangeably.

customs union – An agreement among two or more nations to eliminate trade restrictions with each other and to adopt a common trade policy with other nations. There is, however, no effort to allow free movement of resources among the countries nor to adopt common monetary or fiscal policies. This is considered the second of four levels of integration among nations. See common market, economic union, free-trade area for the other three levels.

cyclical unemployment – Unemployment attributable to a general decline in macroeconomic activity, especially expenditures on gross domestic product, that occurs during a business-cycle contraction. When the economy dips into a contraction, or recession, aggregate demand declines, so less output is produced and fewer workers and other resources are employed. Hence unemployment of the cyclical variety increases. Cyclical unemployment is one of four unemployment sources. The other three are seasonal unemployment, frictional unemployment, and structural unemployment.

data – Real world observations that are used to test or verify hypotheses. This is the key to the process of acquiring knowledge about the world using the scientific method. While theoretical speculation might indicate what we “think” the world is like, we don’t know for sure until we compare our hypothesized view with the real world itself. Data is what adds empirical to empirical economic analysis.

deadweight loss – A net loss in social welfare that results because the benefit generated by an action differs from the foregone opportunity cost. This is usually the combination of lost consumer surplus and lost producer surplus, and indicates of the inefficiency of a situation. Deadweight loss is commonly illustrated by a market diagram if the quantity of output produced results in a demand price that exceeds the supply price. The triangle formed by the demand curve above, supply curve below, and quantity to the left is the area of deadweight loss. If demand price equals supply price, this triangle disappears and so too does the deadweight loss. Deadweight loss can result from government actions (taxes, price controls) or from market failures (externalities, market control)

death rate – The number of people dying per 1,000 population. The death rate is compared with the birth rate to indicate the natural population growth of a country. (Net migration is also needed in the calculation of the final, overall, actual growth of population.) The death rate most frequently comes up in economic development discussions of less developed countries and their progress (or lack thereof) through the demographic transition.

debit card – An increasing popular means of accessing the funds in a bank checking account. While debit cards look (and taste) almost exactly like credit cards, they are fundamentally different in how they are processed on a bank’s end of the transaction. A credit card works through a liability (a loan with the bank). A debit card works through an asset (a checkable deposit with the bank). As such, debit cards are better suited for the title “plastic money” than credit cards.

debtor nation – A nation that owes more to foreign governments, businesses, and consumers than foreigners owe to domestic governments, businesses, and consumers. The United States, having been a creditor nation for many decades, has now achieved the status of debtor nation. This sort of thing happens when exports are less than imports, creating a deficit in the current account of the balance of payments and thus a surplus in the capital account.

decision lag – The time lag that it takes government leaders and policy makers to determine the appropriate government action needed to address an economic problem. The decision lag arises because it takes time for policy makers to chose among the array of possible policy actions, each with assorted consequences that appeal differently to different political constituencies. This “inside lag” is one of four policy lags associated with monetary and fiscal policy. The other two “inside lags” are recognition lag and implementation lag, and one “outside lag” is implementation lag. All four policy lags can reduce the effectiveness of business-cycle stabilization policies and can even destabilize the economy.

decision making process – The five step decision making process the consumer uses to complete a purchasing decision. Step one is defining the problem. Step two is collecting data on possible choices. Step three is evaluating the alternatives. Step four is making a decision. Step five is post-purchase behavior, sometimes buyerÕs remorse.

decline stage – The final stage of the product life cycle, characterized by a drastic drop off in profits. A company needs to decide how long to continue to support a product during this stage. Advertising and promotion can help maintain sales for a period of time. Ultimately, the cost-benefit tradeoff forces the business to discontinue the manufacturing of a product in this stage. Sometimes this happens quite rapidly and in some cases the product continues in this stage for many years.

decreasing marginal returns – In the short-run production of a firm, an increase in the variable input results in a decrease in the marginal product of the variable input. Decreasing marginal returns typically surface after the first few quantities of a variable input are added to a fixed input. Compare this with increasing marginal returns. You should also compare this with diseconomies of scale associated with long-run production.

decreasing returns to scale – A given proportionate increase in all resources in the long run results in a proportionately smaller increase in production. Decreasing returns to scale exists if a firm increases ALL resources — labor, capital, and other inputs — by 10%, and output increases by less than 10%. You might want to compare increasing returns to scale and constant returns to scale.

decreasing-cost industry – A perfectly competitive industry with a negatively-sloped long-run industry supply curve that results because expansion of the industry causes lower production cost and resource prices. For a decreasing-cost industry the entry of new firms, prompted by an increase in demand, causes the long-run average supply curve of each firm to shift downward, which decreases the minimum efficient scale of production.

default risk – The probability that a borrowing agent will not pay in full the agreed interest and/or principal. A default risk can be assigned to any bond or loan agreement. Of course, there are some instruments considered default-risk-free, that is, instruments for which the probability that a borrowing agent will not pay is zero. The most noted examples are the U.S. Treasury securities, which have virtually no default risk because the U.S. government guarantees that all the principal and interest will be repaid. When calculating the risk premium on financial instruments, investors use default-risk-free instruments for comparison.

deflation – An extended decline in the average level of prices. This is the exact opposite of inflation–in which prices are rising over an extended period, and it should be contrasted with disinflation–which is a decline in the inflation rate. Like inflation, deflation occurs when the AVERAGE price level decreases over time. While some prices might decrease, other prices could increase or remain unchanged, so long as the AVERAGE follows a downward trend. Deflation is a rare bird indeed in our economy and typically happens only when we’re in a prolonged period of stagnation. We might see some deflation during a fairly lengthy recession, but more than likely deflation saves itself for the occasional depression that dots our economic landscape.

demand – The willingness and ability to buy a range of quantities of a good at a range of prices, during a given time period. Demand is one half of the market exchange process; the other is supply. This demand side of the market draws inspiration from the unlimited wants and needs dimension of the scarcity problem. People desire the goods and services that satisfy our wants and needs. This is the ultimate source of demand.

demand and supply decrease – A simultaneous decrease in the willingness and ability of buyers to purchase a good at the existing price, illustrated by a leftward shift of the demand curve, and a decrease in the willingness and ability of sellers to sell a good at the existing price, illustrated by a leftward shift of the supply curve. When combined, both shifts result in a decrease in equilibrium quantity and an indeterminant change in equilibrium price.

demand and supply increase – A simultaneous increase in the willingness and ability of buyers to purchase a good at the existing price, illustrated by a rightward shift of the demand curve, and an increase in the willingness and ability of sellers to sell a good at the existing price, illustrated by a rightward shift of the supply curve. When combined, both shifts result in an increase in equilibrium quantity and an indeterminant change in equilibrium price.

demand curve – A graphical representation of the relationship between the demand price and quantity demanded (that is, the law of demand), holding all ceteris paribus demand determinants constant.

demand decrease – A decrease in the willingness and ability of buyers to buy a good at the existing price, illustrated by a leftward shift of the demand curve. A decrease in demand results in a decrease in equilibrium quantity and a decrease in equilibrium price.

demand decrease and supply increase – A simultaneous decrease in the willingness and ability of buyers to purchase a good at the existing price, illustrated by a leftward shift of the demand curve, and an increase in the willingness and ability of sellers to sell a good at the existing price, illustrated by a rightward shift of the supply curve. When combined, both shifts result in an indeterminant change in equilibrium quantity and a decrease in equilibrium price.

demand deposit – A bank deposit that can be withdraw “on demand.” This is a once common, but increasingly dated term meaning checking account deposits, checkable deposits, or transactions deposits. To the extent that demand deposits is the term used to mean checkable deposits, they are an important part of the M1 money supply. The term “demand” was used to distinguish checkable deposits from savings deposits in which accessed could be delayed for a period of “time,” and not on “demand.” Hence the complementary term for savings deposits is time deposits.

demand determinant – One of five basic basic ceteris paribus factors that affect demand, but which are assumed constant when a demand curve is constructed. Changes in any one causes a shift of the demand curve. The five demand determinants are: income, preferences, other prices, buyers’ expectations, and number of buyers.

demand determinants – Five basic ceteris paribus factors that affect demand, but which are assumed constant when a demand curve is constructed. Changes in any one causes a shift of the demand curve. The five demand determinants are: income, preferences, other prices, buyers’ expectations, and number of buyers.

demand increase – An increase in the willingness and ability of buyers to buy a good at the existing price, illustrated by a rightward shift of the demand curve. An increase in demand results in an increase in equilibrium quantity and an increase in equilibrium price.

demand increase and supply decrease – A simultaneous increase in the willingness and ability of buyers to purchase a good at the existing price, illustrated by a rightward shift of the demand curve, and a decrease in the willingness and ability of sellers to sell a good at the existing price, illustrated by a leftward shift of the supply curve. When combined, both shifts result in an indeterminant change in equilibrium quantity and an increase in equilibrium price.

demand price – The maximum price that buyers would be willing and able to pay for a given quantity of a good. The emphasis here is on maximum. As a general rule buyers have an upper limit to the price that they would be willing to pay for a good. As an upper limit, they would gladly go lower.

demand schedule – A table that illustrates the alternative quantities of a commodity demanded at different prices.

demand shock – A disruption of market equilibrium (that is, a market adjustment) caused by a change in a demand determinant and a shift of the demand curve. A demand shock can take one of two forms–an Demand Increase or a Demand Decrease. An increase in demand is seen as a rightward shift of the demand curve and results in an increase in equilibrium quantity and an increase in equilibrium price. A decrease in demand is a leftward shift of the demand curve and results in a decrease in equilibrium quantity and a decrease in equilibrium price.

demand space – The area on or beneath a demand curve. Buyers are willing and able to purchase any demand price-quantity demanded combination that places them on or below the demand curve, but not above. The reason is that the demand curve represents the maximum demand price for a given quantity demanded or the maximum quantity demanded for a given demand price.

demand-driven business cycles – Business cycle instability caused by changes in one or more of the four aggregate demand expenditures on gross domestic product–consumption, investment, government purchases, and net exports. This is one of two basic types of business cycles; the other being supply-drive business cycle. Demand-driven business cycles tend to be the more common of the two types. In general, demand-driven business cycles are more responsible for short-term instability, while supply-driven business cycles tend to be more closely associated with long-run changes in the economy.

demand-management policies – Government policies designed to stabilize the economy by changing aggregate demand. The most noted demand-management policies are fiscal and monetary.

demand-pull inflation – Demand-pull inflation places responsibility for inflation squarely on the shoulders of increases in aggregate demand. This type of inflation results when the four macroeconomic sectors (household, business, government, and foreign) collectively try to purchase more output that the economy is capable of producing. In general, increasing aggregate demand means buyers want more production than the economy is able to provide. Then end result is that buyers bid up the price of existing production. The extra demand “pulls” the price level higher. You might want to compare demand-pull inflation with cost-push inflation.

demerit good – A good that society, usually government, deems is overvalued by consumers in normal market exchanges. As such, governments typically restrict the consumption of demerit goods through policies such as taxes or direct government control. Demerit goods are often have characteristics of quasi-public goods or externality by-products. Examples include tobacco and narcotic drugs. The counter type of good is a merit good.

demographic transition – A transition experienced by most, if not all, developed countries in which the birth rate and death rate both decline from relatively high levels to relatively low levels. However, because the death rate tends to decline first, often preceding the decline in the birth rate be several decades, the rate of population growth increases. In some cases the rate of population growth can be so high that it circumvents further develop and prevents or postpones the completion of the demographic transition.

demographic variables – Characteristics of the aggregate population that marketers use to segment the market, including age, ethnicity, income, education, gender, and race. Other characteristics include occupation, family size, religion, and social class. These characteristics are the link to buyers’ wants and needs and affect purchasing behavior. By carefully studying population groups marketers develop marketing mixes that maximize customer activity.

dependent variable – A variable that is identified within the workings of the model. Also termed an endogenous variable, a dependent variable is in essence the “output” of the model. It should be compared with an exogenous variable this is the “input” of the model.

deposit – A bank account maintained by a bank on behalf of a customer. In a fractional-reserve banking system, one of the primary functions of a bank is to keep customer deposits safe. Banks offer a wide range of deposits, including checkable (or transactions) deposits, savings deposits, certificates of deposit, and money market accounts. Such deposits represent a sizable portion of the M1 money supply and as well as broader monetary aggregates — M2 and M3. They also constitute the bulk of the liabilities of a typically bank.

deposit insurance – A program of guaranteeing, or insuring, customers’ deposits at a bank or similar institution. Since the 1930s bank deposits have been insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Other programs have insured deposits at credit unions and savings and loan associations. The FDIC works like this — If a bank is unable to pay back all or part of its customers’ deposits because it has done something like go out of business, then the FDIC steps in to make up the difference–up to a pretty hefty limit.

deposit multiplier – The magnified change in checkable deposits resulting from a change in bank reserves. The simple deposit multiplier is the inverse of the required-reserves ratio. If banks keep 10 percent of their deposits in reserves, then the deposit multiplier is the inverse of 10 percent, or 10.

deposits – Bank accounts maintained by banks on behalf of customers. In a fractional-reserve banking system, one of the primary functions of a bank is to keep customer deposits safe. Banks offer a wide range of deposits, including checkable (or transactions) deposits, savings deposits, certificates of deposit, and money market accounts. Such deposits represent a sizable portion of the M1 money supply and as well as broader monetary aggregates — M2 and M3. They also constitute the bulk of the liabilities of a typically bank.

depreciation – A more or less permanent decrease in value or price. “More or less permanent” doesn’t include temporary, short-term drops in price that are common in many markets. It’s only those price declines that reflect a reduction in consumer satisfaction. While all sorts of stuff can depreciate in value, some of the more common ones are capital, real estate, corporate stock, and money. The depreciation of capital results from the rigors of production and affects our economy’s ability to produce stuff. A sizable portion of our annual investment is thus needed to replace depreciated capital. The depreciation of a nation’s money is seen as an increase in the exchange rate. This process is described in detail in the entry on the J curve.

currency depreciation – The declining value of one currency, in terms of its ability to purchase goods and services. This is most often seen as a change in the exchange rate of the currency for the currencies of other nations.

depression – An extended period–a decade or so–of restructuring and institutional change in an economy that’s often marked by declining or stagnant growth. During this period, unemployment tends to be higher and inflation lower than a regular, run-of-the-mill recession. Moreover, a depression usually lasts in the range of ten years, often encompassing two or three separate shorter-run business cycles. The most noted depression in the U. S. economy was the Great Depression of the 1930s.

deregulation – The reduction of government regulation of business, consumers, and market activity. The most noted period of deregulation occured during the 1970s and 1980s in response to criticisms that economic regulation inhibited rather than promoted competition. Key industries deregulated during this period were transportation, communications, and banking industries. Social regulations were also relaxed.

aggregate expenditures line derivation – An aggregate expenditures line, a graphical depiction of the relation between aggregate expenditures and the level of aggregate income or production, can be derived by sequentially adding expenditures by the four macroeconomic sectors (household, business, government, and foreign). This derivation process begins with the consumption line, then adds investment, government purchases, and finally net exports. The process actually generates three alternative aggregate expenditures lines based on the number of sectors included (two sector, three sector, and four sector).

consumption line derivation – A consumption line, a graphical depiction of the relation between household sector consumption and income, can be derived from a simple consumption schedule, a table or chart showing the relation between household sector consumption and income. This is easily accomplished by plotting the consumption-income pairs from the schedule as points in a diagram that measures consumption on the vertical axis and income on the horizontal axis, then connection the points with a line. The consumption line can also be derived directly by plotting the consumption function using slope and intercept values.

production possibilities curve derivation – A production possibilities curve, which illustrates the alternative combinations of two goods that an economy can produce with given resources and technology, is often derived from a production possibilities schedule. This derivation involves plotting each bundle from the production possibilities schedule as a point in a diagram measuring the two goods on the vertical and horizontal axes.

saving line derivation – A saving line, a graphical depiction of the relation between household sector saving and income, can be derived from the consumption line. The saving line can also be derived by plotting the saving-income information from a saving schedule or using the slope and intercept values of the saving function. However, derivation from the consumption line emphasis the connection between consumption and income–that the household sector uses a portion of income for consumption and a portion for saving.

derived demand – The notion that the demand for a factor or production, an input used in the production of a good, depends on the demand for the output being produced. This concept highlights the two key aspects of factor demand. One is that factor demand depends on the value of the good being produced. Inputs that produce more valuable outputs are themselves more highly valued. Two is that factor demand depends on the productivity of the input. Inputs that produce more output are themselves more highly valued.

determinant – A ceteris paribus factor that is held constant when a curve is constructed. Changes in these factors then cause the curve to shift to a new location. The most common determinants are demand determinants for the demand curve (income, preferences, other prices, buyers’ expectations, and number of buyers) and supply determinants for the supply curve (resource prices, technology, other prices, buyers’ expectations, and number of buyers). Other common curves and their determinants include: production possibilities curve (technology, education and the quantities of labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship); aggregate demand curve (the four aggregate expenditures of consumption, investment, government purchases, and net exports); and short-run average cost curve (technology, wages, and other production cost).

determinants – Ceteris paribus factors that are held constant when a curve is constructed. Changes in these factors then cause the curve to shift to a new location. The most common determinants are demand determinants for the demand curve (income, preferences, other prices, buyers’ expectations, and number of buyers) and supply determinants for the supply curve (resource prices, technology, other prices, buyers’ expectations, and number of buyers). Other common curves and their determinants include: production possibilities curve (technology, education and the quantities of labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship); aggregate demand curve (the four aggregate expenditures of consumption, investment, government purchases, and net exports); and short-run average cost curve (technology, wages, and other production cost).

devaluation – The act of reducing the price (exchange rate) of one nation’s currency in terms of other currencies. This is usually done by a government to lower the price of the country’s exports and raise the price of foreign imports, which ultimately results in greater domestic production. The short- and long-run consequences of devaluation are described in the entry on the J curve. A government devalues its currency by actively selling it and buying foreign currencies through the foreign exchange market.

DI – The abbreviation for disposable income,which is the total income that can be used by the household sector for either consumption or saving during a given period of time, usually one year. This is the income left over after income taxes and social security taxes are removed and government transfer payments, like welfare, social security benefits, or unemployment compensation are added. Because consumption and saving are important to our economy for short-run stability and long-run growth, pointy-headed economists like to keep a close eye on disposable personal income. Disposable income is reported quarterly (every three months) in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

diamond-water paradox – The perplexing observation that water, which is more useful than diamonds, has a lower price. If price is related to utility, how can this occur? This paradox was first proposed by classical economists in the 19th century and was subsequently used as a stepping stone for developing the notion of marginal utility and the role it plays in the demand price of a good. The paradox is magically cleared up with an understanding of marginal utility and total utility. People are willing to pay a higher price for goods with greater marginal utility. As such, water which is plentiful has enormous total utility, but a low price because of a low marginal utility. Diamonds, however, have less total utility because they are less plentiful, but a high price because of a high marginal utility.

differentiated – A targeting strategy in which the company develops two or more marketing mixes to satisfy the needs of multiple segments of the market. Each mix focuses on a specific segment. Sometimes this happens after a firm has used a concentrated strategy in one market and then expands into a new market.

direct – The mathematical notion that two variables change in the same direction, that is, an increase in X goes with an increase in Y, or a decrease in X goes with a decrease in Y. The alternative to a direct relation is an inverse relation, in which an increase in one variable goes with a decrease in the other. Direct relations are graphically illustrated by positively-sloped curves, a common example being the supply curve.

discount – In financial terms, a bond or similar financial asset that sells below its face value. Discounting is done to equalized the interest rate attached to a bond with comparable interest rates in the economy. For example, a $100,000 bond that pays a fixed 10 percent interest on the face value (that is, $10,000 annually) would be discounted to $83,333 if comparable interest rates were above 12 percent. As such, the $10,000 annual interest payment works out to be 12 percent of a $83,333 price.

discount rate – The interest rate that the Federal Reserve System charges for loans to banks. To ensure that our nation’s banks retain their liquidity and remain in business, the Federal Reserve System stands ready to lend bank reserves on a moment’s notice to any bank. The discount rate is the interest rate the Federal Reserve System charges for these loans. Like any interest rate, when it goes up (or down) it discourages (or encourages) borrowing. In principle, the Fed can use the discount rate to control our nation’s money supply.

discount window – The means by which the central bank (the Federal Reserve in the United States) makes discount loans to banks. It is through the discount window that banks can obtain the reserves that the might meet their liquidity needs and satisfy reserve requirements. The criteria to manage the discount window are dictated by the discount policy, which includes setting the discount rate and the terms of discount lending. This policy is a way to influence money supply since it can change the volume of the discount loans throughout the banking system.

discouraged workers – People who are willing and able to engage in productive activities, but due to their overwhelming lack of success have stopped seeking employment. Discouraged workers believe that any effort to find a job will be fruitless. Discouraged workers fall within the broader category of marginally-attached workers, people who are willing and able to work, who have either held a job or searched for employment within the last year, but are not actively seeking employment. People are marginally attached to the labor force for a variety of reasons, discouraged workers achieve their designation because they believe search efforts would not be worthwhile.

discretionary – A specific choice, act, or decision, often designed to achieve a particular goal. The term is commonly used in economics in reference to government policies, such as discretionary fiscal policy or discretionary monetary policy. In both examples, government undertakes explicit actions through changes in government spending, taxes, the money supply, or interest rates to stabilize the business cycle. Discretionary is also frequently used to modify income, spending, expenditures, or comparable terms to capture choices made over the use of income. Discretionary income, for example, is the amount of after-tax household income that can be used for either consumption spending or saving.

discretionary fiscal policy – Explicit changes in government purchases and/or taxes (fiscal policy) that are made with the expressed goal of stabilizing business cycles, reducing unemployment, and/or lowering inflation. While most fiscal policy studied in economics is discretionary, the contrast is with automatic stabilizers, changes in taxes and transfer payments the help stabilize business cycles without explicit government actions. Discretionary monetary policy is a similar type of policy.

discretionary income – After-tax income over which a person (or the entire household sector) has more or less complete discretionary control, which can be then used for either consumption or saving. Discretionary income is most commonly measured at the macroeconomic level by disposable income.

discretionary monetary policy – Explicit changes in the money supply and/or interest rates (monetary policy) that are made with the expressed goal of stabilizing business cycles, reducing unemployment, and/or lowering inflation. Discretionary fiscal policy is a similar type of policy.

discretionary policy – Government policies that involve explicit actions designed to achieve specific goals. A common type of discretionary policy is that designed to stabilize business cycles, reduce unemployment, and lower inflation, through government spending and taxes (fiscal policy) or the money supply (monetary policy). Discretionary policies are also termed activist policies because they involve active decisions by government. A contrast to discretionary policy is automatic stabilizers that help stabilize business cycles without explicit government actions.

discrimination – Treating people differently based on some sort of group characteristic–like race, ethnic origin, or gender–rather then individual abilities. Discrimination is usually most prominent in employment and housing, but can filter into all aspects of life in many subtle ways. Discrimination tends to be inefficient because it limits the number of buyers or sellers that have access to a given market. Those who discriminate in this manner are, in essence, willing to pay extra for the privilege of associating only with “their own kind.”

diseconomies of scale – Increasing long-run average cost that occurs as a firm increases all inputs and expands its scale of production. This is graphically illustrated by a positively-sloped long-run average cost curve and typically occurs for relatively large levels of production. Diseconomies of scale overwhelm by economies of scale for relatively large production levels. Together, economies of scale and diseconomies of scale cause the long-run average cost curve to be U-shaped.

disequilibrium – The state that exists when opposing forces do not offset each other and there is an inherent tendency for change. Disequilibrium is most noted in market analysis in which the opposing forces are demand (the buyers) and supply (the sellers). The result is either a shortage, which entices the market price to rise, or a surplus, which entices the market price to fall.

disequilibrium price – Any price that fails to balance the market forces of forces of demand and supply and equate the quantity demanded and quantity supplied. In other words, any market price other than the equilibrium price. A disequilibrium price can be either too high (above the equilibrium price) or too low (below the equilibrium price). A price above the equilibrium price creates a surplus in which the quantity supplied is greater than the quantity demanded. A price below the equilibrium price creates a shortage in which the quantity demanded is greater than the quantity supplied.

aggregate market disequilibrium – The state of the aggregate market in which real aggregate expenditures are NOT equal to real production, which result in imbalances that induce changes in the price level, aggregate expenditures, and/or real production. In other words, the opposing forces of aggregate demand (the buyers) and aggregate supply (the sellers) are out of balance. Either the four macroeconomic sector (households, business, government, and foreign) buyers are unable to purchase all of the real production that they seek at the existing price level or business-sector producers are unable to sell all of the real production that they have available at the existing price level.

long-run aggregate market disequilibrium – The state of the long-run aggregate market in which real aggregate expenditures are NOT equal to full-employment real production, which result in imbalances that induce changes in the price level. In other words, the opposing forces of aggregate demand (the buyers) and long-run aggregate supply (the sellers) are out of balance. Either the four macroeconomic sector (households, business, government, and foreign) buyers are unable to purchase all of the real production that they seek at the existing price level or business-sector producers are unable to sell all of the full-employment real production that they have available at the existing price level.

market disequilibrium – A state of the market that exists when the opposing forces of demand and supply do not balance out and there is an inherent tendency for change. This should be directly (and immediately) contrasted with the entries on equilibrium and market equilibrium. For the market, disequilibrium is indicated by the existence of either a surplus or a shortage. The inherent tendency to change occurs because a surplus causes the price to decline and a shortage causes the price to rise. So long as market disequilibrium persists, the price will be induced to change.

short-run aggregate market disequilibrium – The state of the short-run aggregate market in which real aggregate expenditures are NOT equal to real production, which result in imbalances that induce changes in the price level, aggregate expenditures, and/or real production. In other words, the opposing forces of aggregate demand (the buyers) and short-run aggregate supply (the sellers) are out of balance. Either the four macroeconomic sector (households, business, government, and foreign) buyers are unable to purchase all of the real production that they seek at the existing price level or business-sector producers are unable to sell all of the real production that they have available at the existing price level.

disinflation – A decline in the inflation rate. With disinflation, prices are still rising, they’re just not rising as fast. Numerically speaking, if the inflation rate was 10% last year, 6% this year, and looks to be 4% next year, then we have disinflation. Disinflation, a reduction in the inflation rate, is not the same as deflation, a decline in the price level. Prices continue to rise with disinflation, just not as fast. Should disinflation continue, presumably because anti-inflationary monetary or fiscal policies are working effectively, then the average price level could decline and we make the transition to deflation.

disintermediation – A general deterioration in the profitability of a bank because it pays high interest rates on short-term borrowing, but earns relatively low interest rates on long-term lending. This was a big, BIG problem for savings and loans (S&Ls;) during the 1970s and ultimately caused many of them to fail in the 1980s. S&Ls; were designed (by law) to make long-term (30-year) home loans to consumers, but to get the funds for these loans using standard savings accounts. When inflation and interest rates shot up in the 1970s, S&Ls; found it necessary to pay savers higher rates to get the funds. But, they still had a bunch of home loans–with low interest rates–that were 15, 20, or 25 years from being repaid. For several years, S&Ls; received 6 percent on many of their loans, but paid out something like 12 percent. This gradually eroded their profitability until many were forced to close their doors.

disinvestment – A drop in the total quantity of capital in the economy because the depreciation of existing capital is greater than investment in new capital. In other words, the capital we have is wearing out faster than we’re replacing it with new stuff. This isn’t good. At best, it limits economic growth and might even cause the economy’s pie to shrink if increases in other resources don’t kick in.

dismal science – A term for the study of economics developed during the late 18th and early 19th century when economists concluded that continued population growth would push wages and living standards to a minimal subsistence level and keep them there. It persists to the present time because economics continue to point out that actions result in opportunity cost, that nothing is free, and that eventually society has to pay the price for what it does.

dispersive force – A force that causes activities to locate farther apart. The primary dispersive forces are due to competition for local inputs or outputs, especially if this competition increases the prices of the inputs or limits the available demand for the outputs. Dispersive forces are countered by attractive forces, which act to bring activities closer together.

disposable income – The total income that can be used by the household sector for either consumption or saving during a given period of time, usually one year. This is the income left over after income taxes and social security taxes are removed and government transfer payments, like welfare, social security benefits, or unemployment compensation are added.

disposable income and personal income – Disposable income (DI) is the total income that can be used by the household sector for either consumption or saving during a given period of time, usually one year. Personal income (PI) is the total income received by the members of the domestic household sector, which may or may not be earned from productive activities during a given period of time, usually one year. Disposable income is after-tax income that is officially calculated as the difference between personal income and personal tax and nontax payments. In the numbers game, personal tax and nontax payments are about 15 percent of personal income, which makes disposable personal income about 85 percent of personal income.

disposable personal income – The total income that can be used by the household sector for either consumption or saving during a given period of time, usually one year. This is the income left over after income taxes and social security taxes are removed and government transfer payments, like welfare, social security benefits, or unemployment compensation are added.

dissaving – Negative saving during a given period of time in which consumption expenditures exceed disposable income. Dissaving is made possible by spending past or future disposable income on current consumption, that is, using income saved from previous periods or borrowing income to be earned in future periods. Saving is generally illustrated by the vertical difference when between the consumption line and the 45-degree line. Dissaving results when the 45-degree line lies above the consumption line.

distributed corporate profits – More commonly termed dividends, this is the portion of a corporation’s after-tax accounting profit that’s paid to shareholders or owners. Corporate managers usually try to pay the shareholders some minimum dividend that’s comparable to returns from other financial markets–such as the interest on government securities or corporate bonds–to keep the owners from selling off the company’s stock. That portion of after-tax accounting profit that’s not paid out as dividends is typically invested in capital.

distribution – This was formerly, the placement variable of the marketing mix. The activities that put the product, service, or idea at the correct location the customer wants and needs in order to facilitate the purchase. Channels of distribution vary based on the businessÕ strategy, target market, and resources.

distribution standards – Three alternative criteria for distributing income to members of society–contributive standard, equality standard, needs standard. A basic notion in economics is that income is generated through production (circular flow). The amount of income generated each year depends on the value of goods and services produced with the economy’s limited resources. But once this income is generated it must be distributed to members of society. The contributive, equality, and needs standards are the three primary criteria for distributing income.

dividend – The portion of a corporation’s after-tax accounting profit that’s paid to shareholders or owners. Corporate managers usually try to pay the shareholders some minimum dividend that’s comparable to returns from other financial markets–such as the interest on government securities or corporate bonds–to keep the owners from selling off the company’s stock. That portion of after-tax accounting profit that’s not paid out as dividends is typically invested in capital.

divisibility – One of four characteristics that enables an asset to better function as money. The other three are durability, transportablity, and non-counterfeitability. This characteristic means that the item used as money can be easily divided into small increments so that it can match commodity values more precisely.

division of labor – A basic economic notion that labor resources are used more efficiently if work tasks are divided among different workers. This allows workers to specialize in production as each becomes highly skilled at specific tasks. Efficiency achieved through specialization and the division of labor was popularized by Adam Smith in his classic work, The Wealth of Nations. This division-of-labor notion is one of those concepts that is so fundamental to the economy that its importance is occasionally overlooked in the real world. It is, for example, essential to foreign trade. Without the division of labor the comfortable standard of living currently provided by our exceeding complex economic system would not be possible.

domestic – Anything that has to do with activity within the boundaries of a nation. This should be directly contrasted with the term foreign, which refers to anything beyond the boundaries of a nation.

domestic sector – The combination of the households, businesses, and governments of a particular nation that undertake consumption and production activity within the political boundaries of that nation. The key point of contrast with the domestic sector is the foreign sector, activity beyond the political boundaries of a nation.

dominant firm – A term employed in industrial organization to describe a firm that is a price maker and faces little competition from smaller price taking firms, called fringe firms. A firm can become a dominant firm because it has lower costs than fringe firms, because they have a superior differentiated product in the market or because a group of firms collectively act as a single firm. A dominant firm usually has a large market share.

double coincidence of wants – The requirements of a barter exchange that each trader has want the other wants and wants what the other has. Because everyone doesn’t necessarily want everything, the lack of double coincidence of wants is a major obstacle in barter exchanges, especially for complex, modern economies. While double coincidence of wants is also essential for exchanges involving money, it’s such an inherent trait of money we don’t think twice about it. By its very nature as a generally accepted medium of exchange, everyone WANTS money.

double counting – The act of including the value of intermediate goods more than once in the value of gross domestic product. Because the value, or price, of final goods includes the cost, or value, of all intermediate goods used, including market transactions for intermediate separately in the measurement of gross domestic product would lead to double counting.

double taxation – The payment of income taxes on corporate profits twice, once when it is received by a corporation as profit and second when it is received by shareholders as dividends. Double taxation has been thorn in the side of those who own a lot of corporate stock and thus receive a lot of stock dividends. It is also problem in standard corporations (C corporations) which as given rise to a newer legal type of firm, S corporation, which is not subject to double taxation.

Dow Jones averages – These are the most widely used and recognized indexes of stock market prices in our economy. There are actually three separate indexes, for (1) 30 industrial stocks, (2) 20 transportation stocks, and (3) 15 utility stocks. There’s also a composite index for all 65 stocks.

DPI – The abbreviation for disposable personal income, which is the total income that can be used by the household sector for either consumption or saving during a given period of time, usually one year. This is the income left over after income taxes and social security taxes are removed and government transfer payments, like welfare, social security benefits, or unemployment compensation are added. Because consumption and saving are important to our economy for short-run stability and long-run growth, pointy-headed economists like to keep a close eye on disposable personal income. Disposable personal income is reported quarterly (every three months) in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

dual labor market – A proposition that our economy has two classes of workers — (1) adult white males and (2) other. The other includes, but isn’t limited to, women, blacks, hispanics, and teenagers. Based on the political and economic clout of whites and the traditional notion of men as the “bread winners” of a family, white males constitute the primary labor supply and thus get the best, highest paying jobs, with the greatest chance of advancement–like executive, physician, shop foreman, or U. S. Senator. The other groups, however, are left with secondary jobs–such as secretary, janitor, nurse, or convenience store clerk–that have very low pay and limited prospects to move up. Moreover, there tends to be little movement between these two labor markets.

dumping – Selling the same good to a foreign country at a lower price, often below production cost, than that charged to the domestic buyers. Dumping usually occurs because — (1) producers in one country are trying to stay competitive with producers in another country, (2) producers in one country are trying to eliminate the producers in another country and gain a larger share of the world market, (3) producers are trying to get rid of excess stuff that they can’t sell in their own country, (4) producers can make more profit by dividing sales into domestic and foreign markets, then charging each market whatever price the buyers are willing to pay.

duopoly – A special type of oligopoly market structure that contains two large producers or sellers. Like other theoretical market structure, duolopy is seldom seen in the real world in its idealized form — that is, a market with exactly two (more or less equally powerful) firms. The global aircraft market, dominated by Boeing and Airbus, comes close. The duopoly model provides insight into the type of competition encountered by most oligopoly markets, including the tendency to compete, collude and form cartels.

duopsony – A special type of oligopsony market structure dominated by exactly two large buyers controlling the buying-side of a market. Duopsony is the buying-side counter to the duopoly selling-side market structure. As market structures go, this is perhaps the most obscure one around.

durability – One of four characteristics that enables an asset to better function as money. The other three are transportablity, divisibility, and non-counterfeitability. This characteristic means that the item used as money retains its phyhsical structure and institutional value. People are thus willing to accept the item as payment with the assurance that they can use it later to purchase another good — without loss of value.

durable – A good bought by consumers that tends to last for more than a year. Common examples are cars, furniture, and appliances. Durable goods play an important role in the business cycle. During a business cycle recession, consumers tend to put off buying durable goods, hoping that the ones they already have will last until the economy improves. This lack of durable good purchases by consumers, though, contributes to the length and severity of a recession because durable good producers are then forced to reduce output and lay off workers. An important part of a business cycle recovery is then an increase in durable goods purchases.

durable good – A good bought by consumers that tends to last for more than a year. Common examples are cars, furniture, and appliances. Durable goods play an important role in the business cycle. During a business cycle recession, consumers tend to put off buying durable goods, hoping that the ones they already have will last until the economy improves. This lack of durable good purchases by consumers, though, contributes to the length and severity of a recession because durable good producers are then forced to reduce output and lay off workers. An important part of a business cycle recovery is then an increase in durable goods purchases.

consumption durable goods – Personal consumption expenditures on tangible goods that tend to last for more than a year. Common examples are cars, furniture, and appliances. This is one of three categories of personal consumption expenditures in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The other two are nondurable goods and services. Durable goods are about 12% of personal consumption expenditures and 8% of gross domestic product.

earnings report – A statement of the revenues, expenditures, and profit for a business, household, or government entity over a given period of time. An income statement also goes by the names profit and loss statement, income statement, and operating statement. This is one of two key financial statements for an entity. The other is a balance sheet, which is a statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth at a given point in time.

easy money – A term used when the Federal Reserve System pursues expansionary monetary policy. In other words, to stimulate our economy out of recession, the Fed increases the amount of money in the economy or makes it “easier” for people to get money (usually through bank loans).

ECLA – The Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA) -the Spanish acronym is CEPAL- was established in 1948. ECLAC, which is headquartered in Santiago, Chile, is one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations. It was founded for the purposes of contributing to the economic development of Latin America, coordinating actions directed towards this end, and reinforcing economic relationships among the countries and with the other nations of the world. The promotion of the region’s social development was later included among its primary objectives. The 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean are member States of ECLAC, together with several North American and European nations that have historical, economic and cultural ties with the region.

economic analysis – The process of investigating economic phenomena in a systematic manner. In one sense, this is the heart and soul of the economic discipline. While economists spend ample time identifying economic concepts, the end result of this discovery process is usually aimed at combining these concepts in such a way as to evaluate or analyze alternative consequences.

Economic and Monetary Union – An aspect of the European Union designed to integrate economic and monetary policies and establish a single currency (the euro). The Economic and Monetary Union, abbreviated EMU, was created by the 1992 Maastricht Treaty and officially came into existence in 1999. The European Central Bank has control over monetary policy and the money supply for the Economic and Monetary Union.

Economic Commission for Latin America – The Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA) -the Spanish acronym is CEPAL- was established in 1948. ECLAC, which is headquartered in Santiago, Chile, is one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations. It was founded for the purposes of contributing to the economic development of Latin America, coordinating actions directed towards this end, and reinforcing economic relationships among the countries and with the other nations of the world. The promotion of the region’s social development was later included among its primary objectives. The 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean are member States of ECLAC, together with several North American and European nations that have historical, economic and cultural ties with the region.

economic cost – Another term for opportunity cost (the highest valued alternative foregone in the pursuit of an activity) that is used in the study of economics to indicate the fundamental role opportunity cost plays in economics. The value expressed in terms of satisfaction of the foregone activity is your opportunity cost. Because there are usually several alternatives that aren’t pursued, opportunity cost is the highest-valued one. An opportunity cost is sometimes compensated with some form of payment, like a wage. However, the existence of an opportunity cost is independent of any actual cash outlay.

economic development – The process of improving the economy’s ability to satisfy consumers wants and needs. Unlike economic growth, which is concerned with year to year increases in production, economic development deals more with the basic fabric of society, especially the institutions that govern the way our economy and society functions. As such, a lesser developed nation is not only likely to have a low levels of production and limited amount capital, but also cultural beliefs and government practices that prevent more effective use of the capital.

economic efficiency – Obtaining the most consumer satisfaction from available resources. This is what most economists mean when the term efficiency arises. Economic efficiency means our economy is doing the best job possible of satisfying unlimited wants and needs with limited resources–that is, of addressing the problem of scarcity.

economic forces – Forces in the marketing environment that include decisions made by consumers and business organizations. The economy tends to follow business cycles of prosperity, recession, depression, and recovery–all which impact decisions made by an organization. It is critical for a business to correctly assess the current and near term trends in the business cycle. Incorrect decisions of inventory buildup, expansion, contraction, etc. can seriously impact a firm’s market position and subsequent survivability.

economic goal – One of five basic conditions of the mixed economy that is generally desired by society. We typically divide these five into macro goals (full employment, stability and economic growth) and micro goals (efficiency and equity).

economic goals – The five basic conditions of the mixed economy that are generally desired by society. We typically divide these five into macro goals (full employment, stability and economic growth) and micro goals (efficiency and equity).

economic good – The transformation of limited resources for the purpose of satisfying unlimited wants and needs. You might detect a similarity between the term economic good and the term scarcity. The reason is that “economic good” is another term for scarce good. We call a scarce good an economic good because a scarce good is one that can be traded through markets.

economic growth – The long-run expansion of the economy’s ability to produce output. This is one of five economic goals, specifically one of the three macro goals (stability and full employment are the other two). Economic growth is made possible by increasing the quantity or quality of the economy’s resources (labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship).

production possibilities economic growth – Economic growth is the process of increasing the economy’s ability to produce goods and services. It is achieved by increasing the quantity or quality of resources. This process can be illustrated as an outward shift of the production possibilities curve.

sources economic growth – Our economy achieves economic growth with increases in the quantity or quality of resources. The quantity part is relatively simple. If we get more resources, then we have the ability to produce more output. We can also improve resource quality, making existing resources more productive, primarily through education and technology.

economic indicators – Numerous economic statistics that provide valuable information about the expansions and contractions of business cycles. These economic statistics are grouped into three sets–lagging, coincident, and leading. Leading economic indicators tend to move up or down a few months BEFORE business-cycle expansions and contractions. Coincident economic indicators tend to reach their peaks and troughs AT THE SAME TIME as business cycles. Lagging economic indicators tend to rise or fall a few months AFTER business-cycle expansions and contractions.

economic policies – Government actions designed to affect economic activity and pursue one or more economic goals. Also called economic policies. The four common types of government policies are: fiscal, monetary, regulatory, and judicial.

economic production – The production of final goods and services taking place during a given time period. The emphasis here is on time period, especially the CURRENT time period. Gross domestic product is the macroeconomy’s prime measure of current production. Current production is best contrasted with transactions for past production and future production, both of which are excluded from gross domestic product.

economic profit – The difference between business revenue and total opportunity cost. This is the revenue received by a business over and above the minimum needed to produce a good. In this sense, economic profit is a sign of inefficiency. If a business receives an economic profit, then society (the buyers) are spending more on a good than society (the resource owners) are giving up to produce the good.

Economic Recovery Tax Act – Unofficially called the Kemp-Roth, this was a cornerstone of economic policy under President Reagan passed in 1981. The three components of this act were: (1) a decrease in individual income taxes, phased in over three years, (2) a decrease in business taxes, primarily through changes in capital depreciation, and (3) the indexing of taxes to inflation, which was implemented in 1985. This act was intended to address the stagflation problems of high unemployment and high inflation that existed during that 1970s and to provide greater incentives for investment. A primary theoretical justification is found in the Laffer curve relation between tax rates and total tax collections.

economic rent – The difference between the payment received by a resource owner and the opportunity cost of the resource. This is the payment received by a resource owner over and above the minimum needed to produce a good. Many resource owners are able to extract a portion of the economic profit generated by a business as a economic rent.

Economic Report of the President – An annual report of the economic performance of the U.S. economy written by the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA). It provides an overview of the nation’s economic progress. A goal of the report is to provide the President with objective economic analysis and advice on the development and implementation of a wide range of domestic and international economic policy issues. The Council of Economic Advisors, the governmental body responsible for the report, was established by the Employment Act of 1946. The Economic Report of the President has been published every year since 1950.

economic science – The application of the scientific method to economic phenomena. In other words, economists develop theories, test hypotheses, and seek to explain things like prices, unemployment rates, monopolize markets, business cycles, market shortages, and virtually everything else that might be considered economic “stuff.” However, economic science is also directed toward phenomenon that might NOT be considered economics, including voting, crime, and leisure. The key element, however, is that all of these, and many more, phenomena related to the fundamental problem of scarcity in one way or the other.

economic system – The assorted institutions that society uses to answer the three basic questions of allocation and address the fundamental problem of scarcity. Another, more popular term for economic system is economy. An economy, or economic system, is the structural framework in which households, businesses, and governments undertake the production and consumption decisions that allocate limited resources to satisfy unlimited wants and needs.

economic thinking – A way of looking at, and analyzing, the way the world works by comparing the costs of an action with the benefits generated. Economic thinking arises from scarcity, which exists because wants and needs and unlimited but resources are limited. This means virtually all actions incur an opportunity cost. Identifying the cost of an action, no matter how hidden or subtle it may be, is the essence of economic thinking.

economic union – An agreement among two or more nations to eliminate trade barriers with each other, to adopt a common trade policy with other nations, to allow free movement of resources among the countries, and to adopt common monetary policy or fiscal policy. This is considered the fourth of four levels of integration among nations.

economic – Relating to economics or the study of the economy. This word is commonly added to other terms to emphasize its importance to economics. A few examples are economic cost, economic profit, economic goal, economic policies, and economic thinking.

economics – A social science that studies the allocation of limited resources to the production of goods and services used to satisfy consumer’s unlimited wants and needs. Five notable phrases contained in this definition that need further study are: (1) social science, (2) allocation, (3) limited resources, (4) production, and (5) unlimited wants and needs.

economies of scale – Declining long-run average cost that occurs as a firm increases all inputs and expands its scale of production. This is graphically illustrated by a negatively-sloped long-run average cost curve and typically occurs for relatively small levels of production. Economies of scale are then overwhelmed by diseconomies of scale for relatively large production levels. Together, economies of scale and diseconomies of scale cause the long-run average cost curve to be U-shaped.

economies of scope – A production process in which it is cheaper to produce two (or more) products together rather than separately. This property is also termed joint production. For example the production of beef also results in the production of leather and the production of lumber also results in the production of sawdust. Economies of scope can be beneficial, that is, giving a producer multiple products to sell. But it can also be problematic when one of the joint products is undesirable, such as pollution or waste residual.

economist – A individual, usually a homo sapien, who has received extensive training in economic theories, applications, and analysis and whose primary employment involves the research, teaching, consulting, and other applications of this economic training. Many economists are employed by institutions of higher education for the expressed purpose of enlightening impressionable college students in the wily ways of economic analysis. Other economists are employed by government agencies — federal, state, and local — for the expressed purpose of applying economic analysis to important policy decisions.

economize – The process of obtaining the most for the least. That is, to limit the cost of an action or to gain the greatest benefit from an activity. To economize also means to limit or prevent waste and inefficiency.

economy – The system of production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services that a society uses to address the problem of scarcity. The essential task of an economy is to transform resources into useful goods and services (the act of production), then distribute or allocate these products to useful ends (the act of consumption). Virtually all economies accomplish this task through a combination of decisions made through voluntary market exchanges and involuntary government rules and regulations.

ECU – The abbreviation of the European Currency Unit, which is the forerunner of the euro that will be officially introduced in the European Union in 2002. The European Currency Unit is the weighted average of the currencies of the twelve original nations of the European Union. In that there are is no paper currency yet, it is currently used primarily for big-time commercial, financial, and international transactions.

education – An increase in the knowledge or skills processed by people. Education is generally view from a “formal” perspective, in which “students” sit in classrooms attuned to enthralling lectures from teachers before they are forced to reveal their education through exams. Education, however, can be much less formal, acquired on the job or through the real word experiences. An important economic aspect of is how it enhances the productivity of labor by increasing human capital. Education, in fact, has been one of the prime sources of economic growth and improved living standards.

effective demand – The notion that the actual demand for aggregate output in the macroeconomy is based on the actual income or other existing economic conditions and not on income and conditions existing in equilibrium. The idea of effective demand plays a key role in Keynesian economics and how the macroeconomy can have extended periods of unemployment. Effective demand is in direct contrast to the view underlying classical economics that demand is that existing in equilibrium.

efficiency – Obtaining the most possible satisfaction from a given amount of resources. Efficiency for our economy is achieved when we can not increase our satisfaction of wants and needs by producing more of one good and less of another. This is one of the five economic goals, specifically one of the two micro goals (the other being equity).

efficient search – Decreasing marginal search benefit and increasing marginal search cost suggest that the most efficient search lies somewhere between zero effort and complete information. The most efficient level of search effort is given by the equality of marginal search benefit and marginal search cost.

determinants efficient search – Two factors that affect information search are (1) the amount of purchase and (2) frequency of purchase. Goods that are relatively expensive increase the potential benefit of search. For example, saving 10 percent on the purchase price of a house is significantly more than saving 10 percent on the price of bar of soap. Buyers are thus likely to undertake extensive search when buying a house, but not for soap. Goods that are purchased more frequently also don’t require extensive search activities. Since buyers already know the “best places” to buy the “highest quality” products at the “lowest prices” for frequently purchased goods, little can be gained from search.

efficient – The state of resource allocation the exists when the highest level of consumer satisfaction is achieved from the available resources. Competitive markets, absent of any market failure and especially market control by either side, is efficient. In particular, this feat is accomplished when the price buyers are willing and able to pay for a good–based on the satisfaction obtained–is equal to the price sellers need to charge for a good–based on the opportunity cost of production. In other words, the value (satisfaction) of stuff given up to get a good is the same as the value (satisfaction) of the good produced. Satisfaction won’t increase by producing more of either.

eight-firm concentration ratio – The proportion of total output in an industry that’s produced by the eight largest firms in the industry. This is one of two common concentration ratios. The other is the four-firm concentration ratio. The eight-firm concentration ratio is commonly used to indicate the degree to which an industry is oligopolistic and how market control is held by the eight largest firms in the industry.

elastic demand – Relatively small changes in demand price cause relatively larger changes in quantity demanded. Elastic demand means that changes in the quantity demanded are relatively responsive to changes in the demand price. An elastic demand has a coefficient of elasticity greater than one (the negative value is ignored). You might want to compare elastic demand to inelastic demand, elastic supply, and inelastic supply.

elastic supply – Relatively small changes in supply price cause relatively larger changes in quantity supplied. Elastic supply means that changes in the quantity supplied are relatively responsive to changes in the supply price. An elastic supply has a coefficient of elasticity greater than one. You might want to compare elastic supply to inelastic supply, elastic demand, and inelastic demand.

elastic – In general, if changes in variable A cause changes in variable B, then the relative change in B is greater than the relative change in A. In other words, small changes in variable A cause relatively larger changes in variable B. An elastic relationship between two variables is a very responsive, or stretchable, relationship. You should compare elastic with inelastic.

elasticity alternatives – Five categories of elasticity that form a continuum indicating the relatively responsiveness of a change in one variable (usually quantity demanded or quantity supplied) to a change in another variable (usually demand price or supply price). These five alternatives–perfectly elastic, relatively elastic, unit elastic, relatively inelastic, and perfectly inelastic–are most often are used to categorize the price elasticity of demand and the price elasticity of supply.

demand elasticity alternatives – The price elasticity of demand can fall into one of five categories–perfectly elastic, relatively elastic, unit elastic, relatively inelastic, and perfectly inelastic–based on the coefficient of elasticity. These five elasticity alternatives form a continuum ranging from perfectly elastic at one end to perfectly inelastic at the other. The “middle” of this continuum is occupied by unit elastic. in that the “unit” and the two “perfectly” are really borders, boundaries, and endpoints, most of the real world action involving the price elasticity of demand takes place in the two “relatively” alternatives–relatively elastic and relatively inelastic.

supply elasticity alternatives – The price elasticity of supply can fall into one of five categories–perfectly elastic, relatively elastic, unit elastic, relatively inelastic, and perfectly inelastic–based on the coefficient of elasticity. This table summarizes the five alternatives. These five elasticity alternatives form a continuum ranging from perfectly elastic at one end to perfectly inelastic at the other. The “middle” of this continuum is occupied by unit elastic. in that the “unit” and the two “perfectly” are really borders, boundaries, and endpoints, most of the real world action involving the price elasticity of supply takes place in the two “relatively” alternatives–relatively elastic and relatively inelastic.

elasticity and supply intercept – The intersection of a straight-line supply curve with vertical price axis and/or horizontal quantity axis reveals the relative price elasticity of supply. Intersection with the horizontal quantity axis means inelastic and intersection with the vertical price axis means elastic. Intersection with the origin means unit elastic supply.

elasticity determinants – Three factors that affect the numerical value of price elasticity of demand and price elasticity of supply calculations, including availability of substitutes, time period of analysis, and proportion of budget. A given good can have a different price elasticity (both demand and supply) if these three determinants change. The first two determinants are important to both price elasticity of demand and price elasticity of supply, while the third relates specifically to the price elasticity of demand. Three elasticity determinants are: availability of substitutes, time period, and proportion of budget.

elasticity – The relative response of one variable to changes in another variable. The phrase “relative response” is best interpreted as the percentage change. For example, the price elasticity of demand, one of the more important applications of this concept in economics, is the percentage change in quantity demanded measured against the percentage change in price. Other notable economic elasticities are the price elasticity of supply, income elasticity of demand, and cross elasticity of demand.

embargo – In general, any sort of restriction on foreign trade, in practice, the restriction of exports destined for sale in another country. Unlike tariffs, import quotas, and other nontariff barriers that protect domestic producers from competition, embargoes are intended to punish the export destination country. One of the more famous embargoes in recent decades was the oil embargo that several middle-eastern countries imposed on the United States in the 1970s. This caused higher gasoline prices in the United States, created all sorts of havoc for our economy, and pretty much achieved the punishment objective. The United States is also prone to throw up an embargo here or there when another country acts against our political wishes.

emigration – Migration that leaves one country for another country. This is the other side of immigration. While immigration is people moving into a country, emigration is people moving out. People emigrate for the same reasons they migrate in general, to improve their lot in life. Emigration can be a problem for a country that’s not highly developed because those who leave are often the “best and the brightest.” As such, a country that’s struggling to advance often finds itself left with unskilled, uneducated labor–the poorest of the poor who can’t afford to leave.

empirical – Based on or relating to real world data or analysis. Empirical should be contrasted with the theoretical. Whereas theoretical refers to abstract representations, empirical is actual real world observations. Empirical observation is critical to the scientific method. Once an hypothesis implied by a theory, empirical observation is key to the verification process.

employed persons – People who are actively engaged in the production of goods and services. This is one of three official categories used to classify individuals by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) based on information obtained from the Current Population Survey. The other two categories are unemployed persons and not in the labor force. The sum of employed persons and unemployed persons constitute the civilian labor force. While most employed persons are people who receive payment for performing productive work, usually for profit-seeking business firms, the BLS has other specific criteria designed to capture the range of employment possibilities.

employed – The condition in which a resource (especially labor) is actively engaged in a productive activity usually in exchange for an explicit factor payment (such as wage or salary). This general condition forms the conceptual basis for one of the three categories used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) when classifying individual’s labor force status. Employed persons is the specific category used by the BLS classification procedure. The other two BLS categories are unemployed persons and not in the labor force.

employment quota – A limit on the quantity of workers hired by a firm or business, typically based on ethnic or demographic criteria. Employment quotas have been used as a means of providing increased opportunities to blacks, hispanics, women, and other groups that have been historically subject to discrimination. Such quotas, however, tend to anger other groups, especially white males, who don’t receive favorable treatment. While employment or similar anti-discrimination quota systems might help address historical problems, they are not without cost. In particular, our economy’s efficiency is likely to suffer if a less qualified member of an ethnic group is selected over someone who is more qualified.

employment rate – The ratio of employed persons to the total civilian noninstitutionalized population 16 years old or older. Also termed the employment-population ratio, the employment rate is used as an alternative indicator of the utilization of labor resources.

employment – The condition in which a resource (especially labor) is actively engaged in a productive activity usually in exchange for an explicit factor payment (such as wage or salary). This general condition forms the conceptual basis for one of the three categories used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) when classifying individual’s labor force status. Employed persons is the specific category used by the BLS classification procedure. The other two BLS categories are unemployed persons and not in the labor force.

employment-population ratio – The ratio of employed persons to the total civilian noninstitutionalized population 16 years old or older. Also termed the employment rate, the employment-population ratio is used as an alternative indicator of the utilization of labor resources.

endogenous variable – A variable that is identified within the workings of the model. Also termed a dependent variable, an endogenous variable is in essence the “output” of the model. It should be compared with an exogenous variable this is the “input” of the model.

endpoint formula – A simple technique for calculating the coefficient of elasticity that estimates the elasticity for discrete changes in two variables, A and B. The distinguishing characteristic of this formula is that percentage changes are calculated based on the initial values of each variable. This is much simpler than the midpoint formula, which is based on the percentage change from an average of the initial and ending values. The primary problem with the endpoint formula is that different elasticity values are obtained for price increases than for price decreases of the same segment of the demand curve.

aggregate supply determinant energy prices – One of several specific aggregate supply determinants assumed constant when the aggregate supply curve is constructed, and that shifts the aggregate supply curve when it changes. An increase in the energy prices causes a decrease (leftward shift) of the aggregate supply curve. A decrease in the energy prices causes an increase (rightward shift) of the aggregate supply curve. Other notable aggregate supply determinants include technology, wages, and the capital stock. Energy prices fall under the resource price aggregate supply determinant.

enterprise – An organization that combines scarce resources for the production and supply of goods and services. The term enterprise is generally used synonymously with other terms such as business, firm, and company. If a distinction exists, enterprise can be profit oriented, nonprofit, privately owned, or government controlled. Alternatively, the term enterprise might also be used more in reference to the production activity itself rather than the organization.

entrepreneurship – One of the four basic categories of resources, or factors of production (the other three are labor, capital, and land). Entrepreneurship is a special sort of human effort that takes on the risk of bringing labor, capital, and land together and organizing production.

entry barrier – An institutional, government, technological, or economic restriction on the entry of firms into a market or industry. The four primary barriers to entry are: resource ownership, patents and copyrights, government restrictions, and start-up costs. Barriers to entry are a key reason for market control and the inefficiency that this generates. In particular, monopoly, oligopoly, monopsony, and oligopsony often owe their market control to assorted barriers to entry. By way of contrast, perfect competition, monopolistic competition, and monopsonistic competition have few if any barriers to entry and thus little or no market control.

entry barriers – Institutional, government, technological, or economic restrictions on the entry of firms into a market or industry. The four primary barriers to entry are: resource ownership, patents and copyrights, government restrictions, and start-up costs. Barriers to entry are a key reason for market control and the inefficiency that this generates. In particular, monopoly, oligopoly, monopsony, and oligopsony often owe their market control to assorted barriers to entry. By way of contrast, perfect competition, monopolistic competition, and monopsonistic competition have few if any barriers to entry and thus little or no market control.

environment – All of the naturally occurring stuff that came with the planet, before it’s been altered, extracted, transformed, or used up for production. It includes the air, water, land, vegetation, and wildlife.

environmental quality – The degree to which the naturally occurring resources of the planet (land, air, and water) are free of artificial impurities or waste products generated by human activity. Pollution is the primary nemesis of environmental quality. As pollution waste residuals are discharged into the environment, environmental quality declines. Like other economic notions, environmental quality is subjective in the sense that it affects the satisfaction of wants and needs.

environmental scanning – The process of collecting information on various forces in the business environment that can impact the future of the company. These forces are: economic, legal/regulatory, sociocultural, technological, competitive and political. This is usually done as part of a regularly scheduled strategic planning session and is generally a necessary component in a marketing plan.

equality standard – One of three basic income distribution standards (the other two are contributive standard and needs standard). The equality standard distributes income equally to every person in society. Everyone–every man, woman, and child–would, in other words, receive exactly the same, per capita income–no more, no less. If, for example, total income earned by 270 million people in the United States is $7 trillion, then every person would receive $25,925.9 each–no more, no less.

equation of exchange – An equation that specifies the relation between the money supply, the velocity of money, the price level, and real production. The equation is stated as M*V = P*Q, where M is the money supply, V is the velocity, P is the price level, and Q is real production. This equation is a key component of the quantity theory of money, which offers an explanation between the money supply and inflation.

equilibrium price – The price that exists when a market is in equilibrium. In particular, the equilibrium price is the price that equates the quantity demanded and quantity supplied, which is termed the equilibrium quantity. Moreover, the equilibrium price is simultaneously equal to the both the demand price and supply price. In a market graph, like the one displayed here, the equilibrium price is found at the intersection of the demand curve and the supply curve. The equilibrium price is also commonly referred to as the market-clearing price.

equilibrium quantity – The quantity exchanged between buyers and sellers when a market is in equilibrium. The equilibrium quantity is simultaneously equal to both the quantity demanded and quantity supplied, which means that there is no shortage nor surplus in the market. This is, in fact, the prime criterion for market equilibrium. If buyers are able to buy all of the good they’re willing and able to buy (no shortage) and sellers are able to sell all of the good they’re willing and able to sell (no surplus), then neither side of the market is inclined to change the existing terms of trade. And that’s equilibrium.

equilibrium – The state that exists when opposing forces exactly offset each other and there is no inherent tendency for change. Once achieved, an equilibrium persists unless or until it is disrupted by an outside force.

long-run aggregate market equilibrium – The state of equilibrium that exists in the long-run aggregate market when real aggregate expenditures are equal to full employment real production with no imbalances to induce changes in the price level or real production. The opposing forces of aggregate demand (the buyers) and long-run aggregate supply (the sellers) exactly offset each other. Equilibrium in the long-run aggregate market also involves simultaneous equilibrium in the aggregated financial and resource markets. Long-run price flexibility ensures that all three aggregate markets are in equilibrium.

short-run aggregate market equilibrium – The state of equilibrium that exists in the short-run aggregate market when real aggregate expenditures are equal to full employment real production with no imbalances to induce changes in the price level or real production. In other words, the opposing forces of aggregate demand (the buyers) and short-run aggregate supply (the sellers) exactly offset each other. Equilibrium in the short-run aggregate market achieves balance in the product markets and financial markets, but not in the resource markets. It also involves simultaneous equilibrium in the aggregated financial and resource markets.

equipment – One of the main categories of capital. Other categories are structures and inventories.

equity market – A market that trades the equity of companies. In other words, a stock market.

equity – This has two, not totally unrelated, uses in our wonderful world of economics. The first is as one of the two micro goals (the other being efficiency) of a mixed economy. This use relates to the “fairness” of our income or wealth distributions. The second use of the term equity means ownership, especially the ownership of a business or corporation.

estate tax – A tax on the value of a deceased person’s estate, or all of the property and assets owned. This should be compared to an inheritance tax, which is a tax on that portion of the estate that an heir actually receives.

EU – The common abbreviation of the Economic Union, which is the economical and political integration of a dozen European nations created by the Maastricht Treaty signed in 1992. The twelve nations forming the European Union are Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Germany, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, and Great Britain. Three additional nations that have joined the original dozen are Austria, Finland and Sweden. The Economic Union was actually one of several steps by European nations after the end of World War II to promote integration. This Economic Union was established to reduce or eliminate many tariffs and nontariff barriers, create of single monetary unit (the euro), establish of a common military and defense policy, and centralize monetary policy.

Euro zone – The geographic area occupied by the member nations of the European Economic and Monetary Union that share the same currency (euro) and monetary policy.

euro – The denomination of the so-called single currency that is designed to integrate economic and monetary policies for the European Union. The euro will contain paper currency (banknotes) and metal coins and will replace the European Currency Unit that is presently used for commercial and financial transactions. While that plans are to introduce this single currency with paper and coins in 2002, no one knows for sure if the euro will completely replace national currencies (British pound, French franc, etc.) for transactions within each nation. The paper currency will come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euros and the metal coins will come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents, as well as 1 euro and 2 euros.

Eurodollars – Bank accounts denominated in U.S. dollars but held in banks outside of the United States. This is notable because banks typically maintain deposits in their domestic currency. Deposits in a German bank, for example, would be denominated in German marks. Originally Eurodollars were dollar deposits in European banks (hence the term “Eurodollars”). However, the notion of deposits held by a bank in currency other than that of the domestic economy has become a common practice around the world. Eurodollars are near monies added to M1 to obtain broader monetary aggregates, M2 and M3.

European Central Bank – The central bank for the European Union and Economic and Monetary Union this is charged with monitoring monetary policy and introducing euros into circulation (beginning in 2002). The European Central Bank has a comparable, but perhaps somewhat less powerful, role as the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in the United States. It is took over for the European Monetary Institute in 1998 and is the executive body of the European System of Central Banks.

European Commission – The executive body of the European Union that is charged with initiating Union-wide regulations. This is as close as the European Union has come to a centralized “federal” government comparable to that in the United States. It, however, has not achieved the status. The 15 national members of the European Union still retain a significant degree of autonomy.

European Currency Unit – The forerunner of the euro that will be officially introduced in the European Union in 2002. Commonly referred to as the ECU, the European Currency Unit is the weighted average of the currencies of the twelve original nations of the European Union. In that there are is no paper currency yet, it is currently used primarily for big-time commercial, financial, and international transactions.

European System of Central Banks – The consolidation of the central banks of the member nations of the European Union, together with the European Central Bank, to oversee monetary policy. A major aspect of the Economic and Monetary Union has been coordinate the actions of distinct, independent nations under a single authority, which could probably not be achieved without the European System of Central Banks. The European System of Central Banks is comparable to the Federal Reserve System of the United States.

European Union – The economical and political integration of a dozen European nations created by the Maastricht Treaty signed in 1992. The twelve nations forming the European Union (commonly abbreviated EU) are Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Germany, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, and Great Britain. Three additional nations that have joined the original dozen are Austria, Finland and Sweden. The Economic Union was actually one of several steps by European nations after the end of World War II to promote integration. This Economic Union was established to reduce or eliminate many tariffs and nontariff barriers, create a single monetary unit (the euro), establish of a common military and defense policy, and centralize monetary policy.

excess capacity – A condition that exists when monopolistic competition achieves long-run equilibrium such that production by each firm is less than minimum efficient scale. The implication of this condition is that each firm is not producing up to its fullest capacity, as would be the case under perfect competition, and thus more firms are need to produce total market output compared to perfect competition. Excess capacity results because market control means a monopolistically competitive firm faces a negatively-sloped demand curve. Long-run equilibrium is thus achieved by the tangency of the negatively-sloped demand curve and the long-run average cost curve, which results in economies to scale.

excess demand – A disequilibrium condition in a competitive market in which the quantity demanded is greater than the quantity supplied, hence there’s “extra” demand. Pointy-headed economists generally use the more technical term shortage rather than excess demand. The reason, of course, is that shortage has two syllables and excess demand has four. The time saved in pronouncing two syllables rather than four is a definite efficiency plus for the entire economy.

excess reserves – The amount of bank reserves over and above those that the Federal Reserve System requires a bank to keep. Excess reserves are what banks use to make loans. If a bank has more excess reserves, then it can make more loans. This is a key part of the Fed’s ability to control the money supply. Using open market operations, the Fed can add to, or subtract from, the excess reserves held by banks. If the Fed, for example, adds to excess reserves, then banks can make more loans. Banks make these loans by adding to their customers’ checking account balances. This is of some importance, because checking account balances are an major part of the economy’s money supply. In essence, controlling these excess reserves is the Fed’s number one method of “printing” money without actually printing money.

excess supply – A disequilibrium condition in a competitive market in which the quantity supplied is greater than the quantity demanded, hence there’s “extra” supply. Pointy-headed economists generally use the more technical term surplus rather than excess supply. The reason, of course, is that surplus has two syllables and excess supply has four. The time saved in pronouncing two syllables rather than four is a definite efficiency plus for the entire economy.

exchange rate mechanism – The system used to link the euro to the currencies of European Union member nations that do not immediately participate in the use of the euro. Linkages with these non-participating European Union member nations is voluntary, but designed to ease their transition into full-blown use of the euro.

exchange rate – The price of one nation’s currency in terms of another nation’s currency. This is often called the foreign exchange rate in that it is the price determined in the foreign exchange market when people buy and sell foreign exchange. The exchange rate is specified as the amount of one currency that can be traded per unit of another.

aggregate demand determinant exchange rates – One of several specific aggregate demand determinants assumed constant when the aggregate demand curve is constructed, and that shifts the aggregate demand curve when it changes. An increase in exchanges rates causes an increase (rightward shift) of the aggregate curve. A decrease in the exchanges rates causes a decrease (leftward shift) of the aggregate curve. Other notable aggregate demand determinants include interest rates, the money supply, inflationary expectations, consumer confidence, and the federal deficit.

aggregate expenditures determinant exchange rates – One of several specific aggregate expenditures determinants assumed constant when the aggregate expenditures line is constructed, and that shifts the aggregate expenditures line when it changes. An increase in the exchanges rates causes an increase (upward shift) of the aggregate expenditures line. A decrease in the exchanges rates causes a decrease (downward shift) of the aggregate expenditures line. Other notable aggregate expenditures determinants include consumer confidence, federal deficit, inflationary expectations, and interest rates.

exchange – The process of trading one item for another. Exchange is fundamental to the study of economics, markets, and market-oriented economies. Most exchanges in a modern, complex market-oriented economy involve a commodity on one side and a monetary payment (that is, price) on the other. In essence, a buyer gives up money and gets a good, while a seller gives up a good and gets money.

excise tax – A tax on a specific good. This should be compared with a general sales tax, which is a tax on all (or nearly all) goods sold. The most common excise taxes are on alcohol, tobacco, and gasoline. Excise taxes are used either to discourage consumption of socially undesirable stuff (like alcohol and tobacco) or to raise some easy revenue because the government knows buyers will keep buying regardless of the tax (like alcohol and tobacco).

excludability – The ability to keep people who don’t pay for a good from consuming the good. For some goods, it’s very easy (that is, the cost is low) for owners or producers to keep others from enjoying the benefit of a good. Examples of this abound, like candy bars, shoes, houses, computers, and well a bunch of other stuff. Other goods, however, prove more difficult to keep the nonpayers away. Examples of these include oceans, national defense, and fireworks displays. Excludability is one of the two key characteristics of a good (the other is rival consumption) that distinguishes between common-property goods, near-public goods, private goods, and public goods.

exclusive agreement – An agreement commonly used in the late 1800s and early 1900s between a producer and an intermediary (such as a store) in which the intermediary agrees to sell only the producer’s good, while the producer agrees not to provide the good to other intermediaries in the same market. This was commonly used by firms to obtain market control for their output. The use of exclusive agreements was specifically outlawed by the Clayton Act in 1914. However, modern firms continue to use exclusive agreements with varying degrees of success.

executive summary – A synopsis of the entire marketing plan. Typically, short in length consisting of a summary of the major aspects of the plan. The executive summary is designed to give enough information to allow the reader an overall view of the plan. Although its position is at the beginning of the marketing plan, it is written as the last component.

exhaustible resource – A natural resource that cannot be increased by the natural forces of the environment. The quantities of exhaustible resources are effectively fixed and thus the more used today, the less is available for use in the future. It is possible, and even expected, that exhaustible resources will be exhausted at some time in the future. Common examples of exhaustible resources are the three fossil fuels — petroleum, coal, and natural gas. The vast array of mineral resources — iron, silver, gold, and copper — represent other examples.

exogenous variable – A variable that is identified outside the workings of the model. Also termed an independent variable, an exogenous variable is in essence the “input” of the model. It should be compared with an endogenous variable this is the “output” of the model.

expansion – A phase of the business cycle characterized by a general period of rising economic activity. An expansion is one of two basic business cycle phases. The other is contraction. The transition from expansion to contraction is termed a peak and the transition from contraction to expansion is termed a trough. Expansions last an average of about 3-4 years, but this by no means not guaranteed. An expansion in the early 1980s lasted a mere 12 months. The next expansion then lasted over 8 years. Much of the 1960s was dedicated to a 106-month expansion, almost 9 years.

expansionary fiscal policy – A form of stabilization policy consisting of an increase in government spending and/or a decrease in taxes. This policy is designed to avoid or correct the problems associated with a business cycle contraction.

expansionary gap – The difference between the equilibrium real production achieved in the short-run aggregate market and full-employment real production the occurs when short-run equilibrium real production is more than full-employment real production. An expansionary gap, also termed an inflationary gap, is associated with a business-cycle expansion, especially the latter stages of an expansion. This is one of two alternative output gaps that can occur when short-run production differs from full employment. The other is a contractionary gap.

expansionary monetary policy – A form of stabilization policy consisting of an increase in the amount of money in circulation. This policy is designed to avoid or correct the problems associated with a business cycle contraction.

expansionary policy – A stabilization policy consisting of an increase in government spending and/or a decrease in taxes (fiscal policy) and/or an increase in the amount of money in circulation (monetary policy). This policy is designed to avoid or correct the problems associated with a business-cycle contraction.

expectations – What people or businesses anticipate will happen, especially in terms of markets and prices. Expectations are one of the five demand determinants and one of the five supply determinants that are assumed constant when the demand and supply curves are constructed. Changes in expectations then cause shifts of the demand and supply curves when they change. Expectations are also important to the study of inflation and the aggregate market.

expenditure multiplier – The ratio of the change in aggregate output (or gross domestic product) to an autonomous change in an aggregate expenditure (consumption expenditures, investment expenditures, government purchases, or net exports). The expenditure multiplier is a key component of Keynesian economics and the study of macroeconomics, illustrating how a relatively small change in an expenditure like investment can trigger larger changes in aggregate output. The value of the expenditure multiplier depends on the marginal propensity to consume and other induced expenditures. Knowing the value of the expenditure multiplier can also indicate the amount of policy-induced government expenditures are needed to achieve a given level of aggregate output (presumably full-employment output).

explicit collusion – A formal, usually secret, collusion agreement among competing firms (mostly oligopolistic firms) in an industry designed to control the market, raise the market price, and otherwise act like a monopoly. Also termed overt collusion, the distinguishing feature of explicit collusion is a formal agreement. This should be contrasted with implicit or tacit collusion that does not involve a formal, explicit agreement.

explicit cost – An opportunity cost that involves a money payment and usually a market transaction. This should be contrasted with implicit cost that does NOT involve a money payment or a market transaction. Explicit cost is also termed out-of-pocket or accounting cost.

explicit logrolling – A type of voter logrolling in which each of two voters agree to cast separate votes for two separate programs or policies. With explicit logrolling, each voter must go “on record” as voting for each program. While explicit logrolling often contributes to government inefficiency, at the very least the voters can be held accountable for their voters. An alternative type of logrolling is implicit logrolling.

explicit opportunity cost – An opportunity cost that involves a money payment and usually a market transaction. This should be contrasted with implicit cost that does NOT involve a money payment or a market transaction. Explicit cost is also termed out-of-pocket or accounting cost.

exploitation – The notion that capital owners and entrepreneurs of the second estate “take advantage” of workers of the third estate by paying them less that their contributions to production.

exploration – The process of discovering minerals, fossil fuels, or other raw materials in the land. Exploration is a fundamental act of investment. It requires up front expenses (which mean foregoing other activities) without any guarantee that the process will be successful.

export promotion – A strategy for economic development for a country based on encouraging domestic producers to export production or foreign nations to purchase exported goods.The goal of this policy is to encourage domestic production, which subsequently increases domestic income and consumption. A contrasting economic development is import substitution.

export – The sale of goods to a foreign country. The United States, for example, sells a lot of the stuff produced within our boundaries to other countries, including wheat, beef, cars, furniture, and, well, almost every variety of product you care to name. In general, domestic producers (and their workers) are elated with the prospect of selling their goods to foreign countries–leading to more buyers, a higher price, and more profit. The higher price, however, is bad for domestic consumers. In that domestic consumers tend to have far less political clout than producers, very few criticisms of exports can be heard. On the positive side, though, exports do tend to add to the multiplicative, cumulatively reinforcing expansion of production and income (that is, the multiplier).

exports line – A graphical depiction of the relation between exports sold to the foreign sector and the economy’s aggregate level of income or production. This relation is most important for deriving the net exports line, which plays a minor, but growing role in the study of Keynesian economics. An exports line is horizontal which indicates that exports are totally autonomous, with no induced component. The aggregate expenditures line used in Keynesian economics is derived by adding or stacking the net exports line, derived as the difference between the exports line and imports line, onto the consumption line, after adding investment expenditures and government purchases.

exports – The sale of goods to a foreign country. The United States, for example, sells a lot of the stuff produced within our boundaries to other countries, including wheat, beef, cars, furniture, and, well, almost every variety of product you care to name. In general, domestic producers (and their workers) are elated with the prospect of selling their goods to foreign countries–leading to more buyers, a higher price, and more profit. The higher price, however, is bad for domestic consumers. In that domestic consumers tend to have far less political clout than producers, very few criticisms of exports can be heard. On the positive side, though, exports do tend to add to the multiplicative, cumulatively reinforcing expansion of production and income (that is, the multiplier).

external benefit – A benefit that’s not included in the market price of a good because it’s not included in the demand price. Education is an example of an externality benefit when members of society other than students benefit from a more educated population. External benefit is one type of market failure that causes inefficiency.

external cost – A cost that’s not included in the market price of a good because it’s not included in the supply price. Pollution is an example of an external cost if producers aren’t the ones who suffer from pollution damages. External cost is one type of market failure that causes inefficiency.

externalities – Costs or benefits that are not included in the market price of a good because they are not included in the supply price or the demand price. Pollution is an example of an externality cost if producers aren’t the ones who suffer from pollution damages. Education is an example of an externality benefit when members of society other than students benefit from a more educated population. Externality is one type of market failure that causes inefficiency.

externality – A cost or benefit that is not included in the market price of a good because it’s not included in the supply price or the demand price. Pollution is an example of an externality cost if producers aren’t the ones who suffer from pollution damages. Education is an example of an externality benefit when members of society other than students benefit from a more educated population. Externality is one type of market failure that causes inefficiency.

face value – The stated, or face, value of a legal claim or financial asset. For debt securities, such as corporate bonds or U. S. Treasury securities, this is amount to be repaid at the time of maturity. For equity securities, that is, corporate stocks, this is the initial value set up at the time it is issued. Face value, also called par value, is not necessarily, and often is not, equal to the current market price of the asset. A $10,000 U.S. Treasury note, for example, has a face value of $10,000, but might have a current market price of $9,950. The difference between face value and current price contributes to the yield or return on such assets. An asset is selling at a discount if the current price is less than the face value and is selling at a premium if the current price is more than the par value.

factor accumulation – An increase in the quantity of the four basic factors used to produce goods and services in the economy–labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship. Increases in these “factors of production” enable an economy to produce more goods and services and therefore the long-run expansion of the economy’s ability to produce output–that is, economic growth. Economic growth however, is made possible not only by increasing the quantity of the economy’s resources, but also by increasing their quality.

factor demand – The willingness and ability of productive activities (that is, businesses) to hire or employ factors of production. Like other types of demand, factor demand relates the price and quantity. Specifically, factor demand is the range of factor quantities that are demanded at a range of factor prices. This is one half of the factor market. The other half is factor supply. The factors of production subject to factor demand include any and all of the four scarce resources–labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship. However, because labor involves human beings directly, it is the factor that tends to receive the most scrutiny and analysis.

factor demand and marginal revenue product – For a firm that hires the services of a factor in a perfectly competitive factor market, the factor demand curve is that portion of the marginal revenue product curve that lies below the average revenue product curve. The relation between marginal revenue product and factor demand for a perfectly competitive firm is comparable to the relation between marginal cost and short-run supply. A perfectly competitive firm maximizes profit by hiring the quantity of a factor that equates factor price and marginal revenue product. As such, the firm moves along it’s marginal revenue product curve in response to alternative factor prices.

factor demand curve – A graphical representation of the relationship between the price to a factor of production and quantity of the factor demanded, holding all ceteris paribus factor demand determinants constant. The factor demand curve is one half of the factor market. The other half is factor supply. The factor demand curve indicates the quantity of a factor that would be demanded at alternative factor prices. While all factors of production, or scarce resources, including labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship, have factor demand curves, labor is the factor most often analyzed. Like other demand curves, the factor demand curve is negatively sloped. Higher factor prices are associated with smaller quantities demanded and lower factor prices go with larger quantities demanded.

factor demand determinants – The three most important determinants that shift the factor demand curve are: (1) product price, (2) factor productivity, and (3) prices of other factors. Like any determinant, these three cause the factor demand curve to shift to a new location. An increase in factor demand is a rightward shift of the factor demand curve and a decrease in factor demand is a leftward shift.

factor demand elasticity – The elasticity of a factor demand curve is affected by four things: (1) the price elasticity of demand for the good produced, (2) the production function technology and elasticity of marginal physical product, (3) the ease of factor substitutability, and (4) the share of the factor’s cost relative to total cost. Changes in any of these four items can cause the price elasticity of factor demand to change. In other words, the quantity of factor services demanded will become more or less sensitive to changes in the factor price.

factor market – A market used to exchange the services of a factor of production: labor, capital, land , and entrepreneurship. Factor markets, also termed resource markets, exchange the services of factors, NOT the factors themselves. For example, the labor services of workers are exchanged through factor markets NOT the actual workers. Buying and selling the actual workers is not only slavery (which is illegal) it’s also the type of exchange that would take place through product markets, not factor markets. More realistically, capital and land are two resources than can be and are legally exchanged through product markets. The services of these resources, however, are exchanged through factor markets. The value of the services exchanged through factor markets each year is measured as national income.

factor market analysis – An analysis of the structure and equilibrium determination of markets that exchange the services of productive resources. This analysis highlights principles and concepts that tend to be most commonly associated with factor markets (also termed resource markets), including monopsony and bilateral monopoly. Marginal revenue product is a key concept on the demand side of the factor market. Marginal factor cost is a key concept on the supply side of the factor market.

factor market equilibrium – Equilibrium in the factor market, which for a perfectly competitive market is achieved at the factor price and factor quantity give by the intersection of the factor demand curve and the factor supply curve. For factor markets that are not perfectly competitive, such as those controlled by monopoly or monopsony, factor market equilibrium is achieved when the controlling firm maximizes profit. For monopoly, this is the factor quantity that equates marginal revenue and marginal cost. For monopsony, this is the factor quantity that equates marginal revenue product with marginal factor cost. But regardless of marginal structure, as an equilibrium it is maintained until shocked by an external force.

efficiency factor market – A factor market achieves efficiency in the allocation of resources by equating marginal revenue product to factor price. Perfect competition, as the efficiency benchmark, is the only market structure to satisfy this criterion and achieve factor market efficiency. Monopsony, oligopsony, and monopsonistic competition are inefficient because they equate marginal revenue product to marginal factor cost, both of which are greater than factor price.

factor markets – Markets used to exchange the services of a factor of production: labor, capital, land , and entrepreneurship. Factor markets, also termed resource markets, exchange the services of factors, NOT the factors themselves. For example, the labor services of workers are exchanged through factor markets NOT the actual workers. Buying and selling the actual workers is not only slavery (which is illegal) it’s also the type of exchange that would take place through product markets, not factor markets. More realistically, capital and land are two resources than can be and are legally exchanged through product markets. The services of these resources, however, are exchanged through factor markets. The value of the services exchanged through factor markets each year is measured as national income.

factor payment – A wage, interest, rent, and profit payment for the services of scarce resources, or the factors of production (labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship), in return for productive services. Factor payments are frequently categorized according to the services of the productive resource. Wages are paid for the services of labor, interest is the payment for the services of capital, rent is the services for land, and profit is the factor payment to entrepreneurship. In the circular flow, these are payments made by the business sector for factor services purchased from the household sector through the financial markets.

factor payments – Wage, interest, rent, and profit payments for the services of scarce resources, or the factors of production (labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship), in return for productive services. Factor payments are frequently categorized according to the services of the productive resource. Wages are paid for the services of labor, interest is the payment for the services of capital, rent is the services for land, and profit is the factor payment to entrepreneurship. In the circular flow, these are payments made by the business sector for factor services purchased from the household sector through the financial markets.

factor price – The price paid for and received by the services of factor of productions (labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship) when exchange through factor markets. Like prices in other markets, factor price adjusts to balance the forces of demand and supply. For factor demand and the factor demand curve, the factor price is negatively related to the quantity of factor services demanded. For factor supply and the factor supply curve, factor price is positively related to the quantity of factor services supplied. The key factor prices are wage rates, interest rates, rents, and profits. The rigidity or inflexibility of factor prices is an important aspect of the macroeconomic study of the short-run aggregate market.

factor supply – The willingness and ability of scarce resources or factors of production to offer their services for use in productive activities. Like other types of supply, factor supply relates price and quantity. Specifically, factor supply is the range of factor quantities that are supplied at a range of factor prices. This is one half of the factor market. The other half is factor demand. The factors of production subject to factor supply include any and all of the four scarce resources–labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship. However, because labor involves human beings directly, it is the factor that tends to receive the most scrutiny and analysis.

factor supply curve – A graphical representation of the relation between the price to a factor of production and quantity of the factor supplied, holding all ceteris paribus factor supply determinants constant. The factor supply curve is one half of the factor market. The other half is the factor demand curve. The factor supply curve indicates the quantity of a factor that would be supplied at alternative factor prices. While all factors of production, or scarce resources, including labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship, have factor supply curves, labor is the factor most often analyzed. Like other supply curves, the factor supply curve is generally positively sloped. Higher factor prices are associated with larger quantities supplied and lower factor prices go with smaller quantities supplied.

factor supply determinants – An ceteris paribus factors held constant when the factor supply curve is constructed that cause the curve to shift when they change. Because factor supply differs greatly depending on the particular factor analyzed (labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship), factor supply determinants also come from different sources. Several key determinants come from the five standard market supply determinants: (1) resource prices, (2) technology, (3) other prices, (4) sellers’ expectations, and (5) number of sellers. However, because labor is people (who receive satisfaction from working) three additional determinants come from market demand: (1) income, (2) preferences, and (3) other prices. Last, but not least, is the mobility of resources, including both geographic and occupational mobility.

factors of production – The four basic factors used to produce goods and services in the economy–labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship. These are also called resources or scarce resources. The term “factors of production” is quite descriptive of the function these “resources” perform. Labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship are the four “factors” or items use in the “production” of goods and services. So there you have it “factors” of “production.”

factory – The building and equipment (the physical capital) at a particular location used for the production of goods and services. A factory often takes the form of the conventional assembly-line system, but it need not. As the building and equipment used for production, a factory can also be restaurant, doctor’s office, or university classroom. Moreover, while a factory is often associated with the notion of firm or business, they need not be one and the same. A firm can, often does, own more than one factory and a factory can be owned by more than one firm.

fallacy – A logical error in an argument or evaluation of a policy. The six common fallacies that surface in economic analysis are: false cause, personal attack, division, composition, false authority, and mass appeal. These fallacies are most troublesome because, although false, they seem correct, especially when used by a slick-talking, charismatic person (politician) or when the fallacies support a preconceived notion or fundamental belief.

fallacy of composition – The logical fallacy of arguing that what is true for the parts is also true for the whole. In the study of economics, this takes the form of assuming that what works for parts of the economy, such as households or businesses also works for the aggregate, or macroeconomy. The contrasting fallacy, which you might want to examine next, is the fallacy of division.

fallacy of division – The logical fallacy of arguing that what is true for the whole is also true for the parts. In the study of economics, this takes the form of assuming that what works for the aggregate, or macroeconomy, also works for parts of the economy, such as households or businesses. The contrasting fallacy that you should check out is the fallacy of composition.

fallacy of false authority – The logical fallacy of arguing that something is “correct” or “true” because an “expert” in an unrelated area says so. This is commonly used by both advertisers, politicians, and anyone who relies on their Uncle Clyde for the “correct” answers to all controversial issues. Not that I mean to belittle Uncle Clyde, who is a really nice man and an excellent barber, but he’s just not an expert on economic policies.

fallacy of false cause – The logical fallacy of arguing that two events that are correlated (that is, happen at about the same time), are assumed to have a causal connection. In other words, one event causes the other. This was one of the more common fallacies committed by ancient ancestors. During the last full moon, your dog died. Obviously the full moon killed your dog. While this might seem reasonable to anyone spending their lives eating mastodon meat and sleeping in caves, it’s actually the fallacy of false cause.

fallacy of mass appeal – The logical fallacy of arguing that something is “correct” or “true” because a majority of the population thinks so. This is commonly used by both advertisers and politicians. Just because something is popular, doesn’t mean it’s “right.” In fact, a cynic might argue that being popular probably makes it “wrong.”

fallacy of personal attack – The logical fallacy of arguing that something is bad because someone “associated” with the thing is ugly, has a funny nose, drives a foreign car, regularly watches daytime soap operas, or wears outdated clothing. This fallacy is rampant in the political arena. While some politicians might have you believe that only good people propose good policies, while bad people have bad policies. The fact of the matter is that good people propose bad policies and bad people propose good policies.

farm problem – The short-run situation in which weather variability creates large fluctuations in farm prices, combined with the long-run situation in which technological advances increase production capabilities even though the demand for agricultural production declines relative to the growth of the overall economy. Taken together these two situations lead to highly unstable farm incomes that tend to decline over time. The solution to this problem has been significant government intervention in the agricultural industry, especially through assorted subsidies and price floors.

favorable balance of payments – An imbalance in a nation’s balance of payments in which payments made by the country are less than payments received by the country. This is also termed a balance of payments surplus. It’s considered favorable because more currency is flowing into the country than is flowing out. Such an unequal flow of currency will expand the supply of money in the nation and subsequently cause a decrease in the exchange rate relative to the currencies of other nations. This then has implications for inflation, unemployment, production, and other facets of the domestic economy. A balance of trade surplus is often the source of a balance of payments surplus, but other payments can turn a balance of trade surplus into a balance of payments deficit.

favorable balance of trade – An imbalance in a nation’s balance of trade in which the payments for merchandise exports received by the country exceed payments for merchandise imports paid by the country. This is also termed a balance of trade surplus. It’s considered favorable because more goods are exported out of the country than are imported in, meaning that foreign production is replaced with domestic production, which then increases domestic employment and income. A balance of trade surplus is often the source of a balance of payments surplus.

FCC – The abbreviation for the Federal Communications Commission, which was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. The FCC consists of five Commissioners appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Each commissioner serves a 5-year term, except when filling an unexpired term. One of the regulatory forces in the marketing environment.

FDA – The abbreviation for Food and Drug Administration, which is an agency of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services that deals with the safety and effectiveness of food, cosmetics, drugs, and medical implements. It was formally established in 1906 to investigate and test what turned out to be some pretty dangerous and disgusting food additives that were being fed to an unaware public. The FDA is now charged with the task of keeping food and drugs free of hazardous additives and to ensure that they perform as promised. Drugs must undergo rigorous, lengthy tests on animals and humans to prove they’re safe and effective.

FDI – The abbreviation for Foreign Direct Investment, this is the acquisition of controlling interest in foreign firms and businesses from one country in another country. FDI can also take the form of constructing factories, structures and equipment (or any form of physical capital) in foreign soil. FDI does not include foreign investment into the stock markets (portfolio investment). Most economists consider foreign direct investment more useful than portfolio investment since this last one is generally regarded as temporal and can leave the foreign country at the first sign of trouble. FDI on the other hand, is considered more durable and with larger economic (potential) benefits.

FDIC – The abbreviation for Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which is a program established by Congress in 1933, during the worst of the Great Depression, to insure the deposits of failed banks. The FDIC operates much like any private insurance company. It collects insurance premiums from its customers–the banks–in return for the assurance that it will stand behind, or be ready to pay off, any deposits that the banks can’t.

featherbedding – A labor union practice of artificially increasing the number of workers employed even though the specific job or task can be completed with fewer workers. This can be done mandating that specific jobs be performed only by workers with specific skill levels or be mandating that a certain number of workers are needed to perform a job or task. By increasing the demand for workers, featherbedding also keeps wages higher.

Fed pyramid – A simple little diagram that depicts the structure of the Federal Reserve System, which is in the shape of triangle (hence the not totally accurate term “pyramid”), with a large base that comes to a peak. The base of the pyramid contains thousands of commercial banks, which rests on a foundation of the millions of people who make up the nonbank public. The middle of the pyramid includes 37 Federal Reserve Banks, including 12 District Banks and 25 Branch Banks. Resting at the top of the pyramid is the Board of Governors, with the Chairman at the very, very top. The top also has two notable offshoots — the Federal Open Market Committee and the Federal Advisory Council.

Federal Advisory Council – A group consisting of Presidents from 12 commercial banks, one from each of the 12 Federal Reserve Districts. This council has no policy making role, but merely offers advice, suggestions, and feedback on how Federal Reserve policies are affecting commercial banks and their customers in non-bank public.

Federal Communications Commission – An federal government agency established by the Communications Act of 1934 that is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. This agency, commonly known by the acronym FCC, consists of five Commissioners appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Each commissioner serves a 5-year term, except when filling an unexpired term. One of the regulatory forces in the marketing environment.

federal deficit – An excess of federal government spending over tax collections. The federal deficit has been the subject of on-again, off-again debates among vote-seeking politicians and pointy-headed economists for a number of years. The main points of the debate are: (1) the potential crowding out of investment in capital goods, (2) the use of borrowed funds for either “consumption” or “investment” government purchases, and (3) the constraints imposed on fiscal policy. The jury of pointy-heads remains undecided on these issues.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – A program established by Congress in 1933, during the worst of the Great Depression, to insure the deposits of failed banks. Abbreviated FDIC, it operates operates much like any private insurance company. It collects insurance premiums from its customers–the banks–in return for the assurance that it will stand behind, or be ready to pay off, any deposits that the banks can’t.

federal funds – Deposits that banks keep with the Federal Reserve System. These deposits are important for bank stability, clearing checks between banks, money creation, and money supply control. They are also borrowed and loaned between banks through the federal funds market. The interest charged for these loans is the Federal Fund rate.

federal funds market – The market used by banks to borrow and lend bank reserves. In particular, a substantial part of the reserves held by banks are deposits with the Federal Reserve System. On many occasions some banks will have more deposits than they need to meet the Fed’s reserve requirements, while other banks find themselves a little short. It’s a simple matter then for one bank to lend some of these extra reserves to another–usually for no more than a few days. Working on instructions from the banks, the Fed electronically switches funds from one account to another and a federal funds market loan has been completed. The interest rate tacked on by the lending bank is termed the federal funds rate.

federal funds rate – The interest rate that banks charge each other when loaning bank reserves through the federal funds market. This is a key interest rate in the economy because helps to determine banks’ minimum cost of getting funds. If the federal funds rate is higher, then banks are likely to raise the interest rates they charge, like the prime rate, home mortgage rate, or rate on car loans.

Federal Home Loan Bank – This was originally the federal government entity responsible for chartering and regulating savings and loan associations. However, it has evolved into a group of 12 privately owned, government regulated banks that promote community develop and home ownership by providing funds to lending agencies (that is, banks) that are used for home mortgage loans.

Federal Insurance Contributions Act – Commonly abbreviated FICA, this act passed in 1939 established payroll deductions from wage-earning employees and the employers for the Social Security system. This is the noted Social Security tax that wage earners pay and which is then used to provide Social Security benefits to the elderly, disable, and qualified dependents.

Federal Open Market Committee – A part of the Federal Reserve System that’s specifically responsible for directing open market operations, and is more generally charged with guiding the nation’s monetary policy. The FOMC includes the 7 members of the Fed’s Board of Governors and 5 of the 12 presidents of Federal Reserve District Banks. The chairman of the Federal Reserve System is also the chairman of the FOMC. The FOMC meets every 45 days to evaluate monetary policy.

Federal Reserve Bank – One of 37 Banks (12 District and 25 Branch) that comprise the Federal Reserve System. These Banks are largely responsible for supervising, regulating, and interacting with commercial banks and carrying out the policies established by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. The large number of banks, spread across the country is what helps make the Federal Reserve System a very decentralized central bank.

Federal Reserve Branch Bank – One of 25 Federal Reserve Banks that assists Federal Reserve District Banks in carrying Federal Reserve policies. Most Branch banks are located in the expansive western states. For example, 11 Branch banks are located in just 3 Districts, San Francisco, Kansas City, and Dallas.

Federal Reserve deposits – Deposits that commercial banks keep with the Federal Reserve System. Federal Reserve deposits, together with vault cash are the bank reserves that banks use to back up customers’ deposits and otherwise conduct daily transactions, such as processing checks and satisfying customers cash withdrawals. Federal Reserve deposits play three key roles in the banking system. One, they are used by the Federal Reserve system to process of clear checks. Two, they are loaned between commercial banks through the federal funds market. Three, they are used by the Federal Reserve System to control the money supply.

Federal Reserve District Bank – One of 12 Federal Reserve Banks, each in charge of banking activity within its Federal Reserve District. The 12 Districts are centered in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Mineapolis, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco. Presidents from 5 of these 12 Banks serve on the powerful Federal Open Market Committee that conducts monetary policy.

Federal Reserve Districts – The 12 geographic areas of the United States that form the administrative division of the Federal Reserve System. Each of the 12 Districts is headed by a Federal Reserve District Bank and is generally designated by the Reserve Bank City–Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco. Federal Reserve Branch Banks are located in 10 of the 12 Districts.

Federal Reserve note – Paper currency issued by each of the 12 Federal Reserve District Banks in denominations of $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100. Unlike paper currency of the past that was issued by the U. S. Treasury, these notes are backed by the Federal Reserve System. Specifically, each of the 12 Fed District Banks supplies notes within it’s district. Each district bank puts it’s own personal number and stamp (literally to the left of the portrait) on the notes it issues. For example, the number for the Boston District Bank is 1, while San Francisco Bank is 12.

Federal Reserve pyramid – A simple little diagram that depicts the structure of the Federal Reserve System, which is in the shape of triangle (hence the not totally accurate term “pyramid”), with a large base that comes to a peak. The base of the pyramid contains thousands of commercial banks, which rests on a foundation of the millions of people who make up the nonbank public. The middle of the pyramid includes 37 Federal Reserve Banks, including 12 District Banks and 25 Branch Banks. Resting at the top of the pyramid is the Board of Governors, with the Chairman at the very, very top. The top also has two notable offshoots — the Federal Open Market Committee and the Federal Advisory Council.

Federal Reserve System – THE central bank of the United States. It includes a Board of Governors, 12 District Banks, 25 Branch Banks, and assorted committees. The most important of these committees is the Federal Open Market Committee, which directs monetary policy. The Fed (as many like to call it) was established in 1913 and modified significantly during the Great Depression of the 1930s. It’s duties are to maintain the stability of the banking system, regulate banks, and oversee the nation’s money supply.

Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation – Abbreviated FSLIC, this was once the federal entity responsible for insuring the deposits at savings and loan associations (S&Ls;). It performed the same function for S&Ls; that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) performed for traditional banks. However, when a significant number S&Ls; experienced problems in the 1980s and effectively bankrupting the FSLIC, the FDIC assumed the deposit insurance role for any remaining S&Ls;, too.

federal surplus – The difference between federal government spending and taxes when taxes are greater than spending.

Federal Trade Commission – An independent federal agency run by a 5-member commission that’s charged by Congress with preventing unfair and deceptive business activities and other various monopoly practices that tend to inhibit competition. The FTC was set up in 1914 to help the Justice Department enforce a growing number of antitrust laws. It has the authority to restrict assorted market monopolizing practices, such as mergers, false or misleading advertising, price discrimination, and price fixing. Since the time of it’s formation, the FTC has grown into an important consumer protection agency.

Federal Trade Commission Act – This antitrust law passed in 1914 created the Federal Trade Commission to clarify which practices and activities were illegal under antitrust laws. The Federal Trade Commission Act was one of three major antitrust laws passed in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The other two were the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act. In particular, the Federal Trade Commission was responsible for setting the standards for what constituted unfair competition and for investigating business activities that might lead to monopolization of a market or restraint of trade. The Whealer-Lea Act, passed in 1938, was a major amendment t the Federal Trade Commission Act.

fiat money – A medium of exchange (money) with value in exchange, but little or no value in use. Modern paper currency, coins, and checkable deposits are fiat money. The value of fiat money comes from the public’s general willingness to accept it in exchange for other goods. This willingness comes from the fact that EVERYONE is willing to accept fiat money in exchange, which largely depends on the public’s confidence in the authority (usually government) issuing the fiat money. Fiat money is NOT valuable unto itself, but it is valuable for what it can buy.

FICA – The abbreviation for Federal Insurance Contributions Act, passed in 1939, which established payroll deductions from wage-earning employees and the employers for the Social Security system. This is the noted Social Security tax that wage earners pay and which is then used to provide Social Security benefits to the elderly, disable, and qualified dependents.

fiduciary – Relating to confidence or trust of one person in another, especially has it applies to financial matters. For example, you might give a lawyer, broker, or agent might be given fiduciary authority to access your bank account, pay your taxes, or maintain your investments. Alternatively, corporate executive might have the fiduciary authority to enter into contracts, write checks, or otherwise operate as a financial agent for the corporation.

fifth rule of imperfection – The fifth of seven basic rules of the economy. It is the observation that the real world is not perfect. This means markets often fail to achieve efficiency because of several failings. This also means that government seldom enacts the policies needed to correct market failings. We are usually faced with the lesser of evils.

final good – A good (or service) that is available for purchase by the ultimate or intended user with no plans for further physical transformation or as an input in the production of other goods that will be resold. Gross domestic product seeks to measure the market value of final goods. Final goods are purchased through product markets by the four basic macroeconomic sectors (household, business, government, and foreign) as consumption expenditures, investment expenditures, government purchases, and exports. Final goods, which are closely related to the term current production, should be contrasted with intermediate goods–goods (and services) that will be further processed before reaching their ultimate user.

final goods – Goods (or services) that are available for purchase by the ultimate or intended user with no plans for further physical transformation or as an input in the production of other goods that will be resold. Gross domestic product seeks to measure the market value of final goods. Final goods are purchased through product markets by the four basic macroeconomic sectors (household, business, government, and foreign) as consumption expenditures, investment expenditures, government purchases, and exports. Final goods, which are closely related to the term current production, should be contrasted with intermediate goods–goods (and services) that will be further processed before reaching their ultimate user.

final goods and services – Goods and services that are available for purchase by their ultimate or intended user with no plans for further physical transformation or as an input in the production of other goods that will be resold. Gross domestic product seeks to measure the market value of final goods. Final goods are purchased through product markets by the four basic macroeconomic sectors (household, business, government, and foreign) as consumption expenditures, investment expenditures, government purchases, and exports. Final goods, which are closely related to the term current production, should be contrasted with intermediate goods–goods (and services) that will be further processed before reaching their ultimate user.

financial asset – A legal claim to or ownership of a physical asset. Common financial assets are stocks, bonds, money, and government securities. These are also termed paper assets.

financial capital – A legal claim to or ownership of a physical asset. Common financial assets are stocks, bonds, money, and government securities. These are also termed paper assets.

financial intermediary – An intermediary matches up buyers and sellers in a market, is a go-between producers and consumers. A financial intermediary is one that matches up buyers and sellers in financial markets that trade legal claims such as stocks and bonds. Banks are among the most important financial intermediaries in the economy. Others include insurance companies, stock brokers, and mutual fund companies.

financial market – A market that trades financial assets. Financial assets are the legal claims on the real assets in our economy and include such notable items as corporate stocks and bonds, government securities, and money. Without financial markets our economy would find it almost impossible to accumulate the funds needed for investment in big, expensive capital projects.

financial markets – A market that trades financial assets. Financial assets are the legal claims on the real assets in our economy and include such notable items as corporate stocks and bonds, government securities, and money. Without financial markets our economy would find it almost impossible to accumulate the funds needed for investment in big, expensive capital projects.

financial wealth – Assets, or wealth, that is based on ownership of financial assets, such as stocks, bonds, money, and government securities. Also termed paper wealth. Financial wealth represents ownership of physical or real wealth.

aggregate demand determinant financial wealth – One of several specific aggregate demand determinants assumed constant when the aggregate demand curve is constructed, and that shifts the aggregate demand curve when it changes. An increase in financial wealth causes an increase (rightward shift) of the aggregate curve. A decrease in financial wealth causes a decrease (leftward shift) of the aggregate curve. Other notable aggregate demand determinants are interest rates, federal deficit, inflationary expectations, and the money supply.

aggregate expenditures determinant financial wealth – One of several specific aggregate expenditures determinants assumed constant when the aggregate expenditures line is constructed, and that shifts the aggregate expenditures line when it changes. An increase in financial wealth causes an increase (upward shift) of the aggregate expenditures line. A decrease in financial wealth causes a decrease (downward shift) of the aggregate expenditures line. Other notable aggregate expenditures determinants include consumer confidence, federal deficit, inflationary expectations, and exchange rates.

firm – An organization that combines resources for the production and supply of goods and services. The firm is used by entrepreneurs to bring together otherwise unproductive resources. The key role played by a firm is the production of output using the economy’s scarce resources. Firm’s are the means through which society transforms less satisfying resources into more satisfying goods and services. If firms didn’t do this deed, then something else would. And we would probably call those something elses firms.

firm objectives – The standard economic assumption underlying the analysis of firms is profit maximization. Firms are assumed to make decisions that will increase profit. Generally speaking, profit maximization is the process of obtaining the highest possible level of economic profit through the production and sales of goods and services. For a more thorough discussion of this topic, see the profit maximization entry. Real world firms might pursue other objectives including: (1) sales maximization, (2) pursuit of personal welfare, and (3) pursuit of social welfare. In some cases, these other objectives help a firm pursue profit maximization. In other cases, they prevent a firm from maximizing profit.

first estate – In past centuries, this included the religious leaders and clergy. In modern times, I like to use it in reference to politicians and government leaders who can exert a great deal of control over resources through the coercive powers of government. One historical function of the first estate is to protect the less powerful consumers, taxpayers, and workers of the third estate from the market control typically held by the business leaders of the second estate. It is not uncommon, however, for an unhealthy degree of cooperation between the first and second estates, which often ends up with the enslavement of the third estate (figuratively and literally). At times help is forthcoming from the watchdog journalist of the fourth estate–unless they too have been overtaken by the ruling elite.

first rule of scarcity – The first of seven basic rules of the economy. It is the fundamental fact of economic life that he world is faced with limited resources but unlimited wants and needs satisfied from these resources.

first-degree price discrimination – A form of price discrimination in which a seller charges the highest price that buyers are willing and able to pay for each quantity of output sold. This is also termed perfect price discrimination because the seller is able to extract ALL consumer surplus from the buyers. This is one of three price discrimination degrees. The others are second-degree price discrimination and third-degree price discrimination.

fiscal – Relating to government taxation, spending, or financial matters. The term is most often using in combination with other words, such as fiscal budget, fiscal year, or fiscal policy. In each case, the addition of the term “fiscal” means a connection with government financial matters. Fiscal policy, for example, is policy that makes use of government spending and taxation. Fiscal year is then the standard 12-month period government uses for collecting taxes, appropriating spending, and otherwise tabulating its budget.

fiscal budget – A statement of the financial position of government during its fiscal year based on estimates of anticipated tax revenues and expenditures. The U.S. Federal government’s fiscal budget is the source of, and lends its name to, fiscal policy.

fiscal policy – Use of the federal government’s powers of spending and taxation to stabilize the business cycle. If the economy is mired in a recession, then the appropriate fiscal policy is to increase spending or reduce taxes–termed expansionary policy. During periods of high inflation, the opposite actions are needed–contractionary policy. The consequences of fiscal policy are typically observed in terms of the federal deficit.

fiscal year – The 12-month period government uses for collecting taxes, appropriating spending, and otherwise tabulating its budget. A government’s fiscal year need not be identical to the standard January to December calendar year. The fiscal year used by the U.S. Federal government, for example, runs from October through September. State and local governments often have fiscal years running from July through June. For most governments, the fiscal year is self-contained spending period. The revenue appropriated to a government agency needs to be spent during the fiscal year.

fixed cost – In general, cost that does not change with changes in the quantity of output produced. More specifically, fixed cost is combined with the adjectives “total” and “average” to indicate the overall level of fixed cost or the per unit fixed cost. Fixed cost is incurred whether of not any output is produced. The same fixed cost is incurred at any and all output levels. This means that total fixed cost is, in fact, FIXED. However, it also means that average fixed cost, or fixed cost per unit, declines as the output level increases. Spreading out $100 over 1,000 units gives a lower per unit fixed cost that spreading out $100 over 10 units.

fixed exchange rate – An exchange rate that’s established at a given level and maintained through government (usually central bank) actions. To fix the exchange rate, a government must be willing to buy and sell currency in the foreign exchange market in whatever amounts are necessary. A fixed exchange rate typically disrupts a nation’s balance of trade and balance of payments. If the exchange rate is fixed too low, then a government needs to sell it’s currency in the foreign exchange market, and may end up expanding the money supply too much, which then causes inflation. If the exchange rate is fixed too high, then export sales to other countries are curtailed and the economy is likely to slide into a recession.

fixed factor of production – An input whose quantity cannot be changed in the time period under consideration. This usually goes by the shorter term fixed input and should be immediately compared and contrasted with variable factor of production, which goes by the shorter term variable input. The most common example of a fixed factor of production is capital. A fixed factor of production provides the “capacity” constraint for the short-run production of a firm. As larger quantities of a variable factor of production, like labor, are added to a fixed factor of production like capital, the variable input becomes less productive. This is, by the way, the law of diminishing marginal returns. For more detailed discussion, take a look at the shorter, more commonly used alias of fixed factor of production, which is fixed input.

fixed input – An input in the production of goods and services that does not change in the short run. A fixed input should be compared with a variable input, an input that DOES change in the short run. Fixed and variable inputs are most important for the analysis of short-run production by a firm. The best example of a fixed input is the factory, building, equipment, or other capital used in production. The comparable example of a variable input would then be the labor or workers who work in the factory or operate the equipment. In the short run (such as a day or so) a firm can vary the quantity of labor, but the quantity of capital is fixed.

fixed investment – Capital investment expenditures for factories, machinery, tools, and buildings. This is one of two main categories of gross private domestic investment included in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The other category is change in business inventories. This is that category is about generally about 95-97% of gross private domestic investment and that includes the capital goods that best reflects what most people consider capital investment. This category includes factories, machinery, tools, and buildings.

fixed structures – One of three types of capital goods purchased with investment expenditures. Fixed structures include buildings, factories, and other capital goods that are essentially fixed to the ground. The other types of capital are equipment and inventories.

flexible prices – The proposition that prices adjust in the long run in response to market shortages or surpluses. This condition is most important for long-run macroeconomic activity and long-run aggregate market analysis. In particular, flexible prices are the key reason for the vertical slope of the long-run aggregate supply curve. This proposition is also central to original classical theory of macroeconomics and to modern variations, including rational expectations, new classical theory, and supply-side economics.

floating exchange rate – An exchange rate determined through the unrestricted interaction of supply and demand in the foreign exchange market. A floating exchange rate means that a nation’s government is NOT trying to manipulate currency prices to achieve some change in the exports or imports.

flow – A variable or measurement that is defined for a period of time (as opposed to an instant in time). A flow can only be measured over a period. For example, GDP is the flow of production during a given year. Income is another flow measures important to the study of economics.

FOMC – The abbreviation for Federal Open Market Committee, which is a part of the Federal Reserve System that’s specifically responsible for directing open market operations, and is more generally charged with guiding the nation’s monetary policy. The FOMC includes the 7 members of the Fed’s Board of Governors and 5 of the 12 presidents of Federal Reserve District Banks. The chairman of the Federal Reserve System is also the chairman of the FOMC. By design, the 7 members of the Board of Governors can always outvote the 5 district bank presidents. The FOMC meets every 45 days to evaluate monetary policy.

Food and Drug Administration – An agency of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services that deals with the safety and effectiveness of food, cosmetics, drugs, and medical implements. It was formally established in 1906 to investigate and test what turned out to be some pretty dangerous and disgusting food additives that were being fed to an unaware public. The FDA is now charged with the task of keeping food and drugs free of hazardous additives and to ensure that they perform as promised. Drugs must undergo rigorous, lengthy tests on animals and humans to prove they’re safe and effective.

For Whom? – One of three basic questions of allocation (What? and How? are the other two). Answering the “For Whom?” question of allocation determines who receives the goods that society produces with limited resources. Answering the “For Whom” question involves related questions such as, should goods be distributed to people according to incomes and ability to buy (contributive standard), wants and needs (needs standard), political affiliation, or some other criterion (perhaps equality standard)?

forecasting – The process of anticipating and predicting economic conditions months or years before fact using statistical estimation techniques the model economic activity. Forecasting most often employs sophisticated mathematical models (with hundreds equations). However, specific measures (such as the stock market) or composite indexes that have been shown to lead economic activity (that is, leading economic indicator) are also effectively used for forecasting.

foreclosure – A legal move to acquire possession of mortgaged property when the borrower is unable to pay off the loan or make payments according to the conditions of the loan. In other words, if you can’t make your house payments, the bank (or lender) can boot you out and take your house. The house can then be sold to pay off all or part of the loan. One of the more notable things about foreclosure for members of the third estate is that the rules and procedures differ from state to state. If you anticipate foreclosure activity, it might be worth your while to find out the specifics in your locale.

foreign – All economic activity that is “outside” the confines of a domestic economy. For the United States, this would be consumers, workers, businesses, and governments that lie beyond the U.S. national boundaries.

foreign aid – Gifts, loans, technical assistance, and other assorted transfers from one country to another that are intended to improve conditions in the receiving nation. The U. S. has been a major player in this foreign aid game throughout much of the twentieth century. However, most of the more developed countries of the world give aid to the lesser developed ones.

foreign direct investment – The acquisition of controlling interest in foreign firms and businesses from one country in another country. Abbreviated FDI, foreign direct investment can also take the form of constructing factories, structures and equipment (or any form of physical capital) in foreign soil. FDI does not include foreign investment into the stock markets (portfolio investment). Most economists consider foreign direct investment more useful than portfolio investment since this last one is generally regarded as temporal and can leave the foreign country at the first sign of trouble. FDI on the other hand, is considered more durable and with larger economic (potential) benefits.

foreign exchange – Any financial instrument that gives one country a claim on the currency of another country and which is used to make payments between countries. The most important type of foreign exchange is currency itself, that is, the currency of other countries. However foreign exchange also includes things like bank checks and “bills of exchange” (a sort of contract that’s paid for with the currency of one nation that can be then traded for the currency of another country).

foreign exchange market – A market that trades foreign exchange. The currencies of the advanced nations, and many of the lesser developed ones, are at the top of what’s traded in this market. The price at which one currency is traded for another in this market is the exchange rate. Like many “markets” this one is not located at any particular place, but includes transactions around the globe. As you might expect, banks handle a lot of these transactions.

foreign exchange rate – The price of one nation’s currency in terms of another nation’s currency. This is often called the just exchange rate. The foreign exchange rate is specified as the amount of one currency that can be traded per unit of another.

foreign investment – The purchase of financial and physical assets in one country by businesses and residents of another. Business that call one country their home, especially those from more advanced nations, have found it advantageous to construct factories, establish distribution centers, buy corporate stock, or otherwise invest in the assets of another country. Foreign investment indicates that an economy is relatively productive and worthy of investment by others.

foreign sector – The basic macroeconomic sector that includes everyone and everything outside the political boundaries of the domestic economy. This includes households, businesses, and governments in other countries. This is one of four macroeconomic sectors. The other three are household sector, business sector, and government sector. In terms of the circular flow model of the economy, the foreign sector is responsible for net export expenditures on gross domestic product.

foreign trade – Exchange of goods and services between countries. The inclination for one country to trade with another is based in large part on the idea of comparative advantage–which says that any country, no matter how technologically disadvantaged it might be, can always find some sort of good that will let it enter the game of foreign trade. In this sense, foreign trade is just an extension of the production, exchange, and consumption that’s a fundamental part of life. The only difference with foreign trade is that producers and consumers reside in separate countries.

Fortune 500 – A list of the 500 largest (in terms of sales) publicly held corporations in the good old U. S. of A., as compiled and published by Fortune magazine. While other business-oriented magazines publish similar lists, this one has come to symbolize the largest, most powerful bastions of the second estate. For a business to achieve ranking on the Fortune 500 is a mark of success. For consumers, the Fortune 500 is often a mark of powerlessness. If you’re interested, Fortune also provides a list of the 500 largest foreign companies, and separate lists of the 50 largest banks; utilities; and retail, transportation and diversified financial companies.

four-firm concentration ratio – The proportion of total output in an industry that’s produced by the four largest firms in the industry. This is one of two common concentration ratios. The other is the eight-firm concentration ratio. The four-firm concentration ratio is commonly used to indicate the degree to which an industry is oligopolistic and how market control is held by the four largest firms in the industry.

four-sector aggregate expenditures line – A graphical depiction of the relation between aggregate expenditures by the four macroeconomic sectors (household, business, government, and foreign) and the level of aggregate income or production. The four-sector aggregate expenditures line combines consumption expenditures, investment expenditures, government purchases, and net exports. The slope of this aggregate expenditures line is based on the marginal propensity to consume, adjusted for marginal propensities of the other expenditures that are assumed to be induced when constructing the line. This is one of three aggregate expenditures lines based on the number of sectors included. The others are the two-sector aggregate expenditures line and the three-sector aggregate expenditures line.

four-sector injections-leakages model – A model used to identify equilibrium in Keynesian economics based on injections (investment, government purchases, and exports) and leakages (saving, taxes, and imports) for all four sectors (household, business, government, and foreign). Equilibrium is achieved at the intersection of the S + T + M line, and I + G + X line.

four-sector Keynesian model – A model used to identify equilibrium in Keynesian economics based on aggregate expenditures by all four sectors (household, business, government, and foreign). Equilibrium is achieved at the intersection of the aggregate expenditures line, AE = C + I + G + (X – M), and the 45-degree line, Y = AE. This is the complete Keynesian aggregate expenditures model can be used to analyzed the impact of the foreign sector on aggregate expenditures and equilibrium.

three-market circular flow four-sector – A circular flow model of the macroeconomy containing four sectors (business, household, government, and foreign) and three markets (product, factor, and financial) that illustrates the continuous movement of the payments for goods and services between producers and consumers, with particular emphasis on exports and imports. Other circular models are two-sector, two-market circular flow; two-sector, three-market circular flow; and three-sector, three-market circular flow.

fourth estate – The journalist, reporters, and other media representatives who keep a watchful eye on the evil-doings of the first and second estates and hopefully provide valuable information to the consumers, workers, and taxpayers of the third estate. However, in that news and journalism has become, along with other businesses, a mega-gadzillion dollar industry, many fourth estate watchdogs have become card-carrying members of the second estate (and some even the first estate). As such, some journalists are more concerned with protecting and promoting business and government interests than consumer interests.

fourth rule of competition – The fourth of seven basic rules of the economy. It is the notion that competition among market buyers and sellers generate an efficient allocation of resources. Competition depends on the relative number of buyers and sellers. Fewer numbers give that side of the market relatively more market control and thus limits competition.

fractional-reserve banking – A system in which banks keep less than 100 percent of their deposits in the form of bank reserves and use the rest for interest-paying loans. Banks in the good old U. S. of A., as well as those in most other modern countries, practice this system of fractional-reserve banking.

franchising – A special type of vertical integration where one firm (the franchisor) sells a proven method of doing business or authorizes the right to carry the brand name to an individual or to another firm (the franchisee). Depending on the contract to conduct this subsidiary business, the franchisee usually operates under the supervision of the franchisor in exchange of a fee.

free enterprise – A term that’s often used, erroneously, in reference to capitalism. In principle, free enterprise is an economy in which businesses and consumers are “free” to engage their resources in any desired production, consumption, or exchange without government restriction, regulation, or control.

free good – A resource is free if it can produce all of the goods people want or need it to produce… and then some. Being free, however, doesn’t mean a resource is not limited. Maybe it’s free because people just can”t figure out what to do with it. Or if it is used for production, people don”t want all that’s produced. For most of the time across most of this planet air is a free good. In other words, there is plenty of air to go around, plenty of air to satisfy all of the existing wants and needs. Does this mean that air is NOT valuable? Quite the contrary. Air is extremely valuable. It provides one of the most important inputs into human life. It’s a free resource because there’s enough to go around.

free lunch – The consumption of hunger-satisfying food products during the middle of the day, usually around the noon hour, the acquisition of which imposes no opportunity cost on society. Given the fundamental problem of scarcity (the combination of limited resources and unlimited wants and needs), the acquisition of hunger-satisfying food products without imposing an opportunity cost on others is not possible.

free market – A competitive market that is unrestrained by government control or regulations, especially price floors, price ceilings, or taxes. In such a market the forces of demand and supply eliminate any shortages and surpluses move the market to the equilibrium price and quantity. If the free market is competitive (with large numbers of buyers and sellers) and is not infected with other market failures, such as externalities, then equilibrium price results with equality between the demand price and the supply price. This means that equilibrium is also efficient.

free resource – A resource is free if it can produce all of the goods people want or need it to produce… and then some. Being free, however, doesn’t mean a resource is not limited. Maybe it’s free because people just can”t figure out what to do with it. Or if it is used for production, people don”t want all that’s produced. For most of the time across most of this planet air is a free good. In other words, there is plenty of air to go around, plenty of air to satisfy all of the existing wants and needs. Does this mean that air is NOT valuable? Quite the contrary. Air is extremely valuable. It provides one of the most important inputs into human life. It’s a free resource because there’s enough to go around.

free resources – A resource is free if it can produce all of the goods people want or need it to produce… and then some. Being free, however, doesn’t mean a resource is not limited. Maybe it’s free because people just can”t figure out what to do with it. Or if it is used for production, people don”t want all that’s produced. For most of the time across most of this planet air is a free good. In other words, there is plenty of air to go around, plenty of air to satisfy all of the existing wants and needs. Does this mean that air is NOT valuable? Quite the contrary. Air is extremely valuable. It provides one of the most important inputs into human life. It’s a free resource because there’s enough to go around.

free trade – The absence of trade barriers, or restrictions on foreign trade. Based on the notion of comparative advantage, unrestricted trade is generally beneficial to a trading country. However, while consumers benefit through a greater selection of products and lower prices, producers in a country are on the receiving end of lower prices and stiffer competition. In that producers tend to have more political clout than consumers, completely, unhindered free trade is seldom seen in the real world. Numerous trade restrictions such as tariffs, nontariff barriers, and quotas are usually the rule of the day (also the rule of the week, year, decade and century).

Free Trade Area of the Americas – The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) is an effort to unite the economies of the Americas into a single free trade area. The origin of this multilateral organization goes back to the Summit of the Americas, which was held in December 1994 in Miami, U.S.A. The Heads of State and Government of the 34 democracies in the region agreed to construct a Free Trade Area of the Americas, in which barriers to trade and investment will be progressively eliminated. They agreed to complete negotiations towards this agreement by the year 2005 and to achieve substantial progress toward building the FTAA by 2000. Nine FTAA Negotiating Groups were created in the following areas: market access; investment; services; government procurement; dispute settlement; agriculture; intellectual property rights; subsidies, antidumping and countervailing duties; and competition policy.

free-rider problem – The inclination to enjoy the benefit of a good without paying for it–if you don’t have to. This is the main reason public goods are produced by government. Most people won’t voluntarily pay for a public good, because excludability means they can get it without paying–a free ride. With a large number of free riders–perhaps everyone–voluntary payments like those occurring in markets won’t provide enough revenue to pay production costs. The only way to finance public goods is to force free-riders, and everyone else, to pay through taxes.

free-trade area – An agreement among two or more nations to eliminate trade barriers with each other. There is no attempt, however, to adopt a common trade policy with other nations, to allow free movement of resources among the countries, or to adopt common monetary or fiscal policies. This is considered the first of four levels of integration among nations. See common market, customs union, economic union for the other levels.

frictional unemployment – Unemployment attributable to the time required to match production activities with qualified resources. Frictional unemployment essentially occurs because resources, especially labor, are in the process of moving from one production activity to another. Employers are seeking workers and workers are seeking employment, the two sides just haven’t matched up. Hence unemployment of the frictional variety increases. This mismatch is largely the result of limited information, which is often compounded by geographic separation between producer and resource. Frictional unemployment is one of four unemployment sources. The other three are cyclical unemployment, seasonal unemployment, and structural unemployment.

friendly acquisition – In the world of mergers, the willing acquisition of one company by another through the purchase of controlling interest in the stock of the acquired company. A friendly acquisition, also termed friendly takeover, is a common method for two companies to merge and is best contrasted with a hostile acquisition.

friendly takeover – In the world of mergers, the willing acquisition of one company by another through the purchase of controlling interest in the stock of the acquired company. A friendly takeover, also termed friendly acquisition, is a common method for two companies to merge and is best contrasted with a hostile takeover.

fringe benefit – A nonwage benefit or payment to, on the behalf of, labor apart from a monetary wage payment. Common fringe benefits include health insurance, life insurance, retirement, unemployment benefits, payroll tax, vacation and sick leave, stock options, and travel. The attainment of Fringe benefits was one of the primary goals of the labor union movement and remains a major point of negotiation during collective bargaining between labor and management.

fringe firms – A term employed in industrial organization to describe a group of small price taking firms that follow a dominant firm in a market. That is, fringe firms in a market follow the price leadership of the dominant firm. The dominant price sets a price and small fringe firms take it as given. Each firm has usually a small market share although all fringe firms together can have a substantial market share.

FRS – The abbreviation for Federal Reserve System, which is THE central bank of the United States. It includes a Board of Governors, 12 District Banks, 25 Branch Banks, and assorted committees. The most important of these committees is the Federal Open Market Committee, which directs monetary policy. The Fed (as many like to call it) was established in 1913 and modified significantly during the Great Depression of the 1930s. It’s duties are to maintain the stability of the banking system, regulate banks, and oversee the nation’s money supply.

FSLIC – The abbreviation for Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation, which was once the federal entity responsible for insuring the deposits at savings and loan associations (S&Ls;). It performed the same function for S&Ls; that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) performed for traditional banks. However, when a significant number S&Ls; experienced problems in the 1980s and effectively bankrupting the FSLIC, the FDIC assumed the deposit insurance role for any remaining S&Ls;, too.

FTAA – The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) is an effort to unite the economies of the Americas into a single free trade area. The origin of this multilateral organization goes back to the Summit of the Americas, which was held in December 1994 in Miami, U.S.A. The Heads of State and Government of the 34 democracies in the region agreed to construct a Free Trade Area of the Americas, in which barriers to trade and investment will be progressively eliminated. They agreed to complete negotiations towards this agreement by the year 2005 and to achieve substantial progress toward building the FTAA by 2000. Nine FTAA Negotiating Groups were created in the following areas: market access; investment; services; government procurement; dispute settlement; agriculture; intellectual property rights; subsidies, antidumping and countervailing duties; and competition policy.

FTC – The abbreviation for Federal Trade Commission, which is an independent federal agency run by a 5-member commission that’s charged by Congress with preventing unfair and deceptive business activities and other various monopoly practices that tend to inhibit competition. The FTC was set up in 1914 to help the Justice Department enforce a growing number of antitrust laws. It has the authority to restrict assorted market monopolizing practices, such as mergers, false or misleading advertising, price discrimination, and price fixing. Since the time of it’s formation, the FTC has grown into an important consumer protection agency.

full employment – In principle, this is when all of our economy’s resources are being used to produce output. This is one of the five economic goals, specifically one of the three macro goals (the other two are economic growth and stability). In practice, our economy is considered to be at full employment when the unemployment rate is around 5 to 5 1/2 percent and the capacity utilization rate is about 85 percent. This unemployment rate includes structural and frictional unemployment.

long-run aggregate supply full employment – The condition that exists when all resources are engaged in production. In practice, however, this condition is virtually impossible to achieve. An economy will ALWAYS have some unemployed resources, particularly frictionally and structurally unemployed resources. The key characteristic of long-run aggregate supply is that full-employment production is maintained at ALL price levels. In the long run, when all prices and wages are flexible, all markets (financial, product, and especially resource) are in equilibrium, and the level of real production fully employs all available resources.

production possibilities full employment – Full employment is the condition that exists when all available resources are engaged in the production of goods and services. In other words, all resources that could be used for production are being used. No resources are idle. All resources are producing goods. If you haven’t examined the entry on full employment, now would be a good time.

full-employment budget – A hypothetical federal budget that would exist if the economy were at full employment. Differences between the actual federal budget and the full-employment budget result from taxes and expenditures that depend on gross domestic product. The full-employment budget indicates whether any of the federal government’s fiscal policy is over- or under-stimulating the economy given the current position in the business cycle. During a recession the federal deficit should be just enough to generate a balanced budget at full employment. The same result is desirable if we’re running a surplus with inflation. If the full-employment budget is NOT balanced, however, then we’re doing too much or too little by way of fiscal policy and changes are in order.

full-employment output – The quantity of real production or real aggregate output (or better yet, real gross domestic product) produced by the macroeconomy when resources are at full employment. For all practical purposes, full-employment real production is real GDP produced when unemployment is at it’s natural level, the combination of frictional and structural unemployment that can be maintained without inflation (or deflation either). For the aggregate market analysis, this is the level of real production achieved and maintained in the long run. The long-run aggregate supply curve is vertical at full-employment real production.

full-employment production – The quantity of real production or real aggregate output (or better yet, real gross domestic product) produced by the macroeconomy when resources are at full employment. For all practical purposes, full-employment real production is real GDP produced when unemployment is at it’s natural level, the combination of frictional and structural unemployment that can be maintained without inflation (or deflation either). For the aggregate market analysis, this is the level of real production achieved and maintained in the long run. The long-run aggregate supply curve is vertical at full-employment real production.

full-employment real production – The quantity of real production or real aggregate output (or better yet, real gross domestic product) produced by the macroeconomy when resources are at full employment. For all practical purposes, full-employment real production is real GDP produced when unemployment is at it’s natural level, the combination of frictional and structural unemployment that can be maintained without inflation (or deflation either). For the aggregate market analysis, this is the level of real production achieved and maintained in the long run. The long-run aggregate supply curve is vertical at full-employment real production.

full-reserve banking – A (hypothetical) method of banking in which banks keep 100 percent of their deposits in the form of bank reserves, meaning there are no deposits available for interest-paying loans. Full-reserve banking is one of two theoretical alternatives designed to help illustrate a contrast to the fractional-reserve banking actually practiced by modern banks. The other alternative is no-reserve banking. With full-reserve a bank essentially operates as a storage business, merely storing customer deposits until they are withdrawn.

futures – An agreement to complete the sale of a commodity at a pre-determined price on some future date. Much of the real stuff that consumers buy is what is usually termed a spot transactions. You buy the stuff, pay the price, and take it home with you. While financial markets have a substantial number of these spot transactions they are also heavily into futures transactions.

G – The standard abbreviation for government purchases by the governement sector, especially when used in the study of macroeconomics. This abbreviation is most often seen in the aggregate expenditure equation, AE = C + I + G + (X – M), where C, I, and (X – M) represent expenditures by the other three macroeconomic sectors, household, business, and foreign.

G-20 – In 1999, the Finance Ministers of the Group of Seven (G-7) leading industrialized nations announced the creation of the Group of Twenty (G-20). This international forum of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors represents 19 countries, the European Union and the Bretton Woods Institutions (the International Monetary Fund -IMF– and the World Bank). The G-20 promotes discussion, and studies and reviews policy issues among industrialized countries and emerging markets with a view to promoting international financial stability. Member countries include: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

G-7 – The common abbreviation for the Group of Seven, which is seven of the most advanced and industrialized nations of the world–the United States, Britain, France, Italy, Canada, Germany, and Japan–that meet regularly to coordinate fiscal and monetary policies. Their actions are based on the proposition that our global economy and the individual countries are better off through cooperation than conflict.

G-77 – The Group of 77 (G-77) was established in 1964 by seventy-seven developing countries signatories of the “Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Countries” under the auspices of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva. As the largest Third World coalition in the United Nations, the Group of 77 provides the means for the developing world to articulate and promote its collective economic interests and enhance its joint negotiating capacity on all major international economic issues in the United Nations system. They also strive to promote economic and technical cooperation among developing countries. Although the membership of the G-77 has increased to 135 countries, the original name was retained because of its historic significance.

G-8 – The common abbreviation for the Group of Eight, which includes the seven of the most advanced and industrialized nations of the world known as the G-7–the United States, Britain, France, Italy, Canada, Germany, and Japan–plus Russia. That is, the G-8 is the G-7 plus Russia, which effectively replaced the G-7 in 1998. They meet regularly to coordinate fiscal and monetary policies. Their actions are based on the proposition that our global economy and the individual countries are better off through cooperation than conflict.

game theory – An analysis that illustrates how choices between two plays affect the outcome of a “game.” Game theory is commonly used in economics to illustrate interdependent decision-making among oligopoly firms. It illustrates that one firm makes a decision based on the decision expected from the other firm. One key conclusion from the game theory analysis is that firms often make decisions that are “second best” or the “lesser of two evils.” The classic example of such a decision is the prisoners’ dilemma, in which two prisoners both confess to a crime to avoid harsher punishment when not confessing would avoid any punishment.

GATT – The abbreviation for the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. A treaty, signed in 1947 by 23 countries including the United States, that was designed to reduce trade barriers. It now carries the signatures of about 100 countries and over the years has been pretty darn effective in reducing tariffs, eliminating some import quotas, and promoting commerce.

GDI – The abbreviation for gross domestic income, which is the total market value of all final goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually a year, as calculated using the income approach to measuring gross domestic product. Gross domestic income is virtually identical to gross domestic product (GDP), with one minor difference, the statistical discrepancy. As a matter of fact, the statistical discrepancy is identified as the difference between GDP and GDI.

GDP – The total market value of all goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually one year. This is the government’s official measure of how much output our economy produces. It’s tabulated and reported by the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which is part of the U. S. Department of Commerce. Gross domestic product is one of several measures reported regularly (every three months) by the pointy-headed folks at the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

GDP deflator – A price index based on the calculation of real gross domestic product that’s used as an indicator of average prices in the economy. Those loveable economists who spend their days and nights compiling and estimating the size of our economic pie provide estimates of gross domestic product in both nominal dollars and real dollars.

GDP price deflator – A price index calculated as the ratio nominal gross domestic product to real gross domestic product. Also commonly referred to as the implicit price deflator, the GDP price deflator is used as an indicator of the economy’s average price level. This price index is tabulated and reported every three months along with the gross domestic product, national income, and related measures that make up the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). If you haven’t guessed already, the GDP part of GDP price deflator stands for gross domestic product.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade – A treaty, signed in 1947 by 23 countries including the United States, that was designed to reduce trade barriers. It now carries the signatures of about 100 countries and over the years has been pretty darn effective in reducing tariffs, eliminating some import quotas, and promoting commerce.

general strike – A strike by a majority of the workers in key industries throughout a country in a particular region of the country. This type of strike is different in both magnitude and intent than that of a strike against a specific firm or industry. In particular, a general strike involves virtually every union regardless of industry or occupation. In addition, the intent of a general strike is to bring the economy to a standstill as a means of forcing major structural changes in the economy or society. Such a strike has been effectively used from time to time, but because it does shut down the economy and imposes hardships on almost everyone.

geographic mobility – The mobility, or movement, of factors of production from a productive activity in one location to a productive activity in another location. In particular, geographic mobility is the ease with which resources can change locations. For example, a worker leaves a job in one city and takes a job in another city. Some factors are highly mobile and thus are easily moved between cities, states, and even countries. Other factors are highly immobile and not easily relocated. You might want to compare geographic mobility with occupation mobility, the movement of factors from one type of productive activity to another type of productive activity.

Giffen good – A rare type of good seldom seen in the real world, in which a change in price causes quantity demanded to change in the same direction (in violation of the law of demand). In other words, an increase in the price of a Giffen good results in an increase in the quantity demanded. The existence of a Giffen good requires the existence of special circumstances. First, the good must be an inferior good. Second, the income effect triggered by a change in price must overwhelm the substitution effect. A Giffen good is most likely to result when the good is a significant share of the consumer’s budget.

gift tax – A tax on the transfer of assets from one person to another. The gift tax is different from estate and inheritance taxes in that it applies to people who are still alive. In fact, the gift tax was created because people sought to avoid estate and inheritance taxes by giving their stuff away before dying. But all gifts are not taxed. There are both annual and lifetime exemptions on gifts subject to this tax. These exemptions are changed from time to time, so you might want to investigate further if you happened to hit the big jackpot on a television game show. Some, but not necessarily all of that prize is likely to be taxed.

Gini index – One of the most common measures of income or wealth distributions. It indicates how equal, or unequal, income, wealth, or similar stuff is distributed among the population. If you happen to come across a Gini index, you’ll see that it falls in the range of 0 to 1. A value of 0 tells you that the distribution is perfectly equal, that is, everyone has exactly the same amount of income, wealth, or whatever. A value of 1, however, tells you that the distribution is what we could call perfectly unequal, that is, one person has everything and everyone else has nothing.

globalization – The generalized expansion of international economic activity which includes increased international trade, growth of international investment (foreign investment) and international migration, and increased proliferation of technology among countries. Globalization is the increasing world-wide integration of markets for goods, services, labor, and capital. It is an ongoing process that started several centuries ago. However, most people would agree that today we are in a period of rapid globalization as international economic activity has accelerated in the last 200 years or so.

GNP – The abbreviation for gross national product, which is the total market value of all goods and services produced by the citizens of an economy during a given period of time, usually one year. Gross national product, often was once the federal government’s official measure of how much output our economy produces. In the early 1990s, however, it was replaced by gross domestic product (GDP).

goals – Five basic conditions of the economy that are generally desired by society. They are typically divided into macro goals (full employment, stability and growth) and micro goals (efficiency and equity).

gold certificate – Paper currency issued by the U. S. Treasury from the civil war until 1933 that could be exchanged for an equal value of gold. Gold certificates were used as part of a gold standard. With the exception of collectors, gold certificates have long been out of circulation, replaced first by silver certificates, then in the past few decades by Federal Reserve notes.

gold standard – Use of gold as the standard for valuing a nation’s currency. A gold standard can take at least three different forms, most of which have been part of the American economic landscape. (1) Gold is used as the money in circulation. (2) Gold is used to back up paper money in circulation. This involves the use of something like a gold certificate, such that the number of certificates in circulation is the same as the amount of gold stored someplace like Fort Knox. (3) Gold is used to fix the exchange price of paper currency in circulation. In this case, the currency could, in principle, be exchanged for some predetermined amount of gold. In other words, the price of gold is fixed in terms of dollars.

goldsmith banking – An analysis of banking functions based on the semi-realistic activities of the goldsmith profession of Medieval Europe. Because the gold used a production inputs by goldsmiths was also used as money, they developed many modern banking functions, including maintaining deposits, making loans, keeping reserves, and creating money. While the story of goldsmith banking is often embellished for instructional purposes, it does contain the essence of how goldsmiths operated as banks.

goldsmith money creation – An illustration of the basic money creation process undertaken by banks using the hypothetical activities of a hypothetical goldsmith. The goldsmith profession of Medieval Europe provides insight into the modern banking business, including the seemingly magical ability of banks to create valuable money out of inputs with significantly less value.

good – When used without an adjective modifier (like “final” good or “intermediate” good), this generically means a physical, tangible product used to satisfy people’s wants and needs . This term good should be contrasted with the term service, which captures the intangible satisfaction of wants and needs. As such, you will frequently see the plural combination of these two phrases together “goods and services” to indicate the wide assortment of economic goods produced using the economy’s scarce resources. As you might imagine this general notion of wants and needs satisfying goods and services pops up throughout the study of economics.

good types – We can identify four different types of goods based on two key characteristics — rival consumption and excludability. Private that are rival in consumption and easily subject to the exclusion of nonpayers. Public goods that are nonrival in consumption and the exclusion of nonpayers is virtually impossible. Near-public goods that are nonrival in consumption and easily subject to the exclusion. Common-property goods that are rival in consumption and not easily subject to the exclusion.

goods – When used without an adjective modifier (like “final” goods or “intermediate” goods), this generically means physical, tangible products used to satisfy people’s wants and needs. This term good should be contrasted with the term services, which captures the intangible satisfaction of wants and needs. As such, you will frequently see the plural combination of these two phrases together “goods and services” to indicate the wide assortment of economic goods produced using the economy’s scarce resources. As you might imagine this general notion of wants and needs satisfying goods and services pops up throughout the study of economics.

government – A political body exercising control and authority over a group of individuals. Governments allocate resources based on laws and the command of the government.

government borrowing – The demand for loans obtained through the financial markets by the government sector to finance government purchases over and above taxes. In terms of the circular flow, this is one of two demands for household saving diverted into financial markets, the other is investment borrowing.

government consumption expenditures and gross investment – The official item in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis measuring government purchases undertaken by the government sector. Government consumption expenditures and gross investment averages between 15-20% of gross domestic product. This percentage tends to be ebb and flow a little with the political winds.

government debt – The total amount of all government securities outstanding. This is also frequently termed the public debt.

government enterprises – Government owned and operated productive activities that operate much like private sector firms. They hire resources and purchase other inputs, then produce goods that are sold through markets. In some cases, government enterprises compete directly with private firms. One common example of a government enterprise is a city-operated electrical generation and distribution system. In some cities, this service is provided by private, for-profit, businesses and in other cities it is provided by government. Other examples of government enterprises include urban transportation systems, parks and recreational facilities, and communication systems.

government expenditures – Spending by the government sector including both the purchase of final goods and services, or gross domestic product, and transfer payments. Government expenditures are used by the government sector to undertake key functions, such as national defense and education. These expenditures are financed with a combination of taxes and borrowing.

government functions – Activities that are more efficiently performed by government than by private sector households and business. In fact, historical evidence (that is, 10,000 years of civilization–more or less) strongly indicates that we, regularly human-being-type people, are willing to put of with the coercive shenanigans of government (taxes, laws, regulations, abuse of power, oppression of the masses, meaningless wars) only because government does perform useful functions. Fire is the best analogy for government. When raging out of control both fire and government can cause horrific devastation. But when controlled, both can provide unparalleled good.

government intervention – Actions on the part of government that affect economic activity, resource allocation, and especially the voluntary decisions made through normal market exchanges. Government, by its very nature, is designed to intervene in voluntary market activity. Some of the more common types of government intervention includes taxes, price controls, assorted regulations, and control over government spending. The general justification for government intervention is that voluntary decisions by consumers and businesses fail to achieve efficiency or other goals deemed important by society.

government policies – Government actions designed to affect economic activity and pursue one or more economic goals. Also called economic policies. The four common types of government policies are: fiscal, monetary, regulatory, and judicial.

government purchases – Expenditures on final goods and services (that is, gross domestic product) undertaken by the government sector. Government purchases are used to operate the government (administrative salaries, etc.) and to provide public goods (national defense, highways, etc.). Government purchases do not include other government spending for transfer payments. These are expenditures on final goods by all three levels of government: federal, state, and local governments. Government purchases are financed by a mix of taxes and borrowing.

government purchases determinants – Ceteris paribus factors, other than aggregate income or production, that are held constant when the government purchases line is constructed and which cause the government purchases line to shift when they change. Some of the more important government purchases determinants are fiscal policy and politics.

government purchases line – A graphical depiction of the relation between government purchases and national income (or gross domestic product) that plays a role in Keynesian economics and the Keynesian cross. The slope of this line is positive, greater than zero, less than one, and goes by the name marginal propensity for government purchases. The vertical intercept of this line is autonomous government purchases. The aggregate expenditures line used in the Keynesian cross is obtained by adding this government purchases line, as well as, investment expenditures and net exports, to the consumption line. The government purchases line is also combined with investment expenditures for the Keynesian saving-investment model.

government purchases of goods and services – Expenditures on final goods and services (that is, gross domestic product) undertaken by the government sector. The official entry for government purchases in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis is termed government consumption expenditures and gross investment. Government purchases are used to operate the government (administrative salaries, etc.) and to provide public goods (national defense, highways, etc.). Government purchases do not include other government spending for transfer payments. These are expenditures on final goods by all three levels of government: federal, state, and local governments.

government sector – The basic macroeconomic sector that includes all levels of government, including federal, state, and local. The primary function of the government sector is to force resource allocation decisions that might not otherwise be made by the rest of the economy. This is one of four macroeconomic sectors. The other three are household sector, business sector, and foreign sector.

government securities – Financial instruments used by the federal government to borrow money. Government securities are issued by the U.S. Treasury to cover the federal government’s budget deficit. Much like consumers who borrow money from banks to finance the purchase of a house or car, the federal government borrows money to finance some of its expenditures. These securities include small denomination ($25, $50, or $100), nonnegotiable Series EE savings bonds purchased by consumers. The really serious money, however, is borrowed using larger denomination securities ($100,000 or more) purchased by banks, corporations, foreign governments, and others with large sums of money to lend.

government security – A financial instrument used by the federal government to borrow money. Government securities are issued by the U.S. Treasury to cover the federal government’s budget deficit. Much like consumers who borrow money from banks to finance the purchase of a house or car, the federal government borrows money to finance some of its expenditures. These securities include small denomination ($25, $50, or $100), nonnegotiable Series EE savings bonds purchased by consumers. The really serious money, however, is borrowed using larger denomination securities ($100,000 or more) purchased by banks, corporations, foreign governments, and others with large sums of money to lend.

government subsidies – Transfer payments from the government sector to the business sector that do not involve current production. This is one component of the official entry government subsidies less current surplus of government enterprises found in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis that separates national income (the resource cost of production) and gross/net domestic product (the market value of production).

government subsidies less current surplus of government enterprises – The difference between transfer payments from the government sector to the business sector and “profit” received by government-operated “firms.” This composite item is one of several differences between national income (the resource cost of production) and gross (and net) domestic product (the market value of production) in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This item tends to be relatively small, invariably less than 1 percent of gross domestic product.

graduated tax – A type of progressive tax in which the tax rate is higher as the value of the taxed item increases. For example a graduated sales tax would be one with a 5 percent tax rate on the first $10 of sales, 10 percent tax rate on the any sales between $10 and $50, then a 15 percent rate for anything above $50. Our personal income tax system uses graduated taxes.

graph – A picture, image, or diagram that is used to display information. Graphs are most commonly used in the economics to depict relations between two variables, that is a two-dimensional graph. The market diagram is perhaps the most noted graph used in economics. This graph reflects the market price on the vertical axis and the quantity exchanged on the horizontal axis. The two key relations depicted on the graph are the demand curve, which is an inverse relation between price and quantity, and the supply curve, which is a direct relation between price and quantity.

graphical analysis – The process of investigating economic phenomena in a systematic manner using graphs and diagrams. Graphical analysis is a common type of economic analysis.

Great Depression – A period of time from 1929 to 1941 in which the economy experienced high rates of unemployment (averaging well over 10%), low production, and limited investment. This period of stagnation prompted radical changes in the way government viewed it’s role in the economy and lead to our modern study of macroeconomics.

Gresham’s law – A principle stating that bad money drives good money out of circulation. For this law to apply an economy clearly needs two types of money, one considered good and the other considered bad. Good and bad money in this context has nothing to do with the propensity to torture small animals or attempts at world domination. Good and bad are based on the official value in exchange versus value in use. Gold and silver, which were both used as money in the U.S. Economy in the 1800s, provides an illustration. Silver took on the role of “bad money” because it was relatively less value in use than gold. As such, people used silver as everyday money and stockpiled, or hoarded, gold. The silver bad money drove the gold good money out of circulation.

gross domestic income – The total market value of all final goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually a year, as calculated using the income approach to measuring gross domestic product. Gross domestic income, abbreviated GDI, is virtually identical to gross domestic product (GDP), with one minor difference, the statistical discrepancy. As a matter of fact, the statistical discrepancy is identified as the difference between GDP and GDI.

gross domestic product – The total market value of all goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually one year. This is the government’s official measure of how much output our economy produces. It’s tabulated and reported by the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which is part of the U. S. Department of Commerce.

gross domestic product and national income – Gross domestic product (GDP) is the total market value of all final goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually a year. National income (NI) is the total income earned by the citizens of the national economy resulting from their ownership of resources used in the production of final goods and services during a given period of time, usually one year. While the vast majority of domestic production is undertaken by domestic factors of production (national income is about 80% of gross domestic product) key differences do exist. The six main differences between gross domestic product and national income are (1) capital consumption adjustment, (2) indirect business taxes, (3) business transfer payments, (4) net foreign factor income, (5) government subsidies, and (6) statistical discrepancy.

gross domestic product and net domestic product – Gross domestic product (GDP) is the total market value of all final goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually a year. Net domestic product (NDP) is the total market value of all final goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually a year, after adjusting for the depreciation of capital. The key difference between these two production measures is the phrase “after adjusting for the depreciation of capital.” This phrase is officially termed capital consumption adjustment.

expenditures gross domestic product – A method of estimating gross domestic product (GDP) based on identifying the aggregate expenditures (consumption, investment, government purchases, and net exports) made by the four basic macroeconomic sectors (household, business, government, and foreign). This is one of two methods used by the Bureau of Economic Analysis in the National Income and Product Accounts to estimate gross domestic product.

income gross domestic product – A method of estimating gross domestic product (GDP) based on identifying the income (wages, rent, interest, and profit) received by the owners of the four factors of production (labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship). This is one of two methods used by the Bureau of Economic Analysis in the National Income and Product Accounts to estimate gross domestic product.

ins and outs gross domestic product – Gross domestic product is the total market value of all goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually one year. Obtaining this value is not a simple task. It requires combining a lot of information from a number of different sources. For the U.S. economy, this includes trillions of dollars worth of production, hundreds of million of consumers, hundreds of thousands of businesses, and a bunch of market transactions each year.

welfare gross domestic product – Gross domestic product (GDP) is the total market value of all goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually one year. GDP is intended to measure the nation’s production of wants-and-needs satisfying goods and services. While it provides an indication of how far the economy has come on the long road to battling the ever-present scarcity problem, it is NOT a direct measure of the nation’s welfare or well-being. GDP is certainly a big component of the well-being of the country, but not the ONLY component.

gross national product – The total market value of all goods and services produced by the citizens of an economy during a given period of time, usually one year. Gross national product, often abbreviated simply as GNP, was once the federal government’s official measure of how much output our economy produces. In the early 1990s, however, it was replaced by gross domestic product (GDP).

gross private domestic investment – Expenditures on capital goods to be used for productive activities in the domestic economy that are undertaken by the business sector during a given time period. This is the official item in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis measuring capital investment expenditures. Gross private domestic investment tends to be the least stable of the four expenditures, averaging between 12-18% of gross domestic product.

Group of Seven – The seven of the most advanced and industrialized nations of the world (abbreviated G-7)–the United States, Britain, France, Italy, Canada, Germany, and Japan–that meet regularly to coordinate fiscal and monetary policies. Their actions are based on the proposition that our global economy and the individual countries are better off through cooperation than conflict.

growth – The process of increasing the economy’s ability to produce goods. Growth is also one of the three macroeconomic goals of an economy (full employment and stability are the other two). Growth is usually measured by increases in gross domestic product or per capita gross domestic product. The main sources of growth are increases in the quantity and quality of the resources. And the primary way of achieving these increases goes by the term investment.

growth rate – The percentage change in a variable from one year to the next. The growth rate, in effect, measures how much the variable is growing over time. In that economists (as well as regular human people) are quite interested in economic growth, progress, and a lessening of the scarcity problem, growth rates for different economic variables are closely scrutinized. Among the most important are: real gross domestic product, population, and per capita income. Growth rates are important not only for the analysis of long-run progress (economic growth, economic development), but also short-run instability (business cycles)

growth rate of production – The percentage change in (usually real) gross domestic product from one year to the next. This is used to indicate the degree of progress or economic growth of an economy.

growth stage – The second stage in the product life cycle, characterized by increasing sales, high profits, and market entry by competitors. During this stage a successful product experiences steadily increasing customer acceptance and brand recognition. Advertising and promotion efforts are focused on product differentiation from that of the competition. This is also the stage when companies might withdraw from the market due to lack of acceptance, product failure, or lack of profits.

guild – In medieval European times, a collection of artisans or merchants in the same occupation or industry, often in a particular location. Guilds were the forerunners of modern craft unions. They typical set quality standards and criteria for entry into the profession. Doing so allowed guilds to limit competition, monopolize their markets, keep prices high, and boost guild member incomes.

hard currency – Historically money that is in the form of precious metals, especially gold. In modern times, any national currency that is expected to retain its value (and even appreciate in value), and is readily acceptable for most international transactions. The U.S. dollar, German marc, and Swiss franc tend to be near the top of the list of hard currencies (also termed hard money).

hard money – Historically money that is in the form of precious metals, especially gold. In modern times, any national currency that is expected to retain its value (and even appreciate in value), and is readily acceptable for most international transactions. The U.S. dollar, German marc, and Swiss franc tend to be near the top of the list of hard money (also termed hard currency).

hard peg – Establishing a fixed exchange rate between one national currency (usually that of a small country) and another national currency (usually that of an industrial power). One country, in other words, “pegs” the value of its currency to the value of another currency. This is commonly done by countries with a history of monetary instability is used as a means of restoring and maintaining order. This U.S. dollar is frequently used for a hard peg by other smaller nations. The result of a hard peg is to eliminate control by the pegging nation and relying on the actions of the targeting nation.

Harrod-Domar model – A model economic growth developed by R. F. Harrod and E. D. Domar that seeks to explain why an economy would not grow as fast has its potential growth rate. This model is based on the notion that actual income determines the amount saving, which is determines investment, which is what affects the rate of economic growth. If saving is not enough, the potential growth rate will not be achieved. The Harrod-Domar model, developed in the 1930s, has a strong Keynesian economic flavor, both indicating that the economy does not automatically achieve its potential.

HDI – An abbreviation of the Human Development Index, whichn is a summary composite index that measures a country’s average achievements in three basic aspects of human development: longevity, knowledge, and a decent standard of living. Longevity is measured by life expectancy at birth; knowledge is measured by a combination of the adult literacy rate and the combined primary, secondary, and tertiary gross enrollment ratio; and standard of living is measured by GDP per capita. The Human Development Index (HDI), reported in the Human Development Report of the United Nations, is an indication of where a country is development wise. The index can take value between 0 and 1. Countries with an index over 0.800 are part of the High Human Development group. Between 0.500 and 0.800, countries are part of the Medium Human Development group and below 0.500 they are part of the Low Human Development group.

Heckscher-Ohlin model – A model of international trade developed by Eli Heckscher and Bertil Ohlin, with significant contributions by Paul Samuelson, that relies on the notion that comparative advantage is based on relative natural resource endowments. A nation with large oil reserves will, for example, have a comparative advantage in oil production over another nation with fertile soil, which will have a comparative advantage in agricultural production.

hedge – A method of protecting against financial (or other types) of loss by counterbalancing an action. This is commonly seen in the financial markets when investors buy options or futures contracts to protect themselves against price changes. A hedge is essentially a form of insurance. An investor hopes the price of a financial asset doesn’t fall, but buying a futures or options contract can reduce the loss if this occurs.

hedge fund – A mutual fund that relies heavily on hedging practices to protect the value of the financial assets. Such a fund specializes in options, futures, and other financial instruments that provide insurance protection against price fluctuations, and thus limits the risk of loss.

hedging – Buying or selling futures contracts to protect against price changes. This is a common form of “insurance” used by those who produce various commodities, such as wheat, cattle, coffee, and natural gas, as well as those who buy these commodities as inputs.

hedonic – Derived from the philosophy of hedonism (that happiness is the chief good in life), the notion that value is ultimately dependent on the satisfaction of wants and needs. The word hedonic is most often used together with the word price, as in hedonic price. This suggests the view that price is based on the satisfaction generated by consuming a good, regardless of the source of the satisfaction. This notion of hedonic is closely related to, and largely indistinguishable from, the more common concept of utility.

hedonic price – The notion that the price of good is based on an assortment of characteristics that are both intrinsic to the good itself and external to the good. Hedonic pricing is commonly applied to the housing market in which the price of housing is based on the physical characteristics of the house (size, appearance, features) and the surrounding neighborhood (accessibility to schools and shopping, quality of other houses, availability of public services). Estimating hedonic prices makes it possible to identify the extent to which specific factors affect the price.

hedonic pricing model – A statistical model used to identify factors or influences on the price of good based on the notion that price is based on both intrinsic characteristic and external factors. The hedonic pricing model is most commonly used in the housing market in which the price of housing is based on the physical characteristics of the house (size, appearance, features) and the surrounding neighborhood (accessibility to schools and shopping, quality of other houses, availability of public services). Estimating hedonic prices makes it possible to identify the extent to which specific factors affect the price.

Herfindahl index – A measure of concentration of the production in an industry that’s calculated as the sum of the squares of market shares for each firm. This is an alternative method of summarizing the degree to which an industry is oligopolistic and the relative concentration of market power held by the largest firms in the industry. The Herfindahl index gives a better indication of the relative market control of the largest firms than can be found with the four-firm and eight-firm concentration ratios.

Herfindahl-Hirshman index – A measure of concentration of the production in an industry that’s calculated as the sum of the squares of market shares for each firm. This is an alternative method of summarizing the degree to which an industry is oligopolistic and the relative concentration of market power held by the largest firms in the industry. The Herfindahl index gives a better indication of the relative market control of the largest firms than can be found with the four-firm and eight-firm concentration ratios.

heterogeneous – A market characterized by buyers with different needs and wants. A company utilizes a concentrated targeting strategy for this group. This market requires the company to divided the market into groups by a process called market segmentation. The company then develops a different marketing mix to satisfy each of these groups or segments.

HHI – The common abbreviation for the Herfindahl-Hirshman index (or the Herfindahl index), which is a measure of concentration of the production in an industry that’s calculated as the sum of the squares of market shares for each firm. This is an alternative method of summarizing the degree to which an industry is oligopolistic and the relative concentration of market power held by the largest firms in the industry. The Herfindahl index gives a better indication of the relative market control of the largest firms than can be found with the four-firm and eight-firm concentration ratios.

hierarchy of needs – Developed by Abraham Maslow, the notion that people are motivated to satisfy basic physiological needs (food, shelter, etc.) before moving on to satisfying higher psychological needs (security, companionship, etc.). These alternative needs are layered in a hierarchial pattern with physiological needs on the bottom, safety needs on the second layer, belonging needs on the third layer, esteem needs on the fourth layer, and self-actualization needs at the top. This hierarchy of needs has been used to help explain the progress of human societies from agrarian to manufacturing to service to information.

high-powered money – Also termed the monetary base, the total of currency held by the nonbank public, vault cash held by banks, and Federal Reserve deposits of the banks. This contains the monetary components over which the Federal Reserve System has relatively complete control and is often used as a guide for the Fed’s money control ability and monetary policy.

historical cost – An accounting principle stating that expenses are recorded in terms of original or acquisition cost. Such a practice does not necessarily indicate the opportunity cost or current market value.

hoarding – The act of accumulating assets, especially goods or money, over and above that needed for immediate use based on the fear or expectation of future shortages and higher prices. For example, concerns about a worldwide shortage of sugar and chocolate might prompt a consumer to purchase several hundred boxes of candy, which are stored in a wine cellar. Alternatively, someone fearing a global collapse of the financial system might be inclined to pack pillow cases with bundles of cash or stockpile gold bullion in the closet. Such hoarding, if widely practiced, can actually contribute to the anticipated shortage and higher prices.

holding company – A company (usually a corporation) that owns enough stock in another corporation to exercise virtually complete control over its management. Holding companies often own controlling interest in several diverse corporations, allowing it to engage in diverse activities (some of which might be risky) while limiting its liability should problems arise. While holding companies exist in most types of industries, then tend to be quite popular in banking. Through a holding company, a bank can essentially take part in other financial markets (selling insurance, underwriting securities, or acting as a broker) that are beyond the legal authority of the bank itself.

homogeneous – In general, the notion that everything has identical characteristics. For example, a neighborhood might have a homogeneous culture, meaning everyone has similar income, religious preferences, and political views. In economics, it is used in a couple of different ways. One is for production, such that two or more goods are homogeneous if they are physically identical or at least viewed as identical by buyers. Another is for mathematical equations, such that an equation is said to be homogeneous if the independent variables are increased by a constant value, then the dependent variable is increased by a function of that value. In a marketing context, this is a market characterized by buyers with similar needs and wants. This group is targeted with an undifferentiated targeting strategy. The company uses only one marketing mix to satisfy this group of buyers.

homogeneous good – Goods that are either physically identical or at least viewed as identical by buyers. In particular, the producer of a good can not be identified from the good itself. This is a key assumption underlying the perfect competition market structure, and like other assumptions is only approximated in the real world. Agricultural products, metals, and energy goods come as close as any in the real world.

homogeneous of degree one – A property of an equation the exists if independent variables are increased by a constant value, then the dependent variable is increased by the same value. In other words, if the independent variables are doubled, then the dependent variable is also doubled. This property often surfaces in the analysis of production functions. A production function homogeneous of degree one is said to have constant returns to scale.

homogeneous of degree n – A property of an equation the exists if independent variables are increased by a constant value, then the dependent variable is increased by the value raised to the power of n. The value of n can be greater than, less than, or equal to one. This property often surfaces in the analysis of production functions. If n = 1, then a doubling independent variables results in a doubling of the dependent variable and the production function has constant returns to scale. If n > 1, then a doubling independent variables results in more than a doubling of the dependent variable and the production function has increasing returns to scale. If n < 1, then a doubling independent variables results in less than a doubling of the dependent variable and the production function has decreasing returns to scale. homogeneous of degree zero – A property of an equation the exists if independent variables are increased by a constant value, then the dependent variable is increased by the value raised to the power of 0. In other words, for any changes in the independent variables, the dependent variable does not change. This is a special type of homogeneous equation. homogeneous product – Goods that are either physically identical or at least viewed as identical by buyers. In particular, the producer of a product can not be identified from the product itself. This is a key assumption underlying the perfect competition market structure, and like other assumptions is only approximated in the real world. Agricultural products, metals, and energy goods come as close as any in the real world. horizontal addition – In graphical analysis, the technique of combining two curves by adding the value of the variable on the horizontal or X axis for a given value of the variable on the vertical or Y axis. This is commonly done when deriving a market demand curve from a set of individual demand curves. The quantity demanded by every individual is added at a given price to identify the total market demand at that price. horizontal axis – In a graph, this is one of two lines that intersect at a right angle at their origins. This is the “X-axis” that runs from right and left. In most analyses, the variable measured on the X-axis is consider to be the independent variable. horizontal equity – A system of taxes that treats equal people equally. In other words, if you make the same income as someone else and pay the same personal income taxes, then you have horizontal equity. horizontal merger – The consolidation under a single ownership of two separately-owned businesses in the same industry. An example of a horizontal merger would be two soft drink companies merging to form a single firm. A horizontal merger should be contrasted with vertical merger–two firms in different stages of the production of one good, such that the output of one business is the input of the other; and conglomerate merger–two firms in totally, completely separate industries. hostile acquisition – In the world of mergers, the acquisition of one company by another against the wishes of the company being acquired. Also termed a hostile takeover, this is accomplished by purchasing controlling interest in the stock of the acquired company, usually by offering to pay a price exceeding the current market price. A hostile takeover might be motivated to eliminate competition, to sell off the assets of the company for more that the takeover payment, or to temporarily inflate the price of the stock. hostile bid – The price a buyer is willing to pay to purchase enough stock to obtain controlling interest in company during a hostile takeover. A hostile bid price is inevitably greater than the current market price of the stock. The higher price is designed to induce reluctant stockholders to sell their stock. hostile takeover – In the world of mergers, the acquisition of one company by another against the wishes of the company being acquired. Also termed a hostile acquisition, this is accomplished by purchasing controlling interest in the stock of the acquired company, usually by offering to pay a price exceeding the current market price. A hostile takeover might be motivated to eliminate competition, to sell off the assets of the company for more that the takeover payment, or to temporarily inflate the price of the stock. hot money – Financial capital that quickly moves from one financial asset to another in search of or with expectations of higher interest rates and return. Hot money can move from one bank to another or from one country to another. For banks, hot money usually refers to deposits that exceed FDIC insured limits that bounce around from bank to bank as interest rates change. For countries, hot money refers to financial capital that quickly leaves one country due to exchange rates, interest rate differentials, or economic turmoil, or the threat of war. Hotelling’s paradox – A principle stating that monopolistically competitive firms seek to maintain similarities between products at the same time they maintain differences. Similarities enable substitutability. That is, one firm can attract the buyers away from other firms. Differences enable uniqueness and market control. That is, a firm has a small monopoly for its product that allows it to charge a higher price than achieved with perfect competition. This is also termed the principle of minimum differences. Hotelling’s Rule – The notion that efficiency and competitive market forces will lead to an increase of scarcity rent of a finite, exhaustible resource that is equal to the interest rate. The logic behind Hotelling’s Rule is that as a finite fossil fuel is depleted, less is available in the future, causing scarcity rent, and thus the resource price, to increase. An increase in the resource price reduces the quantity demanded and conserves more for future consumption. When finite, exhaustible resource markets are competitive, this process generates an efficient allocation over time. household – The consuming population of an economy, which pretty much includes every living, breathing human being in a nation. The key contrast here is with business, the organizations responsible for production. In terms of the circular flow, households buy production from businesses through product markets and supply resources to business through factor markets. Check out the household sector for more. household production – The creation of satisfaction using both goods purchased in markets and the uncompensated efforts of consumers. In other words, while you might buy stuff from the store, you often need to do something to it before it’s ready to use. Probably the most common example is cooking a meal. You buy some pasta noodles, a jar of alfredo sauce, and a frozen package of bite-sized shrimp at the store, then use a little bit of your time and effort to prepare a tasty Italian meal. household sector – The basic macroeconomic sector that includes the entire, wants and-needs-satisfying population of the economy. The household sector is the eating, breathing, consuming population of the economy. In a word “everyone,” all consumers, all people. This sector includes everyone seeking to satisfy unlimited wants and needs. While it’s called “household” sector, this doesn’t require that you own a house, live in a house, or even know someone has ever seen a house to be included. The term household sector is merely a short-cut used by economists to indicate the consuming, wants-and-needs-satisfying population. housing starts – The number of residential buildings (single-family and multi-family) construction units begun during a given time period (usually one month) based on the number of building permits issued. Housing starts are sensitive to interest rate changes and reflect the household sectors willingness to invest in new construction. It is a key indicator of business-cycle activity. More specifically, it is one of the 12 leading economic indicators tracked by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. How? – One of three basic questions of allocation (What? and For Whom? are the other two). Answering the “How?” question of allocation determines how society’s limited resources will be combined in the production goods. Do we produce houses with wood or bricks? Do we make cars with automated robots or human labor? human capital – The sum total of a person’s productive knowledge, experience, and training. The acquisition of human capital is what makes a person more productive. One of the most notable methods of stocking up on human capital is through formal education–from grade school to advanced college degrees. However, human capital is also effectively obtained through less formal training and highly informal on-the-job experiences. Human Development Index – A summary composite index that measures a country’s average achievements in three basic aspects of human development: longevity, knowledge, and a decent standard of living. Longevity is measured by life expectancy at birth; knowledge is measured by a combination of the adult literacy rate and the combined primary, secondary, and tertiary gross enrollment ratio; and standard of living is measured by GDP per capita. The Human Development Index (HDI), reported in the Human Development Report of the United Nations, is an indication of where a country is development wise. The index can take value between 0 and 1. Countries with an index over 0.800 are part of the High Human Development group. Between 0.500 and 0.800, countries are part of the Medium Human Development group and below 0.500 they are part of the Low Human Development group. hyperinflation – Exceptionally high inflation rates. While there are no hard and fast guidelines, an annual inflation rate of 20 percent or more is likely to get you the hyperinflation title. Some countries in the past have been quite good at creating hyperinflation. An annual inflation rate of 1,000 percent has not been uncommon. On occasion, the trillion percent inflation rate mark has been achieved. (That is, something with a one dollar price tag in early January would have a one trillion dollar price in late December. We’re talking serious hyperinflation.) hypothesis – A reasonable proposition about the workings of the world that’s inspired or implied by a theory and which may or may not be true. An hypothesis is essentially a prediction made by a theory that can be compared with observations in the real world. Hypotheses usually take the form: “If A, the also B.” The essence of the scientific method is to test, or verify, hypotheses against real world data. If supported by data over and over again, hypotheses become principles. hysteresis – The notion that the natural rate of unemployment is affected by historical events, especially the onset of a business-cycle contraction. Hysteresis results because unemployed resources are permanently changed, through loss of job skills or seniority, making them less employable when the contraction is over. The labor market itself might be permanently change. The result is a permanent increase in structural and frictional unemployment and a higher natural unemployment rate. Alternatively, a prolonged business-cycle expansion can generate long-term changes that cause a permanent decrease in the natural unemployment rate. I – The standard abbreviation for investment expenditures by the business sector, especially when used in the study of macroeconomics. This abbreviation is most often seen in the aggregate expenditure equation, AE = C + I + G + (X – M), where C, G, and (X – M) represent expenditures by the other three macroeconomic sectors, household, business, and foreign. IADB – (Inter-American Development Bank) A regional multilateral development institution established 1959 to help accelerate economic and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Bank provides loans and technical assistance using capital provided by its member countries, as well as resources obtained in world capital markets through bond issues. The Bank is owned by its 46 member countries: 26 borrowing member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 20 nonborrowing countries, including the United States, Japan, Canada, 16 European countries, and Israel. The Inter-American Development Bank has its headquarters in Washington, DC. IBT – The abbreviation for indirect business taxes, which is the official entry in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis for sales taxes. Indirect business taxes are one key difference between national income (the resource cost of production) and gross/net domestic product (the market value of production). For further discussion of this point, see gross domestic product and national income or net domestic product and national income. Indirect business taxes is generally less than 10% of gross domestic product (7-8% is common). IDB – (Islamic Development Bank) A multilateral development financing institution, established to foster social and economic development of it’s member countries and Muslim communities world-wide. The functions of the Bank are to participate in equity capital and grant loans for productive projects and enterprises besides providing financial assistance to member countries in other forms for economic and social development. The Bank’s principal office is in Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The present membership of the Bank consists of 54 countries. identification lag – In the context of economic policies, the time between a shock to the economy and realization that the shock has occurred. This is one of several policy lags that limit the effectiveness of stabilization policies designed to correct business-cycle fluctuations. This is also one of two inside lags. The other is an implementation lag. Also termed recognition lag, the identification lag emerges due to the time needed to measure economic activity. While the lag is generally positive, it actually can be negative through accurate forecasting techniques. When negative policies can be undertaken to correct a problem before it occurs. IEBNR – The abbreviation for income earned but not received. The three types of income earned but not received by the factors of production are Social Security taxes, corporate profits taxes, and undistributed corporate profits. In each case a factor of production has rightfully “earned” the income by contributing to valuable production contained in gross domestic product. However, because this income is not paid to the factor and it is not income received by the household sector. IEBNR is subtracted from national income to calculate personal income. IMF – The abbreviation for International Monetary Fund, which is an agency of the United Nations established in 1945 to monitor and stabilize foreign exchange markets. Close to 150 of the world’s nations (which is just about all of them) belong to the IMF. The IMF was set up to keep countries from manipulating their exchange rates in such a way as to gain a competitive trading advantage over others. Their strategies of control have changed over the decades, but they currently use a managed float where exchange rates are allowed to fluctuate with changing market conditions, but only within certain ranges. The IMF also plays an active role in providing the “international” currency needed to participate in foreign trade through its system of Special Drawing Rights. immigration – Migration that enters one country from another country. Immigration is usually seen as a problem for existing citizens of nation because–(1) the supply of labor increases, which tends to lower wages, (2) there’s a greater demand for public services, which causes taxes to rise, and (3) the culture of immigrants is usually different, which creates all sorts of social conflicts. However, immigration can also be beneficial because–(1) the additional labor is a source of economic growth, (2) the immigrants might be willing to do some jobs that wouldn’t be performed otherwise, and (3) some goods can produced at lower cost. Compare emigration. impact lag – In the context of economic policies, the time between corrective government action responding to a shock to the economy and the resulting affect on the economy. This is one of four lags in the use of economic policies. The others are recognition lag, decision lag, and action lag. The length of the impact lag, also termed outside lag, is primarily based on the speed of the multiplier process and is essentially the same for both fiscal and monetary policy. The length of the policy lags is one argument against the use of discretionary policies to stability business cycles. imperfect competition – Any markets or industries that do not match the criteria for perfect competition. The key characteristics of perfect competition are: (1) a large number of small firms, (2) identical products sold by all firms, (3) freedom of entry into and exit out of the industry, and (4) perfect knowledge of prices and technology. These four characteristics are essentially impossible to match in the real world. implementation lag – In the context of economic policies, the time between the realization that a shock to the economy has occurred and corrective government action responding to the shock. This is one of several policy lags that limit the effectiveness of stabilization policies designed to correct business-cycle fluctuations. This is also one of two inside lags. The other is a recognition lag. The implementation lag, which is often divided into decision and action lags, emerges due to the time it takes for government leaders to debate, discuss, and decide on the appropriate policy then get the appropriate government agencies to launch the policy. The implementation lag is usually shorter for monetary policy than fiscal policy. implicit collusion – Seemingly independent, but parallel actions among competing firms (mostly oligopolistic firms) in an industry that achieve higher prices and profits, much as if guided by an explicit collusion agreement. Also termed tacit collusion, the distinguishing feature of implicit collusion is the lack of any explicit agreement. They key is that each firm seems to be acting independently, perhaps each responding to the same market conditions, but the end result is the same as an explicit agreement. This should be contrasted with explicit or overt collusion that does involve a formal, explicit agreement. implicit cost – An opportunity cost that does NOT involve a money payment or a market transaction. This should be contrasted with explicit cost that DOES involve a money payment or a market transaction. The common misconception among non-economists out there in the real world is that the term “cost” is synonymous with the term “payment,” that is, all costs are explicit costs, to be a cost you have to give up some money. Well, I’m here to tell you that this isn’t true. Cost is opportunity cost. It’s the satisfaction NOT received from activities NOT pursued. It’s the value of foregone production. And not all opportunity costs involve a money payment. implicit logrolling – A type of voter logrolling in which two separate programs or policies are combined into a single package, which is then subject to a single vote. With implicit logrolling, each voter is “on record” only for the entire package and thus can contend that a vote was cast only for “their” favored program. Implicit logrolling is commonly used by legislators to trade votes without appearing to trade votes. Legislators can come out in support of “their” programs, while simultaneously being against “other” programs, even though they actually voted for the “other” programs by voting for “their” programs, but they didn’t really want to vote for the “other” programs and only voted for the “other” programs to ensure passage of “their” programs. An alternative type of logrolling is explicit logrolling. implicit opportunity cost – An opportunity cost that does NOT involve a money payment or a market transaction. This should be contrasted with explicit cost that DOES involve a money payment or a market transaction. The common misconception among non-economists out there in the real world is that the term “cost” is synonymous with the term “payment,” that is, all costs are explicit costs, to be a cost you have to give up some money. Well, I’m here to tell you that this isn’t true. Cost is opportunity cost. It’s the satisfaction NOT received from activities NOT pursued. It’s the value of foregone production. And not all opportunity costs involve a money payment. implicit price deflator – A price index calculated as the ratio nominal gross domestic product to real gross domestic product. Also commonly referred to as the GDP price deflator, the implicit price deflator is used as an indicator of the economy’s average price level. This price index is tabulated and reported every three months along with the gross domestic product, national income, and related measures that make up the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). import – Goods and services produced by the foreign sector and purchased by the domestic economy. In other words, imports are goods purchased from other countries. The United States, for example, buys a lot of the stuff produced within the boundaries of other countries, including bananas, coffee, cars, chocolate, computers, and, well, a lot of other products. Imports, together with exports, are the essence of foreign trade–goods and services that are traded among the citizens of different nations. Imports and exports are frequently combined into a single term, net exports (exports minus imports). import quota – A limit on the importation of a particular good brought into one country from another country. An import quota, for example, would stipulate something like only X million pounds of swiss cheese can be imported into the United States from Switzerland each year. Such import quotas are a popular type of nontariff barrier imposed by countries throughout the world, competing with tariffs as the number one trade restriction. The general justification for import quotas is to protect domestic firms and industries from unfair competition by foreign companies. While this can be needed, import quotas are frequently used by oligopoly firms, with significant political influence to limit competition and maintain market control. import substitution – A strategy for economic development for a country based on replacing imported goods with domestic production. This is often directed toward imported inputs used for domestic production. The goal of this policy is to encourage domestic production, which subsequently increases domestic income and consumption. A contrasting economic development is export promotion. imports – Goods and services produced by the foreign sector and purchased by the domestic economy. In other words, imports are goods purchased from other countries. The United States, for example, buys a lot of the stuff produced within the boundaries of other countries, including bananas, coffee, cars, chocolate, computers, and, well, a lot of other products. Imports, together with exports, are the essence of foreign trade–goods and services that are traded among the citizens of different nations. Imports and exports are frequently combined into a single term, net exports (exports minus imports). imports line – A graphical depiction of the relation between imports bought from the foreign sector and the domestic economy’s aggregate level of income or production. This relation is most important for deriving the net exports line, which plays a minor, but growing role in the study of Keynesian economics. An imports line is characterized by vertical intercept, which indicates autonomous imports, and slope, which is the marginal propensity to import and indicates induced imports. The aggregate expenditures line used in Keynesian economics is derived by adding or stacking the net exports line, derived as the difference between the exports line and imports line, onto the consumption line, after adding investment expenditures and government purchases. in-kind payment – A payment, usually in exchange for the productive efforts of resources, that takes the form of goods and services rather than the economy’s standard monetary unit (that is, dollars). In other words, resource owners are compensated with a portion of the output that they helped to produce. The standard method of compensation, which is illustrated by the circular flow model, is for a firm to pay resource owners using money revenue received from selling its production. Hence most factor payments are monetary payments. However, in some circumstances firms and resource owners find it more convenient to use actual production for compensation, eliminating the middle sell-production-for-money step incentive – A cost or benefit that motivates a decision or action by consumers, businesses, or other participants in the economy. Some incentives are explicitly created by government policies to achieve a desired end or they can just be part of the wacky world we call economics. The most noted incentive in the study of economics is that provided by prices. When prices are higher buyers have the “incentive” to buy less and sellers have the “incentive” to sell more. Price incentives play a fundamental role in the . When prices are higher buyers have the “incentive” to buy less and sellers have the “incentive” to sell more. Price incentives play a fundamental role in the allocation. When prices are higher buyers have the “incentive” to buy less and sellers have the “incentive” to sell more. Price incentives play a fundamental role in the allocation system that society uses to answer the three questions of allocation. income – Revenue earned or received by households that can be used for consumption or saving. For the aggregate economy, earned income is termed national income, while received income is termed personal income. The key is that income for the aggregate economy is generated in the production of goods and services. utility analysis income change – A disruption of consumer equilibrium identified with utility analysis caused by changes in the buyers’ income, which results in a change in the quantities of the goods consumed. The change in buyers’ income alters the income constraint and forces a reevaluation of the rule of consumer equilibrium. income distribution – The manner in which income is divided among the members of the economy. A perfectly equal income distribution would mean everyone in the country has exactly the same income. The income distribution in the good old U. S. of A., while more equal than most nations of the world, is far from perfectly equal. A certain amount of inequality in the income distribution is to be expected because resources are never equally distributed. Some labor is naturally going to be more productive–better able to produce the stuff that consumers want–and thus get more income. The same is true for capital, land, entrepreneurship. However, without government intervention, an unequal distribution of income tends to perpetuate itself. Those who have more income, can invest in additional productive resources, and thus can add even more to their income. income earned but not received – Abbreviate IEBNR, this is the income earned by factors of production, but not received by members of the household sector. The three types of income earned but not received by the factors of production are Social Security taxes, corporate profits taxes, and undistributed corporate profits. In each case a factor of production has rightfully “earned” the income by contributing to valuable production contained in gross domestic product. However, because this income is not paid to the factor and it is not income received by the household sector. IEBNR is subtracted from national income to calculate personal income. income effect – One of two reasons for the law of demand and the negative slope of the market demand curve (the other is the substitution effect). The income effect results because a change in price gives buyers more real income, or the purchasing power of the income, even though money or nominal income remains the same. This causes changes in the quantity demanded of the good. income elasticity of demand – The relative response of a change in demand to a relative change in income. More specifically the income elasticity of demand can be defined as the percentage change in demand due to a percentage change in buyers’ income. The income elasticity of demand quantitatively identifies the theoretical relationship between income and demand. income received but not earned – Abbreviate IRBNE, this is income received by the household sector, but not earned by a factor of production. The three types of income received but not earned are Social Security payments, unemployment compensation payments, and welfare payments. These are also the three key transfer payments from the government sector to the household sector. The basic goal of transfer payments is to transfer a portion of the income earned by the factors of production (because they HAVE income) to other members of the household sector (who presumably NEED more income than they have). IRBNE is added to national income to derive personal income. income statement – A statement of the revenues, expenditures, and profit for a business, household, or government entity over a given period of time. An income statement also goes by the names profit and loss statement, earnings report, and operating statement. This is one of two key financial statements for an entity. The other is a balance sheet, which is a statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth at a given point in time. income tax – A tax on income, including wages, rent, interest, profit, and (usually) transfer payments. The income tax system in the United States includes both a personal income tax and corporate income tax. In general, the U. S. income tax is progressive, but through a number of deductions and other loopholes, it’s less so in practice that on paper. demand determinant income – One of the five demand determinants assumed constant when a demand curve is constructed, and that shift the demand curve when they change. Income affects demand differently for normal goods and inferior goods. A normal good, the name indicates, is affected by income much as you might expect. Additional income allows buyers to purchase more normal goods, thus demand increases with an increase in income. The demand for an inferior good is affected exactly opposite. An increase in income causes a decrease in the demand for an inferior good. Buyers decide to buy less of an inferior good when they have additional income. income-expenditure model – A macroeconomic model, which captures the essence of Keynesian economics, is based on the equality between total income generated from gross domestic product and total expenditures on gross domestic product. The cornerstone of the income-expenditure model is the consumption function, which relates household consumption expenditures to income and gives rise to the aggregate expenditure line with the addition of investment, government purchases, and net exports. The intersection between the aggregate expenditure line at the 45-degree identifies equilibrium. income-price model – An economic model relating the price level (the price part) and real production (the income part) that is used to analyze business cycles, aggregate production, unemployment, inflation, stabilization policies, and related macroeconomic phenomena. The income-price model, inspired by the standard market model, captures the interaction between aggregate demand (the buyers) and short-run and long-run aggregate supply (the sellers). increasing marginal returns – In the short-run production of a firm, an increase in the variable input results in an increase in the marginal product of the variable input. Increasing marginal returns typically surface when the first few quantities of a variable input are added to a fixed input. Compare this with decreasing marginal returns. You should also compare this with economies of scale associated with long-run production. increasing opportunity cost – The proposition that opportunity cost, the value of foregone production, increases as more of a good is produced. This ‘law’ is most important to the slope of the production possibilities curve. It generates the convex shape of the curve, making the curve flat at the top and steep at the bottom. increasing returns to scale – A given proportionate increase in all resources in the long run results in a proportionately greater increase in production. Increasing returns to scale exists if a firm increases ALL resources — labor, capital, and other inputs — by 10%, and output increases by more than 10%. You might want to compare decreasing returns to scale and constant returns to scale. increasing-cost industry – A perfectly competitive industry with a positively-sloped long-run industry supply curve that results because expansion of the industry causes higher production cost and resource prices. For an increasing-cost industry the entry of new firms, prompted by an increase in demand, causes the long-run average supply curve of each firm to shift upward, which increases the minimum efficient scale of production. independent variable – A variable that is identified outside the workings of the model. Also termed an exogenous variable, an independent variable is in essence the “input” of the model. It should be compared with an endogenous variable this is the “output” of the model. indeterminant – The term commonly used to indicate that the direction of the change in either price or quantity is not known when the market experiences simultaneous shifts in both the demand and supply curves. For example, an increase in both demand and supply definitely increases the quantity exchanged. But whether the market price increases or decreases is indeterminant. index – A measure of the relative average of a group of items compared to a given base value. Index measures are commonly used in economics to combine and compare diverse measures. One common type of index measure is for prices, such as the Consumer Price Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average of corporate stock prices. Another noted type of index measure is to track macroeconomic activity, especially the index leading economic indicators. Indexes are usually weighted averages rather than simple arithmetic means that are measured relative to a base value or period. The Consumer Price Index, for example, measures the prices of consumer good, weighted by the quantities purchased. The value of a given period is then stated relative to a base year value, which generates a pure, “unitless” number in the range of 100 (give or take). Index of Consumer Sentiment – A measure of consumer attitudes, preferences, and expectations concerning the state of the economy and business-cycle conditions that is compiled each month by the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan. The Index of Consumer Sentiment is one of two primary measures of consumer attitudes. The other is the Consumer Confidence Index developed by The Conference Board. indifference curve – A curve that graphically depicts various combinations of goods that generate the same level of utility to a consumer. In other words, a consumer is “indifferent” among any of the bundles because they all provide the same satisfaction. Indifference curves are combined with a budget line or constraint for indifference curve analysis used to explain many aspects of demand, including the slope of the demand curve and the income and substitution effects. indifference map – A graph of two or more indifference curves. Higher indifference curves are associated with higher levels of utility. indirect – The mathematical notion that two variables change in the opposite directions, that is, an increase in X goes with a decrease in Y, or a decrease in X goes with an increase in Y. The alternative to an indirect relation is a direct relation, in which an increase in one variable goes with an increase in the other. Indirect relations are graphically illustrated by negatively-sloped curves, a common example being the demand curve. indirect business taxes – The official entry in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis for sales taxes. Indirect business taxes are one key difference between national income (the resource cost of production) and gross/net domestic product (the market value of production). For further discussion of this point, see gross domestic product and national income or net domestic product and national income. Indirect business taxes, abbreviated IBT, is generally less than 10% of gross domestic product (7-8% is common). individual retirement account – A savings retirement account set up with a bank, mutual fund, brokerage firm that allows people to set aside a portion of their income each year. Like other private pension plans, income diverted to an individual retirement account (or IRA) is tax deferred, that is, taxes on not paid on the income until it is withdrawn during retirement. induced – The general notion that changes in one variable are related to, or caused by, changes in another variable. Induced relations, especially changes in consumption expenditures are induced by changes in disposable income, are a key aspect of Keynesian economics and the multiplier effect. The alternative to an induced relation between variables is an autonomous relation, in which one variable is not related to another. induced change – A change in aggregate expenditures, especially consumption expenditures, that is “induced” or triggered by a change in national income or gross domestic product. Induced changes form the foundation for the multiplier effect, which is set in motion by autonomous changes in aggregate expenditures. In terms of Keynesian economics and the Keynesian cross diagram, induced changes are seen as a movement along in the aggregate expenditures line. This two step process, autonomous changes causing induced changes, is key to explaining business cycle fluctuations. induced consumption – Household consumption expenditures that depend on income or production (especially disposable, national income, or gross national product). An increase in household disposable income triggers an increase in induced consumption expenditures. Induced consumption is graphically depicted as the slope of the consumption or propensity-to-consume line, and are measured by the marginal propensity to consume. The induced relation between income and consumption, as well as other induced expenditures, form the foundation of the multiplier effect triggered by changes in autonomous expenditures. induced expenditure – An aggregate expenditure (consumption, investment, government purchases, and net exports) that depends on national income or gross domestic product. These four aggregate expenditures are conveniently separated into two types, induced, which is our current topic of expenditures unrelated to national income or GDP, and autonomous expenditures, expenditures which are unrelated to national income or GDP. Induced expenditures are graphically depicted as the slope of the aggregate expenditures line, and depend in large part on the marginal propensity to consume. The induced relation between income and expenditures form the foundation of the multiplier effect triggered by changes in autonomous expenditures. induced government purchases – Government purchases that depend on income or production (especially national income or gross national product). An increase in national income triggers an increase in induced government purchases. Induced government purchases is graphically depicted as the slope of the government purchases line and is measured by the marginal propensity for government purchases. The induced relation between income and government purchases, as well as other induced expenditures, form the foundation of the multiplier effect triggered by changes in autonomous expenditures. induced imports – Imports from the foreign sector that depend on domestic income or production (especially national income and gross domestic product). That is, changes in income induce changes in imports. Induced imports are measured by the marginal propensity to import (MPM) and are reflected by a positive slope of imports line. Induced imports are the reason for induced net exports, generating a negatively sloped net exports line. Autonomous net exports are due to a combination of autonomous exports and autonomous imports. induced investment – Business investment expenditures that depend on income or production (especially national income or gross national product). An increase in national income triggers an increase in induced investment expenditures. Induced investment is graphically depicted as the slope of the investment line and is measured by the marginal propensity to invest. The induced relation between income and investment, as well as other induced expenditures, form the foundation of the multiplier effect triggered by changes in autonomous expenditures. induced net exports – Net exports by the foreign sector that depend on income or production (especially national income and gross domestic product). That is, changes in income induce changes in net exports. Induced net exports reflect the induced relation between imports and income, which means net exports decline as income increases. They are measured by the negative of the marginal propensity to import (MPM) and are reflected by the negative slope of net exports line. The alternative to induced net exports is autonomous net exports, which do not depend on income. induced saving – Household saving that depends on income or production (especially disposable, national income, or gross national product). An increase in household disposable income triggers an increase in induced saving. Induced saving is graphically depicted as the slope of the saving or propensity-to-save line, and is measured by the marginal propensity to save. The induced relation between income and saving, as well as induced expenditures, form the foundation of the multiplier effect triggered by changes in autonomous expenditures. industrial organization – The manner in which a market or industry is organized or structured, especially in terms of the competitiveness of the firms making up the market or industry. This phrase is also used to mean the economic study of the organization or an industry. When used for the competitiveness of a market, the term market structure can be used interchangeably. Industrial organization is concerned with the competitiveness of market, what this means for market control by buyers or sellers, and how this affects the efficiency of production. industrial union – A labor union composed of workers in the same industry, often for several different firms, but no necessarily in the same occupation. Common examples of industrial unions represent workers in the automobile, steel, and textile industries. Industrial unions generally exert market control by establishing minimum wages paid to their members. The Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) began as a collection of industrial unions. industry – A group of firms producing goods or services that are close substitutes-in-consumption. The similarity of the products makes it possible to analyze the production in a market framework. An industry can be broadly defined, such as the manufacturing industry, or narrowly specified, such as the root beer industry. For most economic analysis the term industry is used interchangeably with the term market. industry regulation – Government regulation of an entire industry. The most common industry regulation has been in airline, railroad, trucking, banking, and television broadcasting. The objective of industry regulation is for a regulatory agency to keep a close eye on an industry’s prices and product to ensure that they don’t start a monopoly and take advantage of consumers. Unfortunately more than a few of the regulatory agencies have been prone to work too closely with those they regulate, in large part because regulators move freely between industry and agency. The agency often ends up working for the industry and running what is effectively a legal monopoly that raises prices, prevents competition, and gouges consumers. inefficiency – When the economy is NOT obtaining the highest level of consumer satisfaction from the available resources. Inefficiency occurs if it is possible to reallocate resources in a way that would generate greater satisfaction. inelastic – In general, if changes in variable A cause changes in variable B, then the relative change in B is less than the relative change in A. In other words, large changes in variable A cause relatively smaller changes in variable B. An inelastic relationship between two variables is not a very responsive, or stretchable, relationship. You should compare inelastic with elastic. inelastic demand – Relatively large changes in demand price cause relatively smaller changes in quantity demanded. Inelastic demand means that changes in the quantity demanded are not very responsive to changes in the demand price. An inelastic demand has a coefficient of elasticity less than one (the negative value is ignored). You might want to compare inelastic demand to elastic demand, inelastic supply, and elastic supply. inelastic supply – Relatively large changes in supply price cause relatively smaller changes in quantity supplied. Inelastic supply means that changes in the quantity supplied are not very responsive to changes in the supply price. An inelastic supply has a coefficient of elasticity less than one. You might want to compare inelastic supply to elastic supply, inelastic demand, and elastic demand. inferior good – A good for which an increase in income causes a decrease in demand, or a leftward shift in the demand curve. If demand decreases as income increases, it is an inferior good, or a good with a negative income elasticity of demand. An inferior good is one of two alternatives falling within the income determinant of demand. The other is a normal good. inflation – A persistent increase in the average price level in the economy. Inflation occurs when the AVERAGE price level (that is, prices IN GENERAL) increases over time. This does NOT mean that ALL prices increase the same, nor that ALL prices necessarily increase. Some prices might increase a lot, others a little, and still other prices decrease or remain unchanged. Inflation results when the AVERAGE of these assorted prices follows an upward trend. Inflation is the most common phenomenon associated with the price level. inflation causes – Inflation is a persistent increase in the economy’s average price level. The two basic types (or causes) of inflation: demand-pull inflation and cost-push inflation. Demand-pull inflation, as the name clearly indicates, results when economy-wide shortages are created by increases in aggregate demand. Cost-push inflation results when an economy-wide shortages are created by decreases in aggregate supply, which are so named because they are more often than not triggered by increases in production cost. inflation premium – The difference between the nominal interest rate and the real interest rate. The role of the inflation premium is, quite simply, to adjust the interest rate for inflation. The nominal interest rate (the one on the loan contract) includes a real interest rate needed by the lender and a surcharge equal to the expected inflation rate used to maintain the purchasing power of the future payments. This expected inflation rate is the inflation premium. inflation problems – Two notable problems are associated with inflation: uncertainty and haphazard redistribution. Inflation, especially inflation that varies from month to month and year to year, makes long-term planning quite difficult. Prices, wages, taxes, interest rates, and other nominal values that enter into consumer, business, and government planning decisions can be significantly affected by inflation. Moreover, inflation tends to redistribute income and wealth in a haphazard manner; some people win and some people lose. But this redistribution might not that desired by society, failing to promote any of the basic economic goals of efficiency, equity, stability, growth, or full-employment. inflation rate – The percentage change in the price level from one period to the next. The two most common price indices used to measure the inflation are the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the GDP price deflator. aggregate demand determinant inflationary expectations – One of several specific aggregate demand determinants assumed constant when the aggregate demand curve is constructed, and that shifts the aggregate demand curve when it changes. An increase in the inflationary expectations causes an increase (rightward shift) of the aggregate curve. A decrease in the inflationary expectations causes a decrease (leftward shift) of the aggregate curve. Other notable aggregate demand determinants include interest rates, federal deficit, and the money supply. aggregate expenditures determinant inflationary expectations – One of several specific aggregate expenditures determinants assumed constant when the aggregate expenditures line is constructed, and that shifts the aggregate expenditures line when it changes. An increase in inflationary expectations causes an increase (upward shift) of the aggregate expenditures line. A decrease in inflationary expectations causes a decrease (downward shift) of the aggregate expenditures line. Other notable aggregate expenditures determinants include interest rates, federal deficit, consumer confidence, and exchange rates. inflationary gap – The difference between the equilibrium real production achieved in the short-run aggregate market and full-employment real production the occurs when short-run equilibrium real production is more than full-employment real production. An inflationary gap, also termed an expansionary gap, is associated with a business-cycle expansion, especially the latter stages of an expansion. This is one of two alternative output gaps that can occur when short-run production differs from full employment. The other is a recessionary gap. Keynesian model inflationary gap – The difference between equilibrium aggregate production achieved in the Keynesian model and full-employment aggregate production that occurs when equilibrium aggregate production is greater than full-employment aggregate production. An inflationary gap, also termed an expansionary gap, is associated with a business-cycle expansion. The prescribed Keynesian remedy for an inflationary gap is contractionary fiscal policy. This is one of two alternative output gaps that can occur when equilibrium generates production that differs from full employment. The other is a recessionary gap. inflexible prices – The proposition that some prices adjust slowly in response to market shortages or surpluses. This condition is most important for macroeconomic activity in the short run and short-run aggregate market analysis. In particular, inflexible (also termed rigid or sticky) prices are a key reason underlying the positive slope of the short-run aggregate supply curve. Prices tend to be the most inflexible in resource markets, especially labor markets, and the least inflexible in financial markets, with product markets falling somewhere in between. inflexible wages – The proposition that some wages adjust slowly in response to labor market shortages or surpluses. This condition is most important for macroeconomic activity in the short run and short-run aggregate market analysis. In particular, inflexible (also termed rigid or sticky) wages are a key reason underlying the positive slope of the short-run aggregate supply curve. information – The transmission or transfer of knowledge from one person to another. infrastructure – Capital used for transportation, communication, and energy delivery. This is often termed social overhead capital because it provides the basic capital foundation needed by an economy before business capital can adequately do its job. inheritance tax – A tax on that portion of the Assets of a deceased person that’s received by another. This should be compare with an estate tax, which is a tax is paid on the value of all assets before they are distributed to heirs. injection – A non-consumption expenditure on gross domestic product, including investment expenditures, government purchases, and exports. Injections are combined with leakages in the injection-leakage model used to identify equilibrium aggregate output in Keynesian economics. The notion of injection is best viewed through the circular flow, in which investment expenditures, government purchases, and exports are “injected” into the main flow between output, factor payments, national income, and consumption. injection line – A line used in the injection-leakage model representing the relation between non-consumption expenditures (that is, injections) and national income. The three injections are investment expenditures, government purchases, and exports. The foundation of the injection line is the investment line, which is then enhanced by adding government purchases and exports. The other part of the injection-leakage model is a line representing leakages. The intersection of the injection and leakage lines identifies equilibrium aggregate output, or Keynesian equilibrium. injection-leakage model – A model used in Keynesian economics based on the equality of non-consumption expenditures (or injections) and non-consumption uses of income (leakages). On one side of the equality is saving, taxes, and imports — the non-consumption leakages. On the other side of the equality is investment, government purchases, and exports — the non-consumption injections. The injection-leakage model provides an alternative to the Keynesian cross for identifying equilibrium aggregate output. injections-leakages model – A model used in Keynesian economics based on the equality of non-consumption expenditures (or injections) and non-consumption uses of income (leakages). On one side of the equality is saving, taxes, and imports — the non-consumption leakages. On the other side of the equality is investment, government purchases, and exports — the non-consumption injections. The injection-leakage model provides an alternative to the Keynesian cross for identifying equilibrium aggregate output. injunction – A court order requiring a person, union, or firm to refrain from a particular activity. The general intent of an injunction is to prevent the action of one person that is very likely to harm another. Injunctions were commonly used during the more turbulent periods of the labor union movement, primarily by firms to prevent unions from striking. The Clayton made it more difficult for firms to use injunctions against unions. innovation – The introduction and dissemination of a new idea, product, or technological process throughout society and the economy. The innovation process should be contrasted with the act of invention, which is the creation of something new, but not the dissemination. Innovations are often though of as applying to physical products and technology. However, it applies to all aspects of society and the economy–physical, tangible, ideological, cultural, and social. Innovation often leads to the widespread use of new products (such as computers and DVD players), but it also creates new cultural, social, and economic institutions (such as government agencies, forms of business organizations, and social trends). Innovations are consider to be a primary source of economic growth. input – The resources or factors of production used in the production of a firm’s output. This term is most frequently associated with the analysis of short-run production, and is often modified by the terms fixed and variable, as in fixed input and variable input. In the short run, the quantity of a fixed input can not be changed, meaning it can not be used to expand output. In contrast, a variable input can be changed, making it THE means of expanding output in the short run. inside lag – In the context of economic policies, the time between a shock to the economy and corrective government action responding to the shock. This is one of two primary lags in the use of economic policies. The other is outside lag, the time between the government action and the affect on the economy. The inside lag can be divided into the recognition lag and the implementation lag. The recognition lag is identifying the shock or need for action and the implementation is determining the appropriate policy response. Monetary policy tends to have a shorter outside lag than fiscal policy. The length of the inside and outside lags is one argument against the use of discretionary policies to stabilize business cycles. insider trading – The buying and selling of corporate stock or other financial instruments based on knowledge that is not widely available to the general public. Insider trading is most often undertaken by corporate executives or directors using information that they have acquired by working “inside” the company. Insider trading is illegal because it gives an unfair advantage to those on the inside. The president of a pharmaceutical company might be inclined to sell stock in the company using advanced information that the government is about to decline the patent application for a new drug. insolvency – The condition of a business when liabilities (excluding ownership equity) are greater than Assets. In other words, a business can’t pay it’s debts. This is a first step on the road to bankruptcy, but it doesn’t guarantee that legal bankruptcy proceedings will be initiated. institution – An established method or way of doing something that’s widely accepted throughout society. Common institutions include marriage, markets, high school football in the fall, government, and Christmas gift-giving. Institutions provide the rules and guidelines needed to carry out the day-to-day activities of our lives. Institutions provide the crucial structure of a society and the framework within which economic activity takes place. Without institution structure, anarchy would prevail. With the rules, though, come rigidities that can prevent resources from being allocated efficiently. instrument – Another term for a financial or legal claim on the physical goods, services, and resources of real side of the economy. Instruments are the means by which income is diverted between household, business, and government sectors. Common instruments are corporate stocks, government bonds, and paper currency. insurance – Transferring risk to others. The need for insurance occurs because people tend to be risk averse in many circumstances. As such, most of us are willing to pay for certainty. Those who satisfy this need for insurance, insurance companies for example, do so because they can pool risk. If insurance companies know the chance of some loss (an accident, illness, or whatever) and its cost, then they can divide this cost among a large group of risk averse types. The insurance company agrees to pay the cost of the loss and each of the risk averse types pay a risk premium, but get the peace of mind that goes with certainty. Inter-American Development Bank – A regional multilateral development institution established 1959 to help accelerate economic and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Bank provides loans and technical assistance using capital provided by its member countries, as well as resources obtained in world capital markets through bond issues. The Bank is owned by its 46 member countries: 26 borrowing member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 20 nonborrowing countries, including the United States, Japan, Canada, 16 European countries, and Israel. The Inter-American Development Bank has its headquarters in Washington, DC. aggregate expenditures line intercept – The intercept of the aggregate expenditures line indicates autonomous expenditures, aggregate expenditures that do not depend on the level of income or production. This can be thought of as aggregate expenditures that the four macroeconomic sectors (household, business, government, and foreign) undertake regardless of the state of the economy. Autonomous expenditures are affected by the aggregate expenditures determinants, which cause a change in the intercept and a shift of the aggregate expenditures line. consumption line intercept – The intercept of the consumption line indicates autonomous consumption, consumption that does not depend on the level of income or production. This can be thought of as the baseline level of consumption that would be undertaken if income falls to zero. Autonomous consumption is affected by the consumption expenditures determinants, which cause a change in the intercept and a shift of the consumption line. The value of the intercept of the saving line is the negative of the value of the intercept of the saving line. government purchases line intercept – The intercept of the government purchases line indicates autonomous government purchases, government purchases that do not depend on the level of income or production. This can be thought of as government purchases that the government sector undertakes regardless of the state of the economy. Autonomous government purchases are affected by the government purchases determinants, which cause a change in the intercept and a shift of the government purchases line. investment line intercept – The intercept of the investment line indicates autonomous investment, investment that does not depend on the level of income or production. This can be thought of as investment that the business sector undertakes regardless of the state of the economy. Autonomous investment is affected by the investment expenditures determinants, which cause a change in the intercept and a shift of the investment line. net exports line intercept – The intercept of the net exports line indicates autonomous net exports, net exports that do not depend on the level of domestic income or production. This can be thought of as net exports, exports minus imports, that the foreign sector undertakes regardless of the state of the economy. Autonomous net exports are affected by the net exports determinants, which cause a change in the intercept and a shift of the net exports line. saving line intercept – The intercept of the saving line indicates autonomous saving, saving that does not depend on the level of income or production. This can be thought of as the baseline level of saving that would be undertaken if income falls to zero. Autonomous saving is affected by the consumption expenditures determinants, which cause a change in the intercept and a shift of the saving line. The value of the intercept of the saving line is the negative of the value of the intercept of the consumption line. interdependence – The guiding behavioral principle of oligopoly firms in which the decision by one firm is both affected by the decisions of other firms and in turn affects the decisions of other firms. Such interdependence is characteristic of oligopoly firms that practice competition among the few. Interdependence is indicated by the kinked-demand curve, game theory, collusion, and mergers. interest – Payments for the use of borrowed funds. Interest is most commonly expressed as a percent of the borrowed funds, which is an interest rate. Interest is payment lenders receive as an incentive to forego funds that can be used to acquire current consumption. interest rate – The price of funds expressed as a percentage of the total amount loaned or borrowed. This is the cost of borrowing funds and the payment received for lending. Interest rates are invariably expressed as an annual percentage of the amount borrowed/loaned. A 10 percent interest rate, to run through an easy example, tells us that the cost of borrowing $1,000 for one year is $100. aggregate demand determinant interest rates – One of several specific aggregate demand determinants assumed constant when the aggregate demand curve is constructed, and that shifts the aggregate demand curve when it changes. An increase in interest rates cause a decrease (leftward shift) of the aggregate curve. A decrease in interest rates an increase (rightward shift) of the aggregate curve. Other notable aggregate demand determinants include the federal deficit, inflationary expectations, and the money supply. aggregate expenditures determinant interest rates – One of several specific aggregate expenditures determinants assumed constant when the aggregate expenditures line is constructed, and that shifts the aggregate expenditures line when it changes. A decrease in interest rates cause an increase (upward shift) of the aggregate expenditures line. An increase in interest rates cause a decrease (downward shift) of the aggregate expenditures line. Other notable aggregate expenditures determinants include consumer confidence, federal deficit, inflationary expectations, and exchange rates. interest-rate effect – A change in aggregate expenditures on real production, especially those made by the household and business sectors, that results because a change in the price level alters the interest rate which then affects the cost of borrowing. This is one of three effects underlying the negative slope of the aggregate demand curve associated with a movement along the aggregate demand curve and a change in aggregate expenditures. The other two are real-balance effect and net-export effect. interlocking directorate – A common practice in the late 1800s and early 1900s in which the same group of people serve on the boards of directors of different companies in the same industry. The use of interlocking directorates was a means of monopolizing a market by giving control over competing firms to the same group of people. The use of interlocking directorates was specifically outlawed by the Clayton Act in 1914. intermediary – The go-between that connects up buyer and sellers in a market. Stock brokers, real estate agents, and banks are common intermediaries. intermediate good – A good (or service) that is used as an input or component in the production of another good. Intermediate goods are combined into the production of finished products, or what are termed final goods. Intermediate goods will be further processed before sold as final goods. Because gross domestic product seeks to measure the market value of final goods, and because the value of intermediate goods are included in the value of final goods, market transactions that capture the value of intermediate goods are not included separately in gross domestic product. To do so would create the problem of double counting. intermediate goods and services – Goods and services that are used as inputs or components in the production of other goods. Intermediate goods are combined into the production of finished products, or what are termed final goods. Intermediate goods will be further processed before sold as final goods. Because gross domestic product seeks to measure the market value of final goods, and because the value of intermediate goods are included in the value of final goods, market transactions that capture the value of intermediate goods are not included separately in gross domestic product. To do so would create the problem of double counting. intermediate range – The positively-sloped segment of the Keynesian aggregate supply curve that reflects the trade-off between aggregate output and the price level. Shifts of the aggregate demand curve in this range lead to changes in both aggregate output and the in price level. The intermediate range is consistent with the modern view of a positively sloped short-run aggregate supply curve. The other ranges of the Keynesian aggregate supply curve are the Keynesian range and the classical range. internal rate of return – The anticipated rate of return on a capital investment project undertaken by a business firm. Businesses typically compare the internal rate of return, also termed the marginal efficiency of investment, on physical capital with interest rate returns on financial capital when deciding to undertake an investment project. Because different investment projects have different returns, businesses often have a range of alternatives projects from which to choose. Combining all projects throughout the economy gives rise to an investment demand curve relating investment expenditures to the interest rate. Internal Revenue Service – (IRS) An agency of the U. S. Department of Treasury with the responsibility of collecting taxes. It was established during the Civil War in 1862, but underwent a major overhaul in 1913 when the 16th amendment to the U. S. Constitution gave it the power to collect income taxes. international – A somewhat generic term refering to the interaction among different nations, including (from an economic perspective) international economics, international trade, and international finance. In many cases the terms foreign and international are used interchangably, such as foreign trade and international trade. International Brotherhood of Teamsters – One of the largest labor unions in the United States, this was established in 1903 and represents truck drivers, chauffeurs, warehouse workers, and labor in related activities. Their name was taken from the teamsters of the 1800s who guided wagons pulled by teams of horses or other animals. Their modern day counterparts have replaced teams of horses with diesel engines, but their function remains much the same. The Teamsters Union was originally part of the AFL-CIO, but was expelled in 1957 due to corruption among union leaders. The Teamsters Union rejoined the AFL-CIO in 1987. international economics – A branch of economics that studies economic interactions among different countries, including foreign trade (exports and imports), foreign exchange (trading currency), balance of payments, and balance of trade. While much of the interaction among countries is largely an extension of basic economic principles, complications do arise because nations are distinct political entities, with different laws and cultures, and with little or no overall governmental oversight. The guiding principle in the study of international economics is comparative advantage, which indicates that every country, no matter their level of development, can find something that it can produce cheaper than another country. The study of interational economics focusses on two related areas — international trade and international finance international finance – The economic interaction among different nations involving the monetray payments and the exchange of currency. The cornestone of international finance is foreign exchange, including foreign exchange markets and exchange rates. International trade, the study of trade between nations, is a related area of international economics. A summary of international trade undertaken by a particular nation is given with the balance of payments. International Monetary Fund – An agency of the United Nations established in 1945 to monitor and stabilize foreign exchange markets. Close to 150 of the world’s nations (which is just about all of them) belong to the IMF. The IMF was set up to keep countries from manipulating their exchange rates in such a way as to gain a competitive trading advantage over others. Their strategies of control have changed over the decades, but they currently use a managed float where exchange rates are allowed to fluctuate with changing market conditions, but only within certain ranges. The IMF also plays an active role in providing the “international” currency needed to participate in foreign trade through its system of Special Drawing Rights. international trade – The economic interaction among different nations involving the exchange of goods and services, that is, exports and imports. The guiding principle of international trade is comparative advantage, which indicates that every country, no matter their level of development, can find something that it can produce cheaper than another country. International finance, the study of payments between nations, is a related area of international economics. A summary of international trade undertaken by a particular nation is given with the balance of trade. international-substitution effect – A change in aggregate expenditures on real production, especially net exports through the foreign sector, that results because a change in the price level alters the relative prices of exports and imports. The international-substitution effect, also termed the net-export effect, is one of three effects underlying the negative slope of the aggregate demand curve associated with a movement along the aggregate demand curve and a change in aggregate expenditures. The other two are real-balance effect and interest-rate effect. intersection – In a graph the point at which two lines cross. In a more sophisticate mathematical view, the combination of two variables that simultaneously satisfy two separate relations. The most common intersection in economics involves the demand and supply curves. The equilibrium price and equilibrium quantity are the two variables that simultaneously satisfy the demand and supply relations (law of demand and law of supply). Most graphical intersection points are worth noting in the study of economics. More often than not an intersection point is also an equilibrium. introduction stage – The first stage in the product life cycle, characterized by high research and development (R&D;) and high production costs. Companies invest heavily in advertising and promotional activities to achieve product and brand name recognition in the minds of the consumers. Profits are usually non-existent and there is a high probability of failure during this initial stage. Product failure can occur if proper market research was not completed prior to development of the product (or service). This lack of research might lead to the development of a product that does not really have a market. Other situations that can cause failure at this stage include: lack of capital, an incomplete/defective product, or poor strategic planning. invention – The creation of a new idea, product, or technological process. The act of invention should be contrasted with the process of innovation, with is the dissemination new things throughout society. The distinction is important because inventions do not benefit society until they are distributed throughout the economy as innovations. inventory – Stocks of finished products, intermediate goods, raw materials, and other inputs that businesses have on hand. One big reason to keep inventories is to maintain a continuous stream of production by avoiding any supply shortages. Another big reason is to avoid the loss of sales because finished products are unavailable when a customer is ready, willing, and able to buy. inverse – The mathematical notion that two variables change in the opposite directions, that is, an increase in X goes with a decrease in Y, or a decrease in X goes with an increase in Y. The alternative to an inverse relation is a direct relation, in which an increase in one variable goes with an increase in the other. Inverse relations are graphically illustrated by negatively-sloped curves, a common example being the demand curve. investment – The sacrifice of current benefits or rewards to pursue an activity with expectations of greater future benefits or rewards. Investment is typically used to mean the purchase of capital by business in anticipation of the profit. By increasing the quantity or quality of resources, investment is a source of economic growth. While investment, in principle is diverse, in practice, the official government measure, as reported by the Department of Commerce, includes businesses’ purchases of capital and consumers’ purchases of new houses. investment banking – The process of wholesaling newly issued government securities, corporate stocks, bonds, and similar financial assets by purchasing large blocks and reselling them in smaller units to the public. In essence, investment banks “underwrite” stocks and bonds when they’re first issued by guaranteeing to sell them at a pre-set price. investment borrowing – The demand for loans obtained through the financial markets by the business sector which are used to finance investment expenditures on capital goods. In terms of the simple circular flow model, this is one of two basic demands for household saving diverted into financial markets. The other is government borrowing. investment business cycle – The notion that business cycles are caused by changes in business sector investment expenditures triggered by the natural ebb and flow of market conditions. This investment explanation of business cycle instability rests on the proposition that the seeds of each subsequent business-cycle phase are planted during the current phase. An expansion creates the conditions that cause a contraction and a contraction creates the conditions that cause an expansion. investment demand – The negative relation between investment expenditures and the interest rate, based on the marginal efficiency of investment for different capital investment projects. Business firms generally compare the expected return on physical capital (the marginal efficiency of investment) with the return on financial capital (the interest rate). Should the marginal efficiency of investment be greater than or equal to the interest rate, then the capital investment is undertaken. Because more investment projects exist with lower rates of return than higher, the relation between interest rates and investment expenditures is negative. investment demand curve – A graphical depiction of the negative relation between investment expenditures and the interest rate, based on the marginal efficiency of investment for different capital investment projects. This curve is derived by plotting, from high to low, the marginal efficiency of investment for all possible capital investment projects. Because firms select those projects with returns greater than the interest rate on financial capital, this marginal efficiency of investment curve traces out the investment demand curve. investment determinant – One of the ceteris paribus factors held constant when the investment line used in Keynesian economics is constructed. Some of the more important investment determinants are interest rate, technology, taxes, business confidence, cost of capital and expectations. A change in any of the investment determinants results in a shift of the investment line and a change in autonomous investment. This is just the sort of thing that triggers the multiplier effect. Business cycle instability is often traced to changes in investment determinants. investment expenditure – An expenditure by the business sector on final goods and services, in particular, capital goods like factories and equipment, undertaken in a given time period. investment expenditures – Expenditures by the business sector on final goods and services, in particular, capital goods like factories and equipment, undertaken in a given time period. investment line – A graphical depiction of the relation between business investment expenditures and national income that forms one of the key building blocks for Keynesian economics. The slope of this line is positive, greater than zero, less than one, and goes by the name marginal propensity to invest. The vertical intercept of the investment line is autonomous investment. The aggregate expenditures line used in the Keynesian cross is obtained by adding this investment line, as well as, government purchases and net exports, to the consumption line. The investment line is also combined with the saving line in saving-investment model used in Keynesian economics. investment security – One of several types of financial assets held by banks that provides a buffer between reserves and customer loans. Two of the more common investment securities are federal funds, loans made to other banks, and U.S. Treasury securities, used to finance the federal deficit. Investment securities are more liquid than customer loans, which means they can be quickly converted to reserves if needed to conduct daily transactions. But unlike legal reserves, investment securities generate interest revenue, although not as much as customer loans. Investment securities provide a nice balance between the profit of loans and the safekeeping of reserves. production possibilities investment – Investment typically refers to the purchase of productive capital by business in anticipation of increasing production and (presumably) generating more profit. More generally, investment can be considered as sacrificing the current satisfaction of wants and needs (consumption goods) to expand productive capability (capital goods). Production possibilities analysis can be used to illustrate the tradeoff between consumption and capital as a movement along a production possibilities curve. investment-saving model – A model used in Keynesian economics based on the equality of non-consumption expenditures (or injections) and non-consumption uses of income (leakages). On one side of the equality is saving, taxes, and imports — the non-consumption leakages. On the other side of the equality is investment, government purchases, and exports — the non-consumption injections. The investment-saving model provides an alternative to the Keynesian cross for identifying equilibrium aggregate output. invisible hand – The notion that buyers and sellers, consumers and producers, households and businesses, pursuing their own self-interests, do what’s best for the economy–automatically, without any government intervention, as if guided by an invisible hand. This invisible hand was essential to the economic analysis of markets in Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations. It has continued to be cornerstone in conservative economic policies that call for limits on government intervention in the economy. involuntary exchange – The process of being forced to unwillingly trade one item for another. The key term here is on “unwillingly.” For all practical purposes, involuntary exchanges is essentially another term for government taxes, in which people are forced to give part of their income to government in “exchange” for government services. Involuntary taxes should be contrasted with the “voluntary” exchanges that are fundamental to market transactions. involuntary unemployment – Unemployment that results when resources which are willing and able to engage in production are not because no one is buying the output they produce. From a macroeconomic perspective, involuntary unemployment results when aggregate demand is not sufficient to purchase all of the output produced by the resources. This is the primary problem of business-cycle contractions. The contrast to involuntary unemployment is voluntary unemployment. IRA – The abbreviation for individual retirement account, a savings retirement account set up with a bank, mutual fund, brokerage firm that allows people to set aside a portion of their income each year. Like other private pension plans, income diverted to an IRA is tax deferred, that is, taxes on not paid on the income until it is withdrawn during retirement. IRBNE – The abbreviation for income received but not earned. This is income received by the household sector, but not earned by a factor of production. A more common term for IRBNE is transfer payments. The three most common examples are Social Security benefits, welfare payments, and unemployment compensation. IRBNE is added to national income to derive personal income. IRR – The abbreviation for the internal rate of return, which is the anticipated rate of return on a capital investment project undertaken by a business firm. Businesses typically compare the IRR, also termed the marginal efficiency of investment, on physical capital with interest rate returns on financial capital when deciding to undertake an investment project. Because different investment projects have different returns, businesses often have a range of alternatives projects from which to choose. Combining all projects throughout the economy gives rise to an investment demand curve relating investment expenditures to the interest rate. Islamic Development Bank – A multilateral development financing institution, established to foster social and economic development of it’s member countries and Muslim communities world-wide. The functions of the Bank are to participate in equity capital and grant loans for productive projects and enterprises besides providing financial assistance to member countries in other forms for economic and social development. The Bank’s principal office is in Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The present membership of the Bank consists of 54 countries. J curve – An interesting relationship that exists between the exchange rate for a nation’s currency and its balance of trade. In principle, the drop in a nation’s exchange rate, or price of currency, makes the currency less expensive to “buy.” With “cheaper” currency the price of domestic production is less and the price of foreign stuff is more, causing an increase in exports to other countries and drop in imports coming in from foreign producers. The economy thus moves in the direction away from a trade deficit and toward a trade surplus. However, the first few months after a drop in the exchange rate the balance of trade goes in the other direction, with any existing trade deficit increasing or any trade surplus shrinking. This occurs because the quantities imported and exported don’t change in the short run, but the prices do. Because more is paid for the same amount of imported goods and receive less for the same amount of exports, total spending on imports increases, total revenue received from exports declines, and the movement is in the trade deficit direction. Once those quantities start adjusting in the long run, then we see a movement in the direction of a trade surplus. jawboning – The use of verbal encouragement or discouragement by political leaders or other influential people to achieve particular results. This term was coined in reference to actions by President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s. It is essentially an attempt by the President or other influential leaders to change public sentiment and move the economy in a particular direction without implementing or waiting for the results of formal economic policies. This also goes by the term moral suasion. job – Specific employment activities associated with a production process that are usually undertaken by a single worker. For example, someone might have the job of serving food or repairing cars. Others might have the job of teaching economics. The word “job” is the primary designation applied to a worker when hired by an employer. It is commonly used as a modifier for other terms, such as job satisfaction or job security, as reference to specific aspects of working or employment. job losers – Unemployed workers who have been involuntarily laid off or fired from their jobs. This is one of the official categories or unemployed workers tracted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics when compiling employment statistics and the unemployment rate. It is also a key to the theoretical notion of cyclical unemployment. job leavers – Unemployed workers who have voluntarily quit their current jobs and have immediate sought other employment. This is one of the official categories or unemployed workers tracted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics when compiling employment statistics and the unemployment rate. It is also a key to the theoretical notion of frictional unemployment. job satisfaction – The satisfaction or utility that a worker receives from employment. Job satisfaction might result from the working environment (friendly co-workers, supportive boss) or from the type of work performed (playing sports, creating artwork, accomplishing goals). Satisfaction generated by a job is part of the “total compensation” an employee receives, meaning workers with more job satisfaction are often willing to accept a lower monetary wage payment. job security – The prospects of continued employment with little or no fear of being forced to leave. Job security is often part of the terms of employment and is designed to reduce uncertainty for both employees and employers. However, it can also reduce worker productivity and restrict the efficient movement of resources between jobs. job vacancy rate – A simple little ratio of the number of job vacancies in our economy to the sum of employment and job vacancies. In essence, this measures the fraction of jobs in the economy that are open, but haven’t been filled. To be included as an officially vacant job, employers must be actively searching to fill it with a warm body, by advertising in the paper, contacting employment offices, etc. Like the more common unemployment rate, the job vacancy rate is a useful indicator of the business cycle. When the economy is booming, the job vacancy rate is likely to be relatively high. A low rate signals a recession. jobless claims – The number of people filing for the first time to receive unemployment compensation benefits during a given time period, usually one week. Jobless claims are key indicator of current economic activity and are one of twelve leading economic indicators that forecast business cycle activity. A rise in jobless claims is a clear indication that fewer people are employed, the unemployment rate is on the rise, and the economy is headed into a contraction. John Maynard Keynes – A British economist (born–1883, died–1946) who is most noted for his work The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, published 1936. The The General Theory revolutionized economic theory of the day, forming the foundation of Keynesian economics and creating the modern study of macroeconomics. Keynes was a well-known and highly respected economist prior to publication of The General Theory, however, this revolutionary work guaranteed Keynes a place as one of the most influential economists of all time. joint demand – Demand for two or more commodities that are either complements-in-consumption or complements-in-production. Joint demand results because two or more commodities are used together either to satisfy wants and needs or to produce goods and services. Because the commodities are used jointly, the demand for one good is necessarily based on the use and availability of another good. If, for example, you enjoy milk and brownies as complements-in-consumption, but the bakery is out of brownies, then your demand for milk is also likely to decline. joint product – One of two goods that are produced jointly using the same resource–that is, the production of one good automatically triggers the production of the other. Also termed by-products or complements-in-production, a noted example is the production of two goods–beef and leather–from one resource–cattle. Another joint product example is lumber and sawdust–both produced from a single tree. joint production – The simultaneous production of two or more goods from the same resource. For example the production of beef also results in the production of leather and the production of lumber also results in the production of sawdust. Joint production can be beneficial, that is, giving a producer multiple products to sell. But it can also be problematic when one of the joint products is undesirable, such as pollution or waste residuals. joint venture – An activity undertaken by two or more entities in which each entity has some degree of control. Joint ventures are commonly undertaken by two or more business firms, allowing each firm to participate in the benefits of the venture without the loss of control that would come from a formal merger of the firms. For example, a bank and a computer company might undertake a joint venture to develop a computerized, online payment system. Joint ventures are usually risky activities and often related to the development of new technology. junk bond – A bond, usually a corporate bond, that has a higher than average risk of default, but which pays a higher than average interest rate to compensate. Junk bonds were a popular method of investment during the 1970s and 1980s, especially to finance corporate mergers. Junk bounds held by savings and loan associations that defaulted were a major source of problems during the 1980s. judicial policy – Government policy based on enforcement of laws and regulations through the courts, especially the Supreme Court. Juglar cycle – A cycle of economic activity lasting between 8 and 10 years that acquired the name of the first economist to study it, Clement Juglar. The Juglar cycles is attributed to investment in equipment and machinery. This is one of four separate cycles of macroeconomic activity that have been documented or hypothesized. The other three are Kitchin cycle, Kuznets cycle, and Kondratieff cycle. just in time – A method of production in which inputs used in the production process are delivered to a firm or factory immediately before they are needed. Just in time limits the inventories of raw materials and intermediate goods kept on site. While this is credited with improving microeconomic production efficiency, it might also prevent macroeconomic business-cycle instability that is attributable to the unplanned build-up of business inventories. just price – A somewhat archaic term developed by St. Thomas Aquinas that the price of a good should equal the worth generally agreed to by society. This is based on a notion of justice and fairness that goods should only be exchange for something of equal value or worth. For example, if ice cream readily sells for a dollar a scoop throughout the city, but one vendor charges two dollars, then this higher price would not be considered a just price. This view of a just price is relies on the view that each good has an intrinsic value which is inconsistent with modern views of markets, prices, and subjective values. K – The standard abbreviation for the quantity of capital goods, especially for the analysis of production. The letter “K” is used even though capital begins with a “C” because “C” is commonly used to represent consumption. The complementary representations for other inputs are “L” for labor and “N” for population. Kaldor-Hicks efficiency – A type of efficiency that results if the monetary value of society’s resources are maximized. This is achieved if the marginal willingness to pay by those who benefit from an action is equal to the marginal willingness to accept of those harmed. If this condition is not achieved, then a Kaldor-Hicks improvement is possible. Kaldor-Hicks efficiency, named after Nicholas Kaldor and John Hicks, is the theoretical basis of benefit-cost analysis, a technique commonly used to evaluate the desirability of producing public goods (such as parks, highways, or reservoirs). This is one of two noted efficiency criteria used in economics. The other is Pareto efficiency. Kaldor-Hicks improvement – Based on the Kaldor-Hicks efficiency criterion, the notion that an action improves efficiency if the willingness to pay of those benefiting exceed the willingness to accept of those harmed. In other words, if those gains exceed those losses, or the benefits exceed the costs, then social welfare is improved and undertaking the action provides a net benefit to society. In other words, the winners can, in principle, compensate the losers for their loss, and still come out ahead. The actual compensation, however, is required. A contrasting condition for attaining efficiency is the Pareto improvement. keiretsu – A form of business structure common in Japan which involves an alliance of several businesses, each working toward the mutual success of the group. The alliance also has close ties to government. Each “independent” business owns stock in the others and shares executives and directors. Keiretsu can be either horizontally or vertically integrated. Horizontal keiretsu cluster around a major bank with business ventures in a wide variety of industries. Vertical keiretsu contain businesses in all production phases of a particular industry, from raw materials to production to marketing. Kemp-Roth Act – Officially titled the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, this was a cornerstone of economic policy under President Reagan. The three components of this act were: (1) a decrease in individual income taxes, phased in over three years, (2) a decrease in business taxes, primarily through changes in capital depreciation, and (3) the indexing of taxes to inflation, which was implemented in 1985. This act was intended to address the stagflation problems of high unemployment and high inflation that existed during that 1970s and to provide greater incentives for investment. A primary theoretical justification is found in the Laffer curve relation between tax rates and total tax collections. Keogh plan – A savings retirement plan for self-employed workers authorized by the Self-Employment Individuals Retirement Act (1982). A Keogh plan is similar to an IRA (individual retirement account), but is a bit more complicated to establish. Like other private pension plans, income diverted to Keogh plans are tax deferred, that is, taxes on not paid on the income until it is withdrawn during retirement. Keynesian – Relating to the macroeconomic theory developed by John Maynard Keynes to address the problem of the persistently high unemployment occurring during the Great Depression. This word is commonly used as a modifier for other terms, such as Keynesian economics, Keynesian policy, or Keynesian equilibrium. Beyond the theory itself, the term Keynesian has come to reflect a particular philosophy toward government and the economy that a market-based economy is unlikely to achieve the macroeconomic goals of full employment, growth, and stability without the active use of government policies. Keynesian aggregate expenditure model – The generic term for several graphical models used to analysis the basic components of Keynesian economics and to identify Keynesian equilibrium as the intersection of the aggregate expenditures line and the 45-degree line. Differences among the specific models are based on which sectors are included (household, business, government, and foreign) and whether expenditures are induced or autonomous. Keynesian aggregate supply curve – A modification of the standard aggregate supply curve used in the aggregate market (or AD-AD) analysis to reflect the basic assumptions of Keynesian economics. The Keynesian aggregate supply curve contains either two or three segments. The strict Keynesian aggregate supply curve contains two segments, a vertical classical range and a horizontal Keynesian range, meeting a right angle and forming a reverse L-shape. An alternative version replaces the right angle intersection with a gradual transition between the two segments that is positively sloped and termed the intermediate range. The modern aggregate supply curve is largely based on this intermediate range. Keynesian cross – The standard diagram used in Keynesian economics to identify the equilibrium level of aggregate output (that is, gross domestic product), with aggregate expenditures measured on the vertical axis, and aggregate output measured on the horizontal axis. This diagram contains two key lines, the aggregate expenditure line and the 45-degree line. Intersection between these lines indicates equilibrium aggregate output. This intersection, or cross, is what gives rise to the name. Keynesian disequilibrium – The state of the Keynesian model in which aggregate expenditures are not equal to aggregate production, which results in an imbalance that induces a change in aggregate production. In other words, the opposing forces of aggregate expenditures (the buyers) and aggregate production (the sellers) are out of balance. At the existing level of aggregate production, either the four macroeconomic sectors (household, business, government, and foreign) are unable to purchase all of the production that they seek or producers are unable to sell all of the production that they have. Keynesian economics – A school of thought developed by John Maynard Keynes built on the proposition that aggregate demand is the primary source of business cycle instability, especially recessions. The basic structure of Keynesian economics was initially presented in Keynes’ book The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, published in 1936. For the next forty years, the Keynesian school dominated the economics discipline and reached a pinnacle as a guide for federal government policy in the 1960s. It fell out of favor in the 1970s and 1980s, as monetarism, neoclassical economics, supply-side economics, and rational expectations became more widely accepted, but it still has a strong following in the academic and policy-making arenas. Keynesian equilibrium – The state of the macroeconomy in which aggregate expenditures are equal to aggregate output. This is illustrated using the income-expenditure model, or Keynesian cross, as the intersection of the aggregate expenditures line and the 45-degree line. The aggregate expenditures line is the summation of consumption expenditures, investment expenditures, government purchases, and net exports. The 45-degree line represents all combinations in which aggregate expenditures equal aggregate output. Keynesian equilibrium is also represented by the saving-investment, or injection-leakage, model as the intersection between the injection line (investment expenditures, government purchases, and exports) and the leakage line (saving, taxes, and imports). Keynesian model – A macroeconomic model based on the principles of Keynesian economics that is used to identify the equilibrium level of, and analyze disruptions to, aggregate production and income. This model identifies equilibrium aggregate production and income as the intersection of the aggregate expenditures line and the 45-degree line. The Keynesian model comes in three basic variations designated by the number of macroeconomic sectors included–two-sector, three-sector, and four sector. The Keynesian model is also commonly presented in the form of injections and leakages in addition to the standard aggregate expenditures format. This model is used to analyze several important topics and issues, including multipliers, business cycles, fiscal policy, and monetary policy. Keynesian range – The horizontal segment of the Keynesian aggregate supply curve that reflects rigid prices and wages. Shifts of the aggregate demand curve in this range lead to changes in the aggregate output, but not changes in price level. Such results are consistent with Keynesian economics, which is why this is termed the “classical” range. The other ranges of the Keynesian aggregate supply curve are the classical range and the intermediate range. Keynesian theory – A theory of macroeconomics developed by John Maynard Keynes built on the proposition that aggregate demand is the primary source of business cycle instability, especially recessions. The basic structure of the Keynesian theory of economics was initially presented in Keynes’ book The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936). killer application – A computer program that is so incredibly useful, popular, and profitable that the company responsible for development achieves enormous growth in a relatively short time period. Several computer companies developed killer applications during the 1980s and 1990s, which contributed greatly to the computer revolution. The Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet program was among the first, and perhaps most noted, killer applications. This program motivated millions of businesses and consumers in the early 1980ds to purchase personal computers. kinked-demand curve – A demand curve with two distinct segments with different elasticities that join to form a kink. The primary use of the kinked-demand curve is to explain price rigidity in oligopoly. The two segments are: (1) a relatively more elastic segment for price increases and (2) a relatively less elastic segment for price decreases. The relative elasticities of these two segments is directly based on the interdependent decision-making of oligopolistic firms. kinked-demand curve analysis – An analysis that seeks to explain rigid oligopolistic prices using the kinked-demand curve. The kinked demand curve contains two distinct segments, one for higher prices that is more elastic and one for lower prices that is less elastic. The corresponding marginal revenue curve contains a vertical segment at the existing or initial quantity. Because a profit-maximizing oligopolistic firm equates marginal cost to marginal revenue, marginal cost also can take on a range of values at the existing quantity. In other words, marginal cost can increase or decrease without inducing a profit-maximizing oligopolistic firm to change price or quantity. Kitchin cycle – A cycle of economic activity lasting between 3 and 5 years that acquired the name of the first economist to study it, Joseph Kitchin. The Kitchin cycle is attributed to investment in inventories (especially for consumer goods). It is the one that is commonly at work when people are concerned with business-cycle contractions. This is also one of four separate cycles of macroeconomic activity that have been documented or hypothesized. The other three are Juglar cycle, Kuznets cycle, and Kondratieff cycle. knowledge economy – The notion that economic activity is oriented on the production and consumption of knowledge (or information), which is fundamentally different from economic activity oriented on the production and consumption of manufacturing or agricultural goods. The key to the knowledge economy is the widespread use of computers, the Internet, and other information-based technology. Differences in the knowledge economy result for the public goods nature of knowledge and information (that is, use by one does not exclude use by another). Kondratieff cycle – A cycle of economic activity lasting between 45 and 60 years that acquired the name of the first economist to study it, the Russian economist N. D. Kondratieff. The Kondratieff cycle is somewhat controversial and has been attributed to a number of different causes, including investment in transportation infrastructure. This is one of four separate cycles of macroeconomic activity that have been documented or hypothesized. The other three are Kitchin cycle, Juglar cycle, and Kuznets cycle. Kuznets cycle – A cycle of economic activity lasting between 15 and 20 years that acquired the name of the first economist to study it, Nobel Prize laureate Simon Kuznets. The Kuznets cycle is attributed to investment in housing and building construction and is well know among professionals in the real estate market. This is one of four separate cycles of macroeconomic activity that have been documented or hypothesized. The other three are Kitchin cycle, Juglar cycle, and Kondratieff cycle. L – This has two common uses. One is as the standard abbreviation for the quantity of labor, especially for the analysis of production. The complementary representations for other inputs are “K” for capital and “N” for population. The second is as the broadest monetary aggregate for the U.S. economy tracked by the Federal Reserve System, best thought of as total liquid assets. It was since be discontinued. In it’s heyday, it was comprised of everything in M3 plus other liquid assets, including U.S. Treasury bills, commercial paper, and savings bonds. L was typically 15 to percent higher than M3 and seven times as much as M1. The Federal Reserve System discontinued this measurement in 1998. labor – One of the four basic categories of resources, or factors of production (the other three are capital, land, and entrepreneurship). Labor is the services and efforts of humans that are used for production. While labor is commonly thought of as those who work in factories, it includes all human efforts (except entrepreneurship), such as those provided by clerical workers, technicians, professionals, managers, and even company presidents. labor agreement – A formal, official, legal contract between a firm and the labor union representing the firm’s employees. Such an agreement stipulates the various aspects of employment, including wages, fringe benefits, vacations, layoffs, promotions, and grievance procedures. The terms of the agreement are generally negotiated through the collective bargaining process. Should the collective bargaining process breakdown, the terms of the labor agreement might be helped along through a third-party mediator. If this doesn’t help, then the labor union might call a strike or the firm might impose a lockout. Once in effect, any questions about the terms of the agreement are often subject to arbitration. labor force – The total number of people willing and able to exert mental and/or physical efforts in productive activities. In principle, this is everyone 16 years of age and over who is willing and able to work. In practice, it includes the sum of anyone over 16 years who is employed or unemployed but actively seeking a job. The labor force is essentially a more technical term for the economy’s labor supply. labor force participation rate – The proportion of the total noninstitutionalized civilian population 16 years of age and over that is in the civilian labor force. The labor force participation rate is essentially the ratio of the civilian labor force to the total noninstitutionalized civilian population 16 years of age and over. This ratio indicates the proportion of the available “working age” population that is willing and able to work and is either employed or actively seeking employment. labor-leisure tradeoff – The perpetual tradeoff faced by human beings between the amount of time spent engaged in wage-paying productive work and satisfaction-generating leisure activities. The key to this tradeoff is a comparison between the wage received from working and the amount of satisfaction generated from leisure. Such a comparison generally means that a higher wage entices people to spend more time working, which entails a positively sloped labor supply curve. However, the backward-bending labor supply curve results when a higher wage actually entices people to work less and to “consume” more leisure time. Labor-Management Relations Act – A Congressional act passed in 1947 that limited the power acquired by U.S. labor unions during the 1930 and into the 1940s. More commonly known as the Taft-Hartley Act, this outlawed unfair labor practices by labor unions to counterbalance earlier legislation that had outlawed unfair labor practices by firms. The Taft-Hartley Act also set up provisions to decertify unions, if members chose to do so, and allowed states to pass right-to-work laws, which would outlaw union shops. labor market – A market that exchanges the services of labor resources. For the macroeconomy, this is a critical aspect of the aggregate resource markets, especially the short-run condition of rigid prices. Labor market wages tend to be rigid in short run. Such wage rigidity, was well as other short run problems, prevent labor markets from achieve equilibrium. The result is either unemployment or overemployment, both of which prevent long-run equilibrium in the aggregate market. labor slowdown – A technique used by workers, generally labor union members, who reduce their productivity in an attempt to achieve a particular goal or objective. The goal pursued tends to be relatively minor, such as better lighting, and thus not worth engaging in a formal strike. labor union – An organization of workers or employees who act jointly to negotiate with their employers over wages, fringe benefits, working conditions, and other facets of employment. The main function of unions is to provide a balance for the market control exerted over labor by big business. labor union movement – Activities on the part of workers in the United States, beginning in the mid-1800s and extending into the mid-1900s, to establish labor unions and otherwise promote the interests of workers. This movement, which coincided with the onset of the U.S. industrial revolution, was launched with the Commonwealth versus Hunt court decision in 1842 which made it legal to join a labor union. The labor union movement had a turbulent and violent history as organized labor sought to gain greater control over labor market activities. The movement reached its peak in the 1950s, with just under 30% of the labor force belonging to labor unions. Laffer curve – The graphical inverted-U relation between tax rates and total tax collections by government. Developed by economist Arthur Laffer, the Laffer curve formed a key theoretical foundation for supply-side economics of President Reagan during the 1980s. It is based on the notion that government collects zero revenue if the tax rate is 0% and if the tax rate is 100%. At a 100% tax rate no one has the incentive to work, produce, and earn income, so there is no income to tax. As such, the optimum tax rate, in which government revenue is maximized, lies somewhere between 0% and 100%. This generates a curve shaped like and inverted U, rising from zero to a peak, then falling back to zero. If the economy is operating to the right of the peak, then government revenue can be increased by decreasing the tax rate. This was used to justify supply-side economic policies during the Reagan Administration, especially the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 (Kemp-Roth Act). lagging economic indicator – One of seven economic statistics that tend to move up or down a few months after the expansions and contractions of the business cycle. These statistics paint a pretty clear picture of what the economy was doing a few months back. Lagging economic indicators lag the turning points of the aggregate economy by 3-12 months. After a contraction begins, lagging indicators decline 3 to 12 months later. And 3 to 12 months after a expansion begins, lagging indicators rise. laissez faire – A french term that translates into “leave us alone.” It has become the rallying cry for many business leaders of the second estate who oppose government intervention, regulation, or even taxation. It’s based on the belief that markets alone can achieve an efficient allocation of our resources. This laissez faire philosophy of should be contrasted directly with the philosophy of paternalism, which essentially says “Government needs to care for you because you can’t care for yourself.” land – One of four basic categories of resources, or factors of production (the other three are labor, capital, and entrepreneurship). This category includes the natural resources used to produce goods and services, including the land itself; the minerals and nutrients in the ground; the water, wildlife, and vegetation on the surface; and the air above. law – Generally accepted, verified, fundamental principle of nature. Laws have been tested and verified through the scientific method. As a house is constructed from concrete, lumber, and nails, a theory is constructed from laws. To be a fundamental law of nature, a principle must capture a cause-and-effect relationship about the workings of the world. law of comparative advantage – A basic principle that states every nation has a production activity that incurs a lower opportunity cost than that of another nation, which means that trade between the two nations can be beneficial to both if each specializes in the production of a good with lower relative opportunity cost. While this law is fundamental to the study of international trade, it also applies to other activities, especially the specialization and the division of labor. law of demand – The inverse relationship between demand price and the quantity demanded, ceteris paribus. This fundamental economic principle indicates that as the price of a commodity decreases, then the quantity of the commodity that buyers are able and willing to purchase in a given period of time, if other factors are held constant, increases. This law is incredibly important to the study of economics. If you compiled a top ten list of economically important laws, the law of demand would be right there at the top. law of diminishing marginal returns – A principle stating that as more and more of a variable input is combined with a fixed input in short-run production, the marginal product of the variable input eventually declines. This is THE economic principle underlying the analysis of short-run production for a firm. Among a host of other things, it offers an explanation for the upward-sloping market supply curve. How does the law of diminishing marginal returns help us understand supply? The law of supply and the upward-sloping supply curve indicate that a firm needs to receive higher prices to produce and sell larger quantities. Why do they need higher prices? law of diminishing marginal utility – The principle stating that as more of a good is consumed, eventually each additional unit of the good provides less additional utility–that is, marginal utility decreases. Each subsequent unit of a good is valued less than the previous one. The law of diminishing marginal utility helps explain the negative slope of the demand curve and the law of demand. law of increasing opportunity cost – The proposition that opportunity cost, the value of foregone production, increases as more of a good is produced. This “law” can be seen in the production possibilities schedule and is illustrated graphically through the slope of the production possibilities curve. It generates the distinctive convex shape of the curve, making it flat at the top and steep at the bottom. law of supply – The direct relationship between supply price and the quantity supplied, ceteris paribus. This fundamental economic principle indicates that as the price of a commodity increases, then the quantity of the commodity that sellers are able and willing to sell in a given period of time, if other factors are held constant, also increases. This law, while not quite as iron-clad as the law of demand, is quite important to the study of markets. leading economic indicator – One of eleven economic statistics that tend to move up or down a few months before the expansions and contractions of the business cycle. These leading indicators are — manufacturers new orders, an index of vendor performance, orders for plant and equipment, Standard & Poor’s 500 index of stock prices, new building permits, durable goods manufacturers unfilled orders, the money supply, change in materials prices, average workweek in manufacturing, changes in business and consumer credit, a consumer confidence index, and initial claims for unemployment insurance. Leading indicators indicate what the aggregate economy is likely to do, business-cycle-wise, 3 to 12 months down the road. When leading indicators rise today, then the rest of the economy is likely to rise in the coming year. And when leading indicators decline, then the economy is likely to decline in 3 to 12 months. leakage – A non-consumption uses of income, including saving, taxes, and imports. Leakages are combined with injections in the injection-leakage model used to identify equilibrium aggregate output in Keynesian economics. The notion of leakage is best viewed through the circular flow, in which saving, taxes, and imports are “leaked” out of the main flow between output, factor payments, national income, and consumption. leakage line – A line used in the injection-leakage model representing the relation between non-consumption uses of income (that is, leakages) and national income. The three leakages are saving, taxes, and imports. The foundation of the leakages line is the saving line, which is then enhanced by adding taxes and imports. The other part of the injection-leakage model is a line representing injections. The intersection of the injection and leakage lines identifies equilibrium aggregate output, or Keynesian equilibrium. learning – A person’s changes in thinking and behavior due to environmental experiences. A consumer learns about products and services based on information input and subsequent adjustments in buying patterns. This is important in the promotion element of the marketing mix. Typically a potential customer requires 6 exposures to a product name in order to develop retention (learning). legal claim – Ownership of the physical goods, services, and resources that make up the real side of the economy. Legal claims are a key feature of the paper, or financial side of the economy. Transferring legal claims is the primary method of diverting income from household saving to investment and government borrowing. Legal-claim buyers loan income and legal-claim sellers borrower income. legal claims – Ownership of the physical goods, services, and resources that make up the real side of the economy. Legal claims are a key feature of the paper, or financial side of the economy. Transferring legal claims is the primary method of diverting income from household saving to investment and government borrowing. Legal-claim buyers loan income and legal-claim sellers borrower income. legal forces – Forces in the marketing environment that are shaped by government laws affecting business. These are very similar to political forces. Once laws are enacted they are usually very difficult to change. Many companies work hard at lobbying legislatures, Congress, and other elected to pass laws favorable to the company’s best interests. legal reserves – The total amount of vault cash or Federal Reserve deposits of a bank. These are the only bank assets that can be used legally to satisfy reserve requirements. legal types – The three primary types of legal firm organizations are: (1) proprietorship, (2) partnership, and (3) corporation. One primary difference between these three legal types are number of owners — proprietorship has one, partnership has two or more (but usually a small number), and corporation can have anywhere from one or to millions. A second difference is the liability of the owners — proprietorship and partnership owners have unlimited liability and corporation owners have limited liability. Three newer firm types include (1) limited partnership, (2) S corporation, and (3) limited liability company. Each of these three are hybrids, with characteristics of proprietorship, partnership, corporation. leisure – The portion of time workers and other people spend not being compensative for work performed when they actively engaged in the production of goods and services. In other words, this is the time people sent off the job. Leisure activities can include resting at home, working around the house (without compensation), engaging in leisure activities (such as weekend sports, watching movies), or even sleeping. Leisure time pursuits becomes increasingly important for economies as they become more highly developed. As technological advances reduce the amount of time people need to spend working to generate a given level of income, they have more freedom to pursue leisure activities. Not only does this promote sales of industries that provide leisure related goods (sports, entertainment, etc.) it also triggers an interesting labor-leisure tradeoff and what is termed the backward-bending labor supply curve. Lerner index – The difference between price (p) and marginal cost (mc) as a fraction of price, that is [p-mc]/p. The Lerner index is usually taken as an indicator of market power because the larger the index, the larger the difference between price and marginal cost, that is, the larger the distance between the price and the competitive price. The Lerner index depends on the elasticity of demand. The Lerner index is also called the price-cost margin. leverage – The use of credit or loans to enhance speculation in the financial markets. Suppose, for example, that you take the $1,000 in your bank account to your stock broker and purchase $1,000 worth of stocks, bonds, or whatever. A leveraged purchase would let you use your $1,000 to buy, let’s say, $10,000 worth of stocks or bonds. The remaining $9,000 of the purchase price comes from a loan. leveraged buyout – A method of corporate takeover or merger popularized in the 1980s in which the controlling interest in a company’s corporate stock was purchased using a substantial fraction of borrowed funds. These takeovers were, as the financial-types say, heavily leveraged. The person or company doing the “taking over” used very little of their own money and borrowed the rest, often by issuing extremely risky, but high interest, “junk” bonds. These bonds were high-risk, and thus paid a high interest rate, because little or nothing backed them up. liability – Something that you owe. The biggest liabilities for most consumers are loans, including mortgages, car loans, credit-card balances, and installment accounts at stores. liberal – A political view that favors–(1) paternalistic government, (2) correction of market failure with government intervention, (3) equal opportunities for all citizens regardless of race, age, gender, ethnic origin, or planet of origin, (4) redistribution of income and wealth, and (5) extensive regulation and control by government over the profit-seeking businesses of the second estate. lifestyles – The opinions, activities, and interests that an individual expresses through his or her pattern of living. People tend to spend their time in certain ways and with certain types of people. These tendencies of interactions with others and utilization of time strongly affect many components of consumer behavior and subsequent decisions to purchase or not. Lifestyle patterns influence product needs, brand preferences, where people shop, and types of media that are effective to reach consumers. limit pricing – The strategic behavior process in which a firm with market control sets its price and output so that there is not enough demand left for another firm to enter the market and earn profits. The firm expands its output causing the price to fall, which discourages potential entrants to this market. This practice is most commonly undertaken by oligopoly firms seeking to expand their market shares and gain greater market control. limited liability – A condition in which owners are not personally held responsible for the debts of by a firm. Corporations are the main form of business in which owners have limited liability. The primary benefit of limited liability is that it makes it possible for a business to accumulate large amounts of productive resources that lets it take advantage of large scale production. limited liability company – A relatively new legal firm type that operates very much like a partnership, but in which every owner has limited liability. The advantage of a limited liability company, over a limited partnership, is that every owner has limited liability. It also has advantages over an S corporation in that very few restrictions exist on who can be an owner. limited partnership – A partnership in which one or more of the partners/owners has/have limited liability. This differs from regular partnerships in which each partner has unlimited liability. The limited partnership legal structure was created to provide liability protection to “partners” seeking investment opportunities, who did not want to participate in the actual management of the firm. While these limited partners are very much like corporation shareholders, the difference is that at least one partner must have unlimited liability. limited resources – Finite quantities of labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship available to an economy for the production of goods and services. This is one half of the fundamental problem of scarcity that has plagued humanity since the beginning of time. The other half of the scarcity problem is unlimited wants and needs. line graph – A graph containing one or more lines or curves that are used to represent relations between two (or more) variables. A line graph is a useful method of illustrating scientific principles and hypotheses important for the economic analysis. line item veto – A policy intended to address the efficiency caused by legislative logrolling by giving executive officers who have veto authority over legislation (Presidents, Governors, Mayors), the ability to veto specific sections of a legislative act rather than the entire act. With a standard veto, the executive vetoes the entire piece of legislation. With line item veto, the executive can veto only parts of the legislation while signing the rest of it into law. While a line item veto is likely to reduce logrolling, it effectively gives the executive officer more power and authority. liquidity – The ease of converting an asset into money (either checking accounts or currency) in a timely fashion with little or no loss in value. Money is the standard for liquidity because it is, well, money and no conversion is needed. Other assets, both financial and physical have varying degrees of liquidity. Savings accounts, certificates of deposit, and money market accounts are highly liquid. Stocks, bonds, and are another step down in liquidity. While they can be “cashed in,” price fluctuations, brokerage fees, and assorted transactions expenses tend to reduce their money value. Physical assets, like houses, cars, furniture, clothing, food, and the like have substantially less liquidity. living standard – In principle, an economy’s ability to produce the goods and services that consumers use to satisfy their wants and needs. In practice, it is the average real gross domestic product per person–usually given the name per capita real GDP. loan loss reserves – A special account set aside by banks acting as a buffer between deposits and net worth that’s used in case a loan is not repaid. Without this reserve, an unpaid loan on the asset side of a bank’s balance sheet would require an adjustment of deposits or net worth on the liability side. The loan loss reserve is used for this adjustment. loan – In general, a transaction in which a legal claim is exchanged for money. The legal claim is typically a contract or promissory note stipulating when and how the money will be repaid. The lender gives up the money and receives the legal claim. The borrower gives up the legal claim and receives the money. A loan can be either an asset or a liability, depending on who does the borrowing and who does the lending. To the borrower, a loan is a liability, something that is owed. The borrower must pay off the loan or repurchase the legal claim. However, to the lender, a loan is an asset, something that is owned. In fact, loans represent a significant part of a bank’s assets. loans – In general, transactions in which legal claims are exchanged for money. The legal claim is typically a contract or promissory note stipulating when and how the money will be repaid. The lender gives up the money and receives the legal claim. The borrower gives up the legal claim and receives the money. A loan can be either an asset or a liability, depending on who does the borrowing and who does the lending. To the borrower, a loan is a liability, something that is owed. The borrower must pay off the loan or repurchase the legal claim. However, to the lender, a loan is an asset, something that is owned. In fact, loans represent a significant part of a bank’s assets. local bonds – Also called municipal bonds, these are medium or long-term financial instruments issued by municipalities to borrow the funds used to build schools, highways, parks and other public projects. An attractive feature of these financial instruments is that are exempt from federal income tax. Commercial banks, corporations, and others with large sums of funds to lend usually purchase these bonds. local input – An input that has a relatively small geographic market area due to the high cost of transportation. The high transportation cost means it is easier (that is, less expensive) to locate the production activity near the input rather than trying to bring the input to the production activity. Like many things, local inputs are a matter of degree. At the other end of the spectrum lies transferrable inputs. Natural resources of the land, such as soil fertility, weather conditions, mineral deposits, tend to have the greatest local orientation. Labor and many urban public utilities, such as water distribution and sewage disposable, also tend to fall into the local category. local output – An output that has a relatively small geographic market area due to the high cost of transportation. The high transportation cost means it is easier (that is, less expensive) to locate consumers near the output rather than trying to bring the output to the consumers. Like many things, local outputs are a matter of degree. At the other end of the spectrum lies transferrable outputs. Services, such as legal advice, health care, and entertainment, that are consumed as they are produced, tend to have a great deal of local orientation. location theory – A theoretical framework for studying the location decisions made of firms and households based on transportation cost and spatial differences in the accessibility of inputs and markets for outputs. Location theory, developed with noted contributions from August Losch, Alfred Weber, Johann von Thunen, Walter Christaller, and Walter Isard, explicitly considers the cost of transportation in the production and consumption choices made by firms and households. Location theory has been used to explain urban density, labor migration, and land use. lockout – A plant or factory that is closed temporarily, because it’s owners are trying to gain a negotiating advantage over the employees’ union. A lockout is commonly used by a company’s management if they suspect the union is planning to strike. A lockout by management before the union strikes is much like a pre-emptive military attach that tries to hit the enemy hard, fast, and first. logrolling – A systematic exchange of votes by politicians to obtain approval of specific legislation. That is, Senator Grapht agrees to vote for Senator Brybe’s pet project if Senator Brybe votes for Senator Grapht’s favorite piece of legislation. Such logrolling can be explicit or implicit. The explicit kind involves two separate bills, in which each politician is forced to “go on record” with a vote. The implicit kind, which many politicians favor, is where several separate programs are wrapped into a single bill. Every politician can then tell the folks back home that they really only wanted the “one thing” that helped their constituencies the most, but had to vote for “other things” as well. Logrolling is big reason our government is big and prone to inefficiency. long run – In terms of the macroeconomic analysis of the aggregate market, a period of time in which all prices, especially wages, are flexible, and have achieved their equilibrium levels. In terms of the microeconomic analysis of production and supply, a period of time in which all inputs in the production process are variable. long-run adjustment – The combined adjustment of an industry and of each firm in the industry to an equilibrium condition that based on (1) profit maximization when all inputs are variable and (2) the entry and exit of firms. The complete adjustment is undertaken by both perfect competition and monopolistic competition. There are two parts of this adjustment process. One is the adjustment of each firm to the appropriate factory size that maximizes long-run profit. The other is the entry of firms into the industry or exit of firms out of the industry, to eliminated economic profits or economic losses. The end result of this long-run adjustment is different for the two market structures based on the fact that perfect competition has equality between price and marginal revenue, while monopolistic competition does not. perfect competition long-run adjustment – The combined adjustment of a perfectly competitive industry and of each firm in the industry to an equilibrium condition that eliminates all economic profits and losses, while each firm selects a factor size that maximizes profit. This adjustment process involves two parts. One is the adjustment of each perfectly competitive firm to the appropriate factory size that maximizes long-run profit. The other is the entry of firms into the industry or exit of firms out of the industry, to eliminated economic profits or economic losses. The end result of this long-run adjustment is a multi-faceted equilibrium condition: P = AR = MR = MC = LRMC = ATC = LRAC long-run aggregate market – A macroeconomic model relating the price level and real production under the assumption that ALL prices flexible. This is one of two aggregate market submodels used to analyze business cycles, aggregate production, unemployment, inflation, stabilization policies, and related macroeconomic phenomena. The other is the short-run aggregate market. The long-run aggregate market isolates the interaction between aggregate demand and long-run aggregate supply. The key assumption of this model is that ALL prices, especially resource prices, are flexible. The primary result of this model is that the economy achieves long-run equilibrium at full-employment real production. long-run aggregate supply – The total (or aggregate) real production of final goods and services available in the domestic economy at a range of price levels, during a period of time in which all prices, especially wages, are flexible, and have achieved their equilibrium levels. Long-run aggregate supply (LRAS) is one of two aggregate supply alternatives, distinguished by the degree of price flexibility; the other is short-run aggregate supply (SRAS). long-run aggregate supply curve – A graphical representation of the long-run relation between real production and the price level, holding all ceteris paribus aggregate supply determinants constant. The long-run aggregate supply, or LRAS, curve is one of two curves that graphical capture the supply-side of the aggregate market; the other is the short-run aggregate supply curve (SRAS). The demand-side of the aggregate market is occupied by the aggregate demand curve. The vertical LRAS curve captures the independent relation between real production and the price level that exists in the long run. long-run average cost – The per unit cost of producing a good or service in the long run when all inputs are variable. In other words, long-run total cost divided by the quantity of output produced. Long-run average cost is based on economies of scale (or increasing returns to scale) and diseconomies of scale (or decreasing returns to scale). long-run average cost curve – A curve depicting the per unit cost of producing a good or service in the long run when all inputs are variable. The long-run average cost curve (usually abbreviated LRAC) can be derived in two ways. On is to plot long-run average cost, which is, long-run total cost divided by the quantity of output produced. at different output levels. The more common method, however, is as an envelope of an infinite number of short-run average total cost curves. Such an envelope is base on identifying the point on each short-run average total cost curve that provides the lowest possible average cost for each quantity of output. The long-run average cost curve is U-shaped, reflecting economies of scale (or increasing returns to scale) when negatively-sloped and diseconomies of scale (or decreasing returns to scale) when positively sloped. The minimum point (or range) on the LRAC curve is the minimum efficient scale. long-run equilibrium – The condition that exists for the aggregate market when the product, financial, and resource markets are in equilibrium simultaneously. This condition is made possible by flexible wages and prices and is represented by the intersection of the AD (aggregate demand) curve and the LRAS (long-run aggregate supply) curve. long-run equilibrium conditions – The long-run equilibrium of perfectly competitive industry generates six specific equilibrium conditions, including (1) economic efficiency (P = MC), (2) profit maximization (MR = MC), (3) perfect competition (MR = AR = P), (4) breakeven output (P = AR = ATC), (5) minimum production cost (MC = ATC), and (6) minimum efficient scale (MC = ATC = LRAC = LRMC). monopolistic competition long-run equilibrium – Relative freedom of entry and exit ensures that, in the long run, every firm in a monopolistically competitive industry earns exactly a normal profit, receiving neither an economic profit, nor incurring an economic loss. This result is achieved because entry and exit affects the market supply curve, which affects the overall market price, each firm’s demand curve, and the range or prices it can charge. Each firm’s demand curve adjusts until the profit-maximizing price is exactly equal to average total cost (both short run and long run). long-run industry supply curve – The relation between market price and the quantity supplied by all firms in a perfectly competitive industry after the industry as completed its long-run adjustment. The long-run industry supply curve effectively traces out a series of equilibrium prices and quantities the reflect long-run adjustments of a perfectly competitive industry to demand shocks. This long-run adjustment can take one of three paths: increasing, decreasing, and constant. These three adjustment paths indicate an increasing-cost industry, decreasing-cost industry, and constant-cost industry, respectively. macroeconomics long run – In terms of the macroeconomic analysis of the aggregate market, a period of time in which all prices, especially wages, are flexible, and have achieved their equilibrium levels. This is one of two macroeconomic time designations; the other is the short run. Long-run wage and price flexibility means that ALL markets, including resources markets and most notably labor markets, are in equilibrium, with neither surpluses nor shortages. Wage and price flexibility and the resulting resource market equilibria are the reason for the vertical long-run aggregate supply curve. long-run marginal cost – The change in the long-run total cost of producing a good or service resulting from a change in the quantity of output produced. Like all marginals, long-run marginal cost is the increment in the corresponding total. What’s most notable about long-run marginal cost, however, is that we are operating in the long run. Unlike the short run, in which at least one input is fixed, there are no fixed inputs in the long run. As such, there is only variable cost. This means that long-run marginal cost is the result of changes in the cost of all inputs. long-run marginal cost curve – A graphical representation of the relationship between long-run marginal cost and the quantity of output produced. Like other marginal curves, the long-run marginal cost curve follows the average-marginal rule relative to the long-run average cost curve. In all outward appearance, the long-run marginal cost curve looks very much like the short-run marginal cost, that is, it is U-shaped. However, the U-shape is attributable to returns to scale rather than increasing and decreasing marginal returns. microeconomics long run – In terms of the microeconomic analysis of production and supply, a period of time in which all inputs in the production process are variable. The long run is primarily used to analyze production decisions for a firm and is also referred to as the planning horizon. The long run is a period of time in which a business can change the quantities of ALL resource inputs–labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship. Nothing is fixed. If your factory is to small, well then, build a bigger one. The long-run analysis of production is used to better understand economies of scale, diseconomies of scale, and long-run market supply. long-run production – An analysis of the production decision made by a firm in the long run. The central feature of this long-run analysis is returns to scale, which results in the long run even though all inputs are variable. Returns to scale are reflected in the long-run average cost curve as either economies to scale or diseconomies to scale. long-run total cost – The opportunity cost incurred by all of the factors of production used in the long run (when all inputs are variable) by a firm to produce of a good or service, including wages paid to labor, rent paid for the land, interest paid to capital owners, and a normal profit paid to entrepreneurs. Unlike short-run total cost, long-run total cost can not be separated into fixed cost and variable cost. In the long run, all inputs are variable, so all cost is variable. long-run trend – The general movement over time of particular measurement, especially one prone toward shorter term fluctuations. One of the most important long-run trends in the study of macroeconomics is for real GDP. The long-run trend of real GDP, which has historically increased about 3% a year, indicates the increase in the economy’s production capabilities. Such capabilities have increased due to increases in the quantity and quality of resources. Lorenz curve – In general, a diagram illustrating the degree of inequality and concentration for a group. This is accomplished by plotting the cumulative percentage of a total amount obtained by cumulative percentages of the group. A common use of the Lorenz curve is the distribution of income, in which the cumulative percentage of income is measured on the vertical axis and the cumulative percentage of the population is measured on the horizontal axis. Perfect equality is indicated by a 45-degree line (that is, 10% of the population has 10% of the income, 20% of the population has 20% of the income, etc.). The actual Lorenz curve inevitably lies below the 45-degree line. The extent that the Lorenz curve differs from the 45-degree line indicates the extent of inequality. loss leader – Products sold below cost by a retail store in an attempt to attract buyers who are likely to buy other, more expensive, stuff. Stores are very fond of advertising and even selling popular products at very low prices. However, they hope that once customers have seen fit to enter their stores, then the suckers, er, customers will decide to buy other products that aren’t so popular or so low priced. These popular, low-priced products are loss leaders. Sure the store loses profit on the products, but they make up these loses on other stuff. monopoly loss minimization – The marginal revenue and marginal cost approach to analyzing a monopoly firm’s short-run production decision can be used to identify economic loss. The U-shaped cost curves used in this analysis provides all of the information needed on the cost side of the firm’s decision. The demand curve facing the firm (which is also the firm’s average revenue curve) and the firm’s marginal revenue curve provides the information needed on the revenue side. loss minimization rule – A rule stating that firm minimizes economic loss by producing output in the short run that equates marginal revenue and marginal cost if price is less than average total cost but greater than average variable cost. In the short run, a firm incurs total fixed cost whether or not it produces any output. As such, if the market price is falls below average total cost, it must decide if the economic loss from producing the quantity of output that equates marginal revenue and marginal cost is more or less than the economic loss incurred with shutting down production in the short run (which is equal to total fixed cost). LRAC – The abbreviation for long-run average cost, which is the per unit cost of producing a good or service in the long run when all inputs are variable. In other words, long-run total cost divided by the quantity of output produced. Long-run average cost is based on economies of scale (or increasing returns to scale) and diseconomies of scale (or decreasing returns to scale). LRAC curve – The common abbreviation for the long-run average cost curve, which is a curve depicting the per unit cost of producing a good or service in the long run when all inputs are variable. The long-run average cost curve can be derived in two ways. On is to plot long-run average cost, which is, long-run total cost divided by the quantity of output produced. at different output levels. The more common method, however, is as an envelope of an infinite number of short-run average total cost curves. Such an envelope is base on identifying the point on each short-run average total cost curve that provides the lowest possible average cost for each quantity of output. The long-run average cost curve is U-shaped, reflecting economies of scale (or increasing returns to scale) when negatively-sloped and diseconomies of scale (or decreasing returns to scale) when positively sloped. The minimum point (or range) on the LRAC curve is the minimum efficient scale. LRAS – The abbreviation of long-run aggregate supply, which is the total (or aggregate) real production of final goods and services available in the domestic economy at a range of price levels, during a period of time in which all prices, especially wages, are flexible, and have achieved their equilibrium levels. Long-run aggregate supply (LRAS) is one of two aggregate supply alternatives, distinguished by the degree of price flexibility; the other is short-run aggregate supply (SRAS). LRAS curve – The abbreviation of long-run aggregate supply, which is the long-run relation between real production and the price level, holding all ceteris paribus aggregate supply determinants constant. The LRAS curve is one of two curves that graphical capture the supply-side of the aggregate market; the other is the short-run aggregate supply curve (SRAS). The demand-side of the aggregate market is occupied by the aggregate demand curve. The vertical LRAS curve captures the independent relation between real production and the price level that exists in the long run. LRMC – The abbreviation for long-run marginal cost, which is the change in the long-run total cost of producing a good or service resulting from a change in the quantity of output produced. Like all marginals, long-run marginal cost is the increment in the corresponding total. What’s most notable about long-run marginal cost, however, is that we are operating in the long run. Unlike the short run, in which at least one input is fixed, there are no fixed inputs in the long run. As such, there is only variable cost. This means that long-run marginal cost is the result of changes in the cost of all inputs. LRMC curve – The common abbreviation for the long-run marginal cost curve, which is the graphical representation of the relationship between long-run marginal cost and the quantity of output produced. Like other marginal curves, the long-run marginal cost curve follows the average-marginal rule relative to the long-run average cost curve. In all outward appearance, the long-run marginal cost curve looks very much like the short-run marginal cost, that is, it is U-shaped. However, the U-shape is attributable to returns to scale rather than increasing and decreasing marginal returns. LRTC – The abbreviation for long-run total cost, which is the opportunity cost incurred by all of the factors of production used in the long run (when all inputs are variable) by a firm to produce of a good or service, including wages paid to labor, rent paid for the land, interest paid to capital owners, and a normal profit paid to entrepreneurs. Unlike short-run total cost, long-run total cost can not be separated into fixed cost and variable cost. In the long run, all inputs are variable, so all cost is variable. Luddite – A term used when referring to people, especially workers and union members, who are violently opposed to the introduction of new technology and technologically advanced machinery. Their opposition stems in part from a fear of something that is new and different and in part from a concern that the new technology will reduced the demand for labor and eliminate their jobs. This name stems for the actions of a group calling themselves Luddites who, from 1811 to 1816, sabotaged knitting machines introduced into the textile industry in England. luxury good – In general, a good (or service) that is not essential but makes like more enjoyable. Luxury goods are often more expensive and primarily purchased by people with more wealth and income. Using more precise, technical language, a luxury good exists if the income elasticity of demand is positive and greater than one. In other words, as people receive more income, they devote an increasingly larger share of income to the purchase of luxury goods. luxury tax – A tax on relatively expensive goods that are typically purchased primarily by the wealthy or affluent. A luxury tax is generally set up as an excise tax on the purchase price of a good over an specific amount. For example, a 10% tax on the purchase price of an automobile over $30,000 would be considered a luxury tax. Goods most likely subject to luxury taxies are (expensive) cars, jewelry, boats, planes, and furs. A luxury tax is, by design, a progressive tax that falls more heavily on those with more income. Like almost every tax, a luxury tax is controversial and debated, favored by those not paying and opposed by those paying. M – The standard abbreviation for imports produced by the domestic economy and purchased by the foreign sector, especially when used in the study of macroeconomics. This abbreviation is most often seen in the aggregate expenditure equation, AE = C + I + G + (X – M), where C, I, G, and (X – M) represent expenditures by the four macroeconomic sectors, household, business, government, and foreign. The United States, for example, buys a lot of the stuff produced within the boundaries of other countries, including bananas, coffee, cars, chocolate, computers, and, well, a lot of other products. Imports, together with exports, are the essence of foreign trade–goods and services that are traded among the citizens of different nations. Imports and exports are frequently combined into a single term, net exports (exports minus imports). M1 – The narrow-range monetary aggregate for the U.S. economy containing the combination of currency (and coins) issued by government and held by the nonbank public and checkable deposits issued by banking institutions. M1 contains the two items that function as THE medium of exchange for the U.S. economy. M1 is one of three monetary aggregates tracked and reported by the Federal Reserve System. The other two are designated M2 and M3. M2 – The medium-range monetary aggregate for the U.S. economy containing the combination of M1 (currency and checkable deposits) and short-term, small denomination near monies. M2 contains financial assets that either function directly as money for the U.S. economy or can be easily and quickly converted into money. The near monies added to M1 to derive M2 include savings deposits, certificates of deposit, money market deposits, and money market mutual funds. M2 is one of three monetary aggregates tracked and reported by the Federal Reserve System. The other two are designated M1 and M3. M3 – The wide-range monetary aggregate for the U.S. economy containing the combination of M2 (currency, checkable deposits, and assorted savings deposits) and large-denomination, institutional near monies. M3 contains financial assets that are relatively liquid, but not quite as liquid as those found in M1 or M2. The near monies added to M2 to derive M3 include large denomination certificates of deposit, institutional money market mutual funds, repurchase agreements, and Eurodollars. M3 is one of three monetary aggregates tracked and reported by the Federal Reserve System. The other two are designated M1 and M2. Maastricht Treaty – An agreement among 12 European nations in 1992 that established the European Union. The 12 nations signing the Maastricht Treaty are Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Germany, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, and Great Britain. This treaty was designed to form a more economically and politically integrated European economy, including the reduction or elimination of tariffs and nontariff barriers, the creation of monetary unit (the euro), the establishment of a common military and defense policy, and centralized monetary policy. This amended early agreements setting up a European common market. The Maastricht Treaty is merely one of several international trade agreements created over the years to reduce trade restrictions. Others include the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the North American Free Trade Agreement. macro goals – The three goals of a mixed economy that are most relevant to the study of macroeconomics are full employment, stability, and economic growth. Full employment is the condition in which all of the economy’s available resources are engaged in the production of goods and services. Stability is the condition in which the economy avoids large changes in production, employment, and especially prices. Economic growth is the condition in which the economy’s production possibilities are expanding over time. macroeconomic markets – Three sets of markets that make up the macroeconomy–product, financial, and resource–which exchange the three primary types of macroeconomic commodities–gross production, legal claims, and factor services. The four macroeconomic sectors–household, business, government, and foreign–interact through these three sets of markets. The primary objective of macroeconomic theories is to explain activity that takes place in these three sets of markets. macroeconomic policy – Government policy aimed at the aggregate economy, usually to promote the macro goals of full employment, stability, and growth. Common macroeconomic policies are fiscal and monetary. macroeconomic problems – Undesirable situations that exist in the macroeconomy, largely because one or more of the macroeconomic goals are not satisfactorily attained. The primary problems are unemployment, inflation, and stagnant growth. Macroeconomic theories are designed to explain why these problems emerge and to recommend corrective policies. macroeconomic sectors – The four aggregate sectors of the macroeconomy–household, business, government, and foreign–that reflect four key macroeconomic functions and are responsible for four expenditures on gross domestic product. These four sectors are the primary “actors” on the macroeconomic stage. Macroeconomic theories then explain macroeconomic phenomena by exploring the interaction among these four sectors. macroeconomic theories – Scientific theories that seek to explain phenomena associated with the macroeconomy. The primary phenomena investigated are unemployment, inflation, and the level of aggregate production. Macroeconomic theories also inevitably provide policy recommendations intended to improve the performance of the economy and to correct macroeconomic problems. A few of the more noted macroeconomic theories are: Classical economics, Keynesian economics, aggregate market (AS-AD) analysis, IS-LM analysis, Monetarism, and New Classical economics. macroeconomics – The branch of economics that studies the entire economy, especially such topics as aggregate production, unemployment, inflation, and business cycles. It can be thought of as the study of the economic forest, as compared to microeconomics, which is study of the economic trees. macroeconomy – The aggregate, or national economy that is the prime focus of the study of macroeconomics. majority rule – A voting rule in which decisions are made based on the majority of those casting a vote. That is, the candidate or program receiving the majority of the votes is the winner. The majority is defined as one vote more than fifty percent of the total number of votes cast. If 100 votes are cast, the majority is 51 votes. If 100 million votes are cast, the majority is 50 million and one (50,000,001). This is perhaps the most common of several voting rules. Others include super majority, unanimity, and plurality. managed float – An exchange rate that (like a floating exchange rate) is free to move up and down, but is subject to government control (like a fixed exchange rate) if it moves beyond certain boundaries. With managed float, the government steps into the foreign exchange market and buys or and sells whatever currency is necessary keep the exchange rate within desired limits. The logic behind managed float is that an unrestricted movement of exchange rates is usually pretty healthy, but serious problems in the balance of payment and balance of trade result if it floats too far in either direction. margin requirement – The fraction of the purchase price of financial investments, like stocks and bonds, that the buyer must pay for in cash. The remaining part of the purchase price can thus be financed with credit. marginal analysis – A basic technique used in the economics that analyzes small, incremental changes in key variables. The economic obsession with marginal changes exists for at least two reasons. One reason is that many economic decisions made in the real world are made “at the margin.” A second reason for using marginal analysis can best be termed analytical sophistication. marginal cost – The change in total cost (or total variable cost) resulting from a change in the quantity of output produced by a firm in the short run. Marginal cost indicates how much total cost changes for a give change in the quantity of output. Because changes in total cost are matched by changes in total variable cost in the short run (remember total fixed cost is fixed), marginal cost is the change in either total cost or total variable cost. Marginal cost, usually abbreviated MC, is found by dividing the change in total cost (or total variable cost) by the change in output. marginal cost and diminishing marginal returns – Decreasing then increasing marginal cost that gives rise to a U-shaped marginal cost curve reflects increasing then decreasing marginal returns. In particular the decreasing marginal returns is caused by the law of diminishing marginal returns. As such, the law of diminishing marginal returns affects not only the short-run production of a firm but also the cost of production in the short run. marginal cost and marginal product – Because variable cost is largely associated with the cost of employing a variable input in the short run, it’s possible to identify a connection between the marginal cost curve and the marginal product curve. In particular, the quantity of output in which marginal cost is at a minimum, is the same quantity of output produced by the variable input when the marginal product of the variable input is at a maximum. In addition, over the range of production in which the variable input experiences increasing marginal returns and marginal product increases, the marginal cost curve declines. And over the range of production in which the variable input experiences decreasing marginal returns brought on by the law of diminishing marginal returns and marginal product increases, the marginal cost curve is rising. marginal cost curve – A curve that graphically represents the relation between marginal cost incurred by a firm in the short-run product of a good or service and the quantity of output produced. This curve is constructed to capture the relation between marginal cost and the level of output, holding other variables, like technology and resource prices, constant. The marginal cost curve is U-shaped. Marginal cost is relatively high at small quantities of output, then as production increases, declines, reaches a minimum value, then rises. This shape of the marginal cost curve is directly attributable to increasing, then decreasing marginal returns (and the law of diminishing marginal returns). marginal efficiency of investment – The anticipated rate of return on a capital investment project undertaken by a business firm. Businesses typically compare the marginal efficiency of investment, abbreviated MEI, on physical capital with interest rate returns on financial capital when deciding to undertake an investment project. Because different investment projects have different returns, businesses often have a range of alternatives projects from which to choose. Combining all projects throughout the economy gives rise to an investment demand curve relating investment expenditures to the interest rate. marginal factor cost – The change in total factor cost resulting from a change in the quantity of factor input, found by dividing the change in total factor cost by the change in quantity of factor input. Marginal factor cost, abbreviated MFC, indicates how a firm’s total factor cost is affected by hiring one more or one fewer worker. Two related concepts are total factor cost and average factor cost. marginal factor cost and average factor cost – The relation between marginal factor cost and average factor cost is comparable to other average-marginal relations found in the study of economics. For a firm that hires factors in a perfectly competitive factor market, marginal factor cost and average factor cost are equal, and equal to the factor market price. All three are represented by a horizontal, or perfectly elastic, curve equal to the factor market price. For a firm that hires factors in an imperfectly competitive factor market, especially monopsony, marginal factor cost is greater than both average factor cost and the factor market price. marginal factor cost curve – A curve that graphically represents the relation between factor quantity and the marginal factor cost incurred by a firm for buying or hiring a factor of production. Marginal factor cost curve indicates how a firm’s total factor cost is affected by hiring one more or one fewer worker. This curve is constructed to capture the relation between marginal factor cost and the factor quantity, holding other variables constant. monopsony marginal factor cost curve – A curve that graphically represents the relation between marginal factor cost incurred by a monopsony for hiring an input and the quantity of input employed. A profit-maximizing monopsony hires the quantity of input found at the intersection of the marginal factor cost curve and marginal revenue product curve. The marginal factor cost curve for a monopsony with market control is positively sloped and lies above the average factor cost curve. perfect competition marginal factor cost curve – A curve that graphically represents the relation between marginal factor cost incurred by a perfectly competitive firm for hiring an input and the quantity of input employed. A profit-maximizing perfectly competitive firm hires the quantity of input found at the intersection of the marginal factor cost curve and marginal revenue product curve. The marginal factor cost curve for a perfectly competitive firm with no market control is horizontal. monopsony marginal factor cost – The change in total factor cost resulting from a change in the quantity of factor input employed by a monopsony. Marginal factor cost, abbreviated MFC, indicates how total factor cost changes with the employment of one more input. It is found by dividing the change in total factor cost by the change in the quantity of input used. Marginal factor cost is compared with marginal revenue product to identify the profit-maximizing quantity of input to hire. perfect competition marginal factor cost – The change in total factor cost resulting from a change in the quantity of factor input employed by a perfectly competitive firm. Marginal factor cost, abbreviated MFC, indicates how total factor cost changes with the employment of one more input. It is found by dividing the change in total factor cost by the change in the quantity of input used. Marginal factor cost is compared with marginal revenue product to identify the profit-maximizing quantity of input to hire. marginal physical product – The change in the quantity of total product resulting from a unit change in a variable input, keeping all other inputs unchanged. Marginal physical product, usually abbreviated MPP, is found by dividing the change in total product by the change in the variable input. Marginal physical product usually goes by the shorter name marginal product. marginal product – The change in the quantity of total product resulting from a unit change in a variable input, keeping all other inputs unchanged. Marginal product, usually abbreviated MP, is found by dividing the change in total product by the change in the variable input. Marginal product lies at the very foundation of the analysis of short-run production and the subsequent explanation of the law of supply and the upward-sloping supply curve, using the law of diminishing marginal returns. marginal product curve – A curve that graphically illustrates the relation between marginal product and the quantity of the variable input, holding all other inputs fixed. This curve indicates the incremental change in output at each level of the variable input. The marginal product curve is one of three related curves used in the analysis of the short-run production of a firm. The other two are total product curve and average product curve. The marginal product curve plays in key role in the economic analysis of short-run production by a firm in large part because economists are generally obsessed with marginal changes in production. marginal productivity theory – A theory used to analyze the profit-maximizing quantity of inputs (that is, the services of factor of productions) purchased by a firm in the production of its output. Marginal productivity theory indicates that the demand for a factor of production input is based on the marginal product of the factor and the price of the output produced by the factor. marginal propensity for government purchases – The proportion of each additional dollar of national income that is used for government purchases. Or alternatively, this is the change in government purchases due to a change in national income. Abbreviated MPG, the marginal propensity for government purchases is the slope of the government purchases line used in the analysis of Keynesian economics. As such, it also plays a role in the slope of the aggregate expenditure line and the multiplier effect. marginal propensity to consume – The proportion of each additional dollar of household income that is used for consumption expenditures. Or alternatively, this is the change in consumption expenditures due to a change in disposable income. Abbreviated MPC, the marginal propensity to consume is the slope of the consumption or propensity-to-consume line that forms the foundation for Keynesian economics. As such, it also takes center stage for the slope of the aggregate expenditure line and the multiplier effect. The sum of the marginal propensity to consume and the related concept, the marginal propensity to save, is equal to one. marginal propensity to import – The proportion of each additional dollar of household income that is used for imports. Or alternatively, this is the change in imports due to a change in disposable income. Abbreviated MPI, the marginal propensity to import plays a minor role in modifying the aggregate expenditure line and the multiplier effect. marginal propensity to invest – The proportion of each additional dollar of national income that is used for investment expenditures. Or alternatively, this is the change in investment expenditures due to a change in national income. Abbreviated MPI, the marginal propensity to invest is the slope of the investment line used in the analysis of Keynesian economics. As such, it also plays a role in the slope of the aggregate expenditure line and the multiplier effect. marginal propensity to save – The proportion of each additional dollar of household income that is used for saving. Or alternatively, this is the change in saving due to a change in disposable income. Abbreviated MPS, the marginal propensity to save is the slope of the saving or propensity-to-save line. It also takes center stage for the multiplier effect. In particular, the inverse of the MPS is the simple expenditure multiplier. The sum of the marginal propensity to save and the related concept, the marginal propensity to consume, is equal to one. marginal returns – The change in the quantity of total product resulting from a unit change in a variable input, holding all other inputs fixed. You might recognize this as the definition of marginal product. It is. Marginal returns is an older and more generic term for marginal product. While marginal product has largely replaced marginal returns in most discussions of short-run production, the phrase does persist in a few terms like the law of diminishing marginal returns. When you come upon the phrase marginal returns, more often than not, it’s probably referring to marginal product. marginal revenue – The change in total revenue resulting from a change in the quantity of output sold. For a perfectly competitive firm, marginal revenue is equal to price. marginal revenue and marginal cost – A profit-maximizing firm produces the quantity of output that equates marginal revenue and marginal cost. This is one of three methods typically used to determine the profit-maximizing quantity of output produced by a firm. The other two methods are total revenue and total cost and profit curve. This marginal revenue and marginal cost approach to identifying profit-maximizing production can be accomplished using either a table of numbers of a set of curves. The end result is the same. Profit-maximizing production takes place at the quantity generating an equality between marginal revenue and marginal cost. marginal revenue curve – A curve that graphically represents the relation between marginal revenue received by a firm for selling its output and the quantity of output sold. The marginal revenue curve is constructed to capture the relation between marginal revenue and the level of output, holding other variables constant. monopolistic competition marginal revenue curve – A curve that graphically represents the relation between marginal revenue received by a monopolistically competitive firm for selling its output and the quantity of output sold. The marginal revenue curve reflects the degree of market control held by a firm. For a monopolistically competitive firm with some market control, but not a whole lot, the marginal revenue curve is negatively-sloped but relatively elastic. monopoly marginal revenue curve – A curve that graphically represents the relation between marginal revenue received by a monopoly for selling its output and the quantity of output sold. The marginal revenue curve reflects the market control held by a monopoly firm. For a monopoly firm with complete market control, the marginal revenue curve is negatively-sloped. Moreover, for a given quantity of output, marginal cost is less than price, and the marginal revenue curve lies below the demand curve. perfect competition marginal revenue curve – A curve that graphically represents the relation between the marginal revenue received by a perfectly competitive firm for selling its output and the quantity of output sold. Because a perfectly competitive firm is a price taker and faces a horizontal demand curve, its marginal revenue curve is also horizontal and coincides with its average revenue (and demand) curve. A perfectly competitive firm maximizes profit by producing the quantity of output found at the intersection of the marginal revenue curve and marginal cost curve. marginal revenue product – The change in total revenue resulting from a unit change in a variable input, keeping all other inputs unchanged. Marginal revenue product, usually abbreviated MRP, is found by dividing the change in total revenue by the change in the variable input. This is also termed value of the marginal product. Marginal revenue product is a key component for understanding the demand for productive inputs (that is, factor demand). marginal revenue product and factor demand – A perfectly competitive firm’s factor demand curve is that negatively-sloped portion of its marginal revenue product curve. A perfectly competitive firm maximizes profit by hiring the quantity of input that equates factor price and marginal revenue product. As such, the firm moves along its negatively-sloped marginal revenue product curve in response to changing factor prices. marginal revenue product curve – A curve that graphically illustrates the relation between marginal revenue product and the quantity of the variable input, holding all other inputs fixed. This curve indicates the incremental change in total revenue for incremental changes in the variable input. The marginal revenue product curve plays in key role in the economic analysis of factor markets and the quantity of inputs employed. marginal revenue product schedule – A table showing the relation between marginal revenue product and the quantity of variable input employed by a firm. Such a schedule can be used to derived the marginal revenue product curve. monopolistic competition marginal revenue – The change in total revenue received by a monopolistically competitive firm resulting from a change in the quantity of output sold. For a monopolistically competitive firm, marginal revenue is less than the price. monopoly marginal revenue – The change in total revenue received by a monopoly resulting from a change in the quantity of output sold. For a monopoly firm, marginal revenue is less than the price. perfect competition marginal revenue – The change in total revenue resulting from a change in the quantity of output sold. Marginal revenue indicates how much extra revenue a perfectly competitive firm receives for selling an extra unit of output. It is found by dividing the change in total revenue by the change in the quantity of output. Marginal revenue is the slope of the total revenue curve and is one of two revenue concepts derived from total revenue. The other is average revenue. To maximize profit, a perfectly competitive firm equates marginal revenue and marginal cost. marginal tax rate – A tax rate that is the percentage of an incremental change in the tax base paid in taxes. Comparable to any marginal, this is the change in total taxes collected or paid divided by the change in the total value of the tax base. For example, if a person has a $10,000 increase in earnings from $40,000 to $50,000 and income taxes increase by $2,000 from $3,000 to $5,000 in taxes, then the marginal income tax rate is 20 percent. The contrasting term is average tax rate. marginal utility – The additional utility, or satisfaction of wants and needs, obtained from the consumption or use of an additional unit of a good. It is specified as the change in total utility divided by the change in quantity. Marginal utility indicates what each additional unit of a good is worth to a consumer. marginal utility and demand – An explanation of the law of demand and the negatively-sloped demand curve can be found in the analysis of marginal utility and especially the law of diminishing marginal utility. This explanation rests on two propositions. One, the law of diminishing marginal utility means that the marginal utility obtained from consuming a good declines as the quantity consumed increases. Two, the marginal utility of a good underlies the demand price that buyers are willing and able to pay for a good. When combined, these two propositions indicate that the demand price buyers are willing and able to pay for a good declines as the quantity demanded (and consumed) increases. And this is the law of demand. marginal utility curve – A curve illustrating the relationship between the marginal utility obtained from consuming a good and the quantity of the good consumed. The marginal utility curve can be used to derived the demand curve, which is discussed in detail in the entry on marginal utility and demand. If you’ve nothing better to do for the moment, let’s derive a marginal utility curve. marginal utility-price ratio – The ratio of the marginal utility obtained from consuming a good to the price of the good. This ratio is particular important in determining consumer equilibrium, which is reached when the marginal utility-price ratios are the same for all goods. marginal-cost pricing – A pricing scheme in which the price received by a firm is set equal to the marginal cost of production. This is not only the efficient outcome achieved by competitive markets, it is commonly used for comparison of other regulatory policies, such as average-cost pricing, that are used for public utilities (especially those that are natural monopolies). The bad thing about marginal-cost pricing for natural monopolies is that a normal profit is not guaranteed. The good thing about marginal-cost pricing is that marginal cost is equal to price, and the public utility is operating according to the price equals marginal cost (P = MC) rule of efficiency. marginally-attached workers – People who are willing and able to work, who have either held a job or searched for employment within the last year, but are not actively seeking employment. Discouraged workers, people who are willing and able to engage in productive activities, but due to their overwhelming lack of success believe that any effort to find a job will be fruitless so they have stopped seeking employment, fall within this broader category of marginally-attached workers. People can be marginally attached to the labor force for a variety of reasons, discouraged workers, in contrast, achieve their designation specifically because they believe search efforts would not be worthwhile. market – The organized exchange of commodities (goods, services, or resources) between buyers and sellers within a specific geographic area and during a given period of time. Markets are the exchange between buyers who want a good–the demand-side of the market–and the sellers who have it–the supply–side of the market. In essence, a buyer gives up money and gets a good, while a seller gives up a good and gets money. From a marketing context, in order to be a market the following conditions must exist. The target consumers must have the ability to purchase the goods or services. They must have a need or desire to purchase. The target group must be willing to exchange something of value for the product. Finally, they must have the authority to make the purchase. If all these variables are present, a market exits. market adjustment – The economic analysis of the changes in market equilibrium caused by changes in the demand determinants and supply determinants. Given the two curves that comprise the market–the demand curve and the supply curve; each of which can increase or decrease; market adjustment comes in eight varieties. Four involve a shift of EITHER the demand curve OR the supply curve. The other four involve a shift of BOTH the demand curve AND the supply curve. market analysis – The use of the market model to examine economic phenomenon involving demand, supply, prices, and exchanges. The simplest market analysis involves identifying equilibrium price and quantity, which is the point of intersection between the demand and supply curves. Some of the more useful market analysis, however, involves comparative static analysis of shifts in either the demand or supply curves, or both curves simultaneously. Other market analysis examines the consequences of price ceilings, price floors, and taxes. market area – In general, a geographic area in which a firm can profitably sell an output or buy an input. The size of a market area is based on the transportation cost of the input or output relative to the price. A higher price or lower transportation cost will increase the market area. market clearing – The price and quantity that equates the quantity demanded and quantity supplied; equates the demand price and supply price; and achieves market equilibrium. In other words, the market is “cleared” of shortages and surpluses. market control – The ability of buyers or sellers to exert influence over the price or quantity of a good, service, or commodity exchanged in a market. Market control depends on the number of competitors. If a market has relatively few buyers, but a bunch of sellers, then the buyers tend to have relatively more market control than sellers. The converse occurs if there are a bunch of buyers, but relatively few sellers. If the market is controlled on the supply side by one seller, we have a monopoly, and if it is controlled on the demand side by one buyer, we have a monopsony. Most markets are subject to some degree of control. market demand – The total demand of every individual willing and able to buy a good. Market demand is found by combining the individual demands of everyone willing and able to buy a particular good. The market demand curve is found by horizontally adding all individual demand curves, that is, sum up the quantities demanded by all buyers at each and every price. Market demand operates according to the law of demand, as illustrated by a downward-sloping market demand curve. For higher prices the quantity demanded by all buyers in the market combined is less than the quantity demanded for lower prices. market efficiency – The notion that a competitive market automatically achieves an efficient allocation of resources by equating demand price with supply price and quantity demanded with quantity supplied. Market efficiency relies on the self-correction process that eliminates shortages or surpluses. It also presumes that the market is competitive and is not subject to assorted market failures. market equilibrium – The state of equilibrium that exists when the opposing market forces of demand and supply exactly offset each other and there is no inherent tendency for change. Once achieved, a market equilibrium persists unless or until it is disrupted by an outside force. A market equilibrium is indicated by equilibrium price and equilibrium quantity. graphical analysis market equilibrium – An analysis of market equilibrium using a graph that combines a demand curve and a supply curve. A graphical analysis of the market is used to ascertain information such as market equilibrium, equilibrium price, equilibrium quantity, shortage, and surplus. This is one of two basic methods of analyzing market equilibrium. The other is a numerical analysis using demand and supply schedules. numerical analysis market equilibrium – An analysis of market equilibrium using a table of numbers that combines a demand schedule and a supply schedule. A numerical analysis of the market is used to ascertain information such as market equilibrium, equilibrium price, equilibrium quantity, shortage, and surplus. This is one of two basic methods of analyzing market equilibrium. The other is a graphical analysis using demand and supply curves. market failure – A condition in which a market does not efficiently allocate resources to achieve the greatest possible consumer satisfaction. The four main market failures are–(1) public good, (2) market control, (3) externality, and (4) imperfect information. In each case, a market acting without any government imposed direction, does not direct an efficient amount of our resources into the production, distribution, or consumption of the good. market failures – Conditions in which a market does not efficiently allocate resources to achieve the greatest possible consumer satisfaction. The four main market failures are–(1) public good, (2) market control, (3) externality, and (4) imperfect information. In each case, a market acting without any government imposed direction, does not direct an efficient amount of our resources into the production, distribution, or consumption of the good. market period – A period of time in which at all inputs in the production process are fixed, meaning the quantity of output itself is fixed. In other words, you’ve produced the good, you’re not going to produced any more for now, all that remains is to sell it. You should compare market period with short run and production, long run and production, and very long run. market power – The ability of buyers or sellers to exert influence over the price or quantity of a good, service, or commodity exchanged in a market. Market power largely depends on the number of competitors on each side of the market. If a market has relatively few buyers, but many sellers, then limited competition on the demand-side of the market means buyers tend to have relatively more market power than sellers. The converse occurs if there are many buyers, but relatively few sellers. This is also termed market control. market share – The fraction of an industry’s total sales accounted for by a single business. In general, market share is a “first-guess” indicator of a firm’s market control. If, for example, a company has a market share of 100 percent (that is, a monopoly), then you can rest assured it has a substantial amount of market control. A company with a 25 percent market share has less, but still notable, market control. In fact, when you get right down to the bottom line, the phrase “market share” is only worth mentioning for oligopolistic firms with a significant degree of market control. There really is no market control for a monopolistically competitive firm with a 0.00000001 percent market share. market shock – A disruption of market equilibrium (that is, a market adjustment) caused by a change in a demand determinant (and a shift of the demand curve) or a change in a supply determinant (and a shift of the supply curve). A market shock can take one of four forms–an demand increase, demand decrease, supply increase, or supply decrease. An increase is seen as a rightward shift of either curve and results in an increase in equilibrium quantity. A decrease is a leftward shift of either curve and results in a decrease in equilibrium quantity. However, a change in demand results in price and quantity to change in the same direction, while a change in supply causes equilibrium price to move the opposite direction as quantity. market socialism – A type of economy based on–(1) government, rather than individual, ownership of many resources, especially those like heavy manufacturing, energy reserves, widely used raw materials (lumber, steel), and transportation systems, that are deemed critical to the operation of the economy; (2) answering three questions of allocation with a combination of central planning by government and decentralized decision-making by individual factories and the owners of non-critical resources; (3) the limited use of markets to exchange farm products and retail consumer goods; (4) economic and monetary incentives, such as bonus, paid to the workers of government-owned facilities to encourage efficiency and increased productivity. market structure – The manner in which a market is organized, based largely on the number of firms in the industry. The four basic market structure models are: perfect competition, monopoly, monopolistic competition, and oligopoly. The primary difference between each is the number of firms on the supply side of a market. Both perfect competition and monopolistic competition have a large number of relatively small firms selling output. Oligopoly has a small number of relatively large firms. And monopoly has a single firm. market structure continuum – A diagram illustrating alternative degrees of market control held by different types of market structures based on the number of firms in the market and the degree of competitiveness. As the number of competitors along the continuum ranges from one to many, the degree of market control ranges complete to none. At one end of the continuum, with many competitors on no market control, is perfect competition. At the other end, with one competitor and complete market control, is monopoly. Oligopoly and monopolistic competition comprise the interior of the continuum, with monopolistic competition having many competitors but limited market control and oligopoly having few competitors and greater market control. The continuum illustrates that clear-cut dividing lines really do not exist between the market structures, especially for monopolistic competition and oligopoly. market supply – The total supply of every seller willing and able to sell a good. Market supply is found by combining the individual supplies of every firm or producer willing and able to sell a particular good. The market supply curve is found by horizontally adding all individual supply curves, that is, sum up the quantities supplied by all sellers at each and every price. Market supply operates according to the law of supply, as illustrated by a upward-sloping market supply curve. For higher prices the quantity supplied by all sellers in the market combined is greater than the quantity supplied for lower prices. market transaction – The exchange of goods and services through a market. The set of market transactions taking place in the economy is most important in terms of measuring gross domestic product (GDP). Market transactions provide the basic data used by number crunchers at the Bureau of Economic Analysis to begin the estimation of GDP. However, these number crunchers don’t just want to measure market transactions, their goal is to measure economic production. As such, they eliminate some market transactions that do not involve economic production, then add economic production that do not involve market transactions. market-based economy – A mixed economy that relies heavily on markets to answer the three basic questions of allocation, but with a modest amount of government involvement. While it is commonly termed capitalism, market-oriented economy is much more descriptive of how the economy is structure. market-clearing price – The price that exists when a market is clear of shortage and surplus, or is in equilibrium. Market-clear price is a common, non-technical term for equilibrium price. In a market graph, the market-clearing price is found at the intersection of the demand curve and the supply curve. market-oriented economy – A mixed economy that relies heavily on markets to answer the three basic questions of allocation, but with a modest amount of government involvement. While it is commonly termed capitalism, market-oriented economy is much more descriptive of how the economy is structure. marketing – The ongoing process of developing, pricing, promoting, distributing, and packaging products, ideas, and services to satisfy customersÕ wants and needs in a dynamic environment. Sometimes used interchangeably with sales is a misnomer. Sales, while a component of the promotion mix variable, is not the equivalent to marketing. Marketing is a broad, integrated strategy that transcends the entire organization. marketing concept – Focusing the companyÕs attention on the wants and needs of the customer in the development of products, services, ideas, and strategies. This customer driven focus is throughout the structure of the organization, from the boardroom to the shipping department and every place in between. When a decision is to be made, the question is asked: ÒIs this going to be good for the customer?Ó If the answer is yes, the company is following the marketing concept marketing environment – The various external forces that can directly or indirectly affect the many activities of an organization. This is an integral part of environmental scanning. These activities include acquisition of human resources, raw materials, financial resources, and development of goods and services. The marketing environment includes forces such as: political, legal, regulatory, economic, social, technological, and competitive. marketing mix – The combination of 5 controllable variables consisting of product, price, promotion, distribution and packaging to satisfy the needs and wants of customers in a targeted market. This requires the collection of data and demographics on customers in potential markets. Organizations may use multiple marketing mixes strategies based on different targeted market segments. marketing plan – The systematic approach of assessing opportunities, defining objectives, determining strategies for implementation, developing coordinated criteria for evaluation and controls of marketing in an organization. Components typically include: executive summary, environmental scanning and analysis, SWOT analysis, marketing objectives, marketing strategies, marketing implementation, and evaluation / control. A good marketing plan is flexible and updated on a regular schedule. It can be created separately or as a part of the business plan. Marshallian cross – The standard market diagram, so beloved by undergraduate economics students, with price measured on the vertical axis and quantity measured on the horizontal axis, that presents the law of demand as a downward-sloping demand curve and the law of supply as an upward-sloping supply curve. The derivation of this name comes from it’s creator, Alfred Marshall, and that market equilibrium is achieved where the demand and supply curves intersect, or “cross.” mass production – The production of large quantities of virtually identical goods using large scale operations. Such production typically makes use of large factories that benefit from economies of scale. The “mass” aspect of mass production indicates: (1) that large quantities, or masses, of goods are produced and (2) that these goods are being purchased or consumed by the majority of the population, or large masses of people. Mass production is largely a consequence of the industrial revolution, which moved society from a rural-based population engaged in agrarian production to an urban-based population engaged in factory production. materials – The stuff used in the production of tangible products that become the tangible products. Materials, also termed raw materials, are part of the land category of scarce resources. Space is also part of the land resource category. Another term that works as a synonym for materials is natural resources. Perhaps it’s obvious that without materials, there would be no tangible products. materials balance – A hard and fast rule that the total amount of stuff removed from the natural environment will be eventually returned, probably as pollution. This is based on a fundamental law of physics that says material can be neither created nor destroyed, but only transformed. During any given period (such as a year) the quantity of materials returned to the environment is the difference between the quantity extracted and the quantity used by the economy. maturity – That date at which the principal on a bond or similar financial asset needs to be repaid. Maturity dates can be anywhere from a few hours to 30 or more years. For example, government securities are classified by their maturity dates, with Treasury bills maturing in one year or less, Treasury notes in 1 to 10 years, and Treasury bonds in 10 years or more. Under normal (nonrecessionary) conditions, shorter maturity periods carry lower interest rates, while longer maturities need higher interest rates to compensate for the uncertainty of tying funds up for longer periods. maturity stage – The third stage in the product life cycle, characterized by flattening of sales and decreasing profit margins. Advertising and promotion are used to maintain market share and to prevent the erosion of sales and profits. During this stage, the initial decline of a product begins and many businesses try to “re-invent” their products to prevent the upcoming decline stage. Many times the company finds new uses for an existing product (baking soda as a deodorizer), totally new markets (foreign countries), or a way to enhance the existing product to make it better and to re-start the life cycle. The television has gone through at least two life cycles, first from black and white to color and then from color to high definition (HD) and plasma. Along the way there were enhancements such as remote control, VCRs to complement them, and cable to help with reception. MC – The abbreviation for marginal cost, which is the change in total cost (or total variable cost) resulting from a change in the quantity of output produced by a firm in the short run. Marginal cost indicates how much total cost changes for a give change in the quantity of output. Because changes in total cost are matched by changes in total variable cost in the short run (remember total fixed cost is fixed), marginal cost is the change in either total cost or total variable cost. Marginal cost is found by dividing the change in total cost (or total variable cost) by the change in output. measure of value – The money function in which money is used as the common benchmark to designate the prices of goods throughout the economy. Measure of value, or unit of account, means money is functioning as the measuring unit for prices. In other words, prices of goods are stated in terms of the monetary unit. This is one of four basic functions of money. The other three are medium of exchange, store of value, and standard of deferred payment. mediation – Intervention by an impartial third party to settle disputes between two others. The actions of this third party–the mediator–are not legally binding. Mediators are frequently used in collective bargaining negotiations when unions and their employers have reached an impasse. Mediators help both sides work out a satisfactory agreement. But neither side is legally compelled to follow the mediator’s advice. medium of exchange – The money function in which money is widely accepted in exchange for goods and services. For an asset to function as a medium of exchange it need to have value in use, but only value in exchange. This is one of four basic functions of money. The other three are measure of value, store of value, and standard of deferred payment. THE primary function of money is to act as THE medium of exchange. People use money to buy and sell goods. Buyers give up money and receive goods and sellers give up goods and receive money. Money makes transactions easier because everyone is willing to trade money for goods and goods for money. MEI – The abbreviation for marginal efficiency of investment, which is the anticipated rate of return on a capital investment project undertaken by a business firm. Businesses typically compare the MEI on physical capital with interest rate returns on financial capital when deciding to undertake an investment project. Because different investment projects have different returns, businesses often have a range of alternatives projects from which to choose. Combining all projects throughout the economy gives rise to an investment demand curve relating investment expenditures to the interest rate. merger – The consolidation of two separately-owned businesses under single ownership. This can be accomplished through a mutual, “friendly” agreement by both parties, or through a “hostile takeover,” in which one business gets ownership without cooperation from the other. Mergers fall into one of three classes — (1) horizontal–two competing firms in the same industry that sell the same products, (2) vertical–two firms in different stages of the production of one good, such that the output of one business is the input of the other, and (3) conglomerate–two firms that are in totally, completely separated industries. merit good – A good that society, usually government, deems is undervalued by consumers in normal market exchanges. As such, governments typically promote the consumption of merit goods through policies such as price subsidies or direct government provision. Merit goods are often quasi-public goods or have externality by-products. Examples include education and health care. The counter type of good is a demerit good. MES – The abbreviation for minimum efficient scale, which is the quantity of production that places a firm at the lowest point on its long-run average cost curve. The minimum efficient scale is highly prized by economists because it achieves production of a good at the lowest possible opportunity cost. In other words, it’s not possible to produced a good any cheaper than at the minimum efficient scale. At this quantity the production involves foregoing the least amount of other goods. MFC – The abbreviation for marginal factor cost, which is the change in total factor cost resulting from a change in the quantity of factor input, found by dividing the change in total factor cost by the change in quantity of factor input. Marginal factor cost indicates how a firm’s total factor cost is affected by hiring one more or one fewer worker. Two related concepts are total factor cost and average factor cost. micro goals – The two goals of a mixed economy that are most relevant to the study of microeconomics are efficiency and equity. Efficiency is obtaining the most possible satisfaction of wants and needs from a given amount of resources. Equity is the “fairness” with which income and wealth are distributed. Of course, what is “fair” is not obvious. microeconomic policy – Government policy aimed at individual parts of the economy, especially industries, markets, businesses, and households. Microeconomic policy is usually concerned with promoting the micro goals of efficiency and equity. Common microeconomy policies are judicial and regulatory. microeconomics – The branch of economics that studies the parts of the economy, especially such topics as markets, prices, industries, demand, and supply. It can be thought of as the study of the economic trees, as compared to macroeconomics, which is study of the entire economic forest. midpoint formula – A simple technique for calculating the coefficient of elasticity that estimates the average elasticity for discrete changes in two variables, A and B. The distinguishing characteristic of this formula is that percentage changes are calculated based on the average of the initial and ending values of each variable, rather than initial values. migration – The relocation or movement of permanent residence from one place to another. This includes people who move from one city to another, one state to another, or one country to another. It also includes those who move from rural areas to cities. Migration, however, usually doesn’t include those who move from one part of a city to another part. minimum efficient scale – The quantity of production that places a firm at the lowest point on its long-run average cost curve. The minimum efficient scale is highly prized by economists because it achieves production of a good at the lowest possible opportunity cost. In other words, it’s not possible to produced a good any cheaper than at the minimum efficient scale. At this quantity the production involves foregoing the least amount of other goods. minimum wage – A legally established price floor on the wage paid to labor. The minimum wage was initiated in the United States in 1938 at a rate of 25 cents per hour. It has been raised numerous times since then. The logic behind a minimum wage is to ensure that workers obtain an adequate income for their efforts. misery index – The sum of the unemployment rate and the inflation rate. For example, a 5 percent unemployment rate and a 3 percent inflation rate gives us a misery index of 8. This index was developed during the 1970s when inflation and unemployment were both moving in the upward direction. mission statement – A long-term vision of what the company is and what it will become. Some statements include particulars on dealing with the customers, employees, or the business environment. The mission statement should be the starting point for deriving goals and strategies for the company. mixed economy – An economy, or economic system, that relies on both markets and governments to allocate resources. While, in theory, we could have a pure market economy or a pure command economy, in the real world all economies are mixed, relying on both markets and governments for allocation decisions. Markets allocate resources through voluntary choices made by living, breathing people. Government forces allocation through involuntary taxes, laws, restrictions, and regulations. Both institutions play vital roles in an economy. mobility – The movement of factors of production from one productive activity to another. In particular, mobility is the ease with which resources can change production activities. Some factors are highly mobile and thus are easily switched. Other factors are highly immobile and not easily switched. Mobility generally takes one of two forms–geographic mobility and occupational mobility. Geographical mobility is the movement of factors from a productive activity in one location to a production activity in another location. Occupational mobility is the movement of factors from one type of productive activity to another type of productive activity. model – An abstract representation of the real world that is usually based on scientific theories, principles, and hypotheses. The feature of a model that bears emphasizing is that it is an abstract representation of real world phenomenon. For economic models, this abstraction usually takes the form of words, graphs, or equations. monetarism – A school of economic thought pioneered by Milton Friedman based on the central role of money in the macroeconomy and as a economic policy tool. monetary – Relating to money, usually used as a modifier with other terms, generating such concepts as monetary policy, monetary unit, and monetary authority. monetary aggregate – Any of four basic measures of money, or liquid assets for the economy–M1, M2, M3, and L. The Federal Reserve System, as part of their regulatory duties, regularly publish these four monetary aggregates. The smallest, M1, is used as THE medium of exchange in the economy. However, M2 provides savings that are easily converted to M1 and is considered by many as the best measure of spendable assets. monetary authority – The government entity responsible for monetary policy and controlling a nation’s money supply. In the United States, the Federal Reserve System is the monetary authority. The monetary authority of a nation is often the nation’s central bank. monetary base – Also termed the high-powered money, the total of currency held by the nonbank public, vault cash held by banks, and Federal Reserve deposits of the banks. This contains the monetary components over which the Federal Reserve System has relatively complete control and is often used as a guide for the Fed’s money control ability and monetary policy. monetary policy – The Federal Reserve System’s use of the money supply to stabilize the business cycle. As the nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve System determines the total amount of money circulating around the economy. In principle, the Fed can use three different “tools”–open market operations, the discount rate, and reserve requirements–to manipulate the money supply. In practice, however, the primary tool employed is open market operations. To counter a recession, the Fed would undertake expansionary policy, also termed easy money. To reduce inflation, contractionary policy is the order of the day, and goes by the name tight money. monetary policy channels – The routes through which monetary policy by the Federal Reserve System affects aggregate production and macroeconomic activity. The six most important monetary policy channels are: interest rate, exchange rate, wealth, equities, bank lending, and balance sheet. These six channels are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. The interest rates channel is usually the most important, but all six channels generally come into play. monetary policy targets – Values of specific economic variables that the monetary authority seeks achieve with monetary policy. The three most noted monetary policy targets are interest rates, monetary aggregates, and exchange rates. These targets are usually intermediate targets that can be quickly achieved and easily measured, but then move the economy toward the ultimate macroeconomic goals of full employment, stability, and economic growth. monetary unit – The official (or sometimes unofficial) money used as the medium of exchange for an economy, and by extension as the unit of account for specifying prices. In the United States, for example, the monetary unit is the dollar. Other nations have different money and different monetary units. Germany uses the mark, Japan uses the yen, and England uses the pound. money – Anything that is generally accepted in exchange as payment for goods and services. The emphasis is on “any,” because any item or asset can serve as money so long as it is generally accepted in payment throughout an economy. While the key function of money is acting as a medium of exchange, money also functions as a store of value, standard unit of account, and standard of deferred payment money characteristics – Almost any item, any asset, any “thing” can function as money so long as it is generally accepted as payment. In fact, a lot of different “things” have been used as money over the centuries. While a number of “things” have been used as money, some have worked better than others. Those “things” that didn’t work so well were replaced by other “things” that worked better. Those “things” that worked best tended to have four basic characteristics: (1) durability, (2) divisibility, (3) transportability, and (4) noncounterfeitability. money creation – The process in which banks increase the amount of funds in checkable deposits by using reserves to make loans. Money creation is an important process in the economy because it means that the government does not have total control over the money supply. money demand – The quantity of money balances that the public wants to hold. The are three basic motives for holding money: for transactions, as a precaution, and for speculation. money functions – Any item used as money in an economy performs automatically takes on four basic functions: (1) medium of exchange, (2) measure of value, (3) store of value, and (4) standard of deferred payment. While “buying and selling” means that money is THE medium of exchange, by far THE most important function of money, money also performs measure of value, store of value, and standard of deferred payment functions. Measure of value, also termed unit of account, means that prices are stated in terms of money. Store of value means that value, the satisfaction of wants and needs, can be stored over time using money. Standard of deferred payment means that future payments, such as paying off a car loan, are also in terms of the monetary unit. money illusion – The erroneous perception that a change in nominal wages or income results in an equal change in real wages or income. Money illusion occurs due to a difference between the actual prices and perceived prices. In particular, people usually have better information about nominal wages or income received than the prices paid for goods and services. For example, a worker might receive a 10 percent increase in nominal wages view this as a 10 percent increase in real wages (and living standard) by failing to recognize that the price level in the economy has also increased by 10 percent. Money illusion is one reason underlying the positive slope of the short-run aggregate supply curve. money market – A financial market that trades U.S. Treasury bills, commercial paper and other short-term financial instruments. This market is often used by businesses when they need short-term funds to bridge the gap between paying operating costs and collecting revenue from product sales. As such, the term “money” in money market indicates that businesses are using highly liquid instruments to raise the money need for operating expenses. money market deposits – Bank accounts with limited check writing abilities that offer higher interest rates than typical savings accounts. Money market deposits were developed to compete with money market funds established by nonbank financial companies that invested customers funds in money market instruments, including U.S. Treasury bills and commercial paper. Banks, however, don’t necessarily deposit customers funds in money market instruments. Money market deposits are part of the near monies added to M1 to derive M2 and M3 monetary aggregates. money multiplier – The magnified change in money, both checkable deposits and currency, resulting from a change in bank reserves. Compared to the simple deposit multiplier, the money multiplier builds on the inverse of the required-reserves ratio, but also takes into consideration that banks keep excess reserves, and the public transfers some checkable deposits into cash and savings. money supply – The quantity of money balances that exists in the economy. The money supply is controlled by the Federal Reserve System through its monetary policy. money supply rule – A proposed policy that would constrain the growth of the money supply to equal growth of the economy’s production capabilities. The logic behind such a rule is to prevent discretionary use of monetary policy, which is often blamed for political business cycles and the resulting problems of inflation and unemployment. monopolistic competition – A market structure characterized by a large number of small firms, similar but not identical products sold by all firms, relative freedom of entry into and exit out of the industry, and extensive knowledge of prices and technology. This is one of four basic market structures. The other three are perfect competition, monopoly, and oligopoly. Monopolistic competition approximates most of the characteristics of perfect competition, but falls short of reaching the ideal benchmark that is perfect competition. In fact, the best way to think of monopolistic competition is our imperfect real world’s best approximation of perfect competition. It aspires to perfect competition, but doesn’t quite make it. monopolistic competition and demand – The demand curve for the output produced by a monopolistically competitive firm is relatively elastic. The firm can sell a wide range of output within a relatively narrow range of prices. Demand is relatively elastic in monopolistic competition because each firm faces competition from a large number of very, very close substitutes. However, demand is not perfectly elastic (as in perfect competition) because the output of each firm is slightly different from that of other firms. Monopolistically competitive goods are close substitutes, but not perfect substitutes. monopolistic competition and efficiency – A monopolistically competitive firm generally produces less output and charges a higher price than would be the case for a perfectly competitive industry. In particular, the price charged by monopolistic competition is not equal to (in fact, higher than) the marginal cost of production. The equality between price and marginal cost is THE key indication that resources are allocated efficiently and that society’s resources are NOT being used to generate the highest possible level of satisfaction. monopolistic competition characteristics – The four key characteristics of monopolistic competition are: (1) large number of small firms, (2) similar but not identical products sold by the firms, (3) relative freedom of entry into and exit out of the industry, and (4) extensive knowledge of prices and technology. long-run adjustment monopolistic competition – A monopolistically competitive industry undertakes a two-part adjustment to equilibrium in the long run. One is the adjustment of each monopolistically competitive firm to the appropriate factory size that maximizes long-run profit. The other is the entry of firms into the industry or exit of firms out of the industry, to eliminate economic profit or economic loss. The end result of this long-run adjustment is two equilibrium conditions–one for profit maximization, the other for zero economic profit. long-run equilibrium conditions monopolistic competition – The long-run equilibrium of monopolistically competitive industry generates six specific equilibrium conditions: (1) economic inefficiency (P > MC), (2) profit maximization (MR = MC), (3) market control (P = AR > MR), (4) breakeven output (P = AR = ATC), (5) excess capacity (ATC > MC), and (6) economies of scale (LRAC > LRMC).

long-run production analysis monopolistic competition – In the long run, a monopolistically competitive firm adjusts plant size, or the quantity of capital, to maximize long-run profit. In addition, the entry and exit of firms into and out of a monopolistically competitive market eliminates economic profit and guarantees that each monopolistically competitive firm earns nothing more or less than a normal profit.

loss minimization monopolistic competition – A monopolistically competitive firm is presumed to produce the quantity of output that minimizes economic loss, if price is greater than average variable cost but less than average total cost. This is one of three short-run production alternatives facing a firm. The other two are profit maximization (if price exceeds average total cost) and shutdown (if price is less than average variable cost).

marginal analysis monopolistic competition – A monopolistically competitive firm produces the profit-maximizing quantity of output that equates marginal revenue and marginal cost. This marginal approach is one of three methods that used to determine the profit-maximizing quantity of output. The other two methods involve the direct analysis of economic profit and a comparison of total revenue and total cost.

profit analysis monopolistic competition – A monopolistically competitive produces the profit-maximizing quantity of output that generates the highest level of profit. This profit approach is one of three methods that used to determine the profit-maximizing quantity of output. The other two methods involve a comparison of total revenue and total cost and a comparison of marginal revenue and marginal cost.

profit maximization monopolistic competition – A monopolistically competitive is presumed to produce the quantity of output that maximizes economic profit–the difference between total revenue and total cost. This production decision can be analyzed directly with economic profit, by identifying the greatest difference between total revenue and total cost, or by the equality between marginal revenue and marginal cost.

revenue division monopolistic competition – The marginal approach to analyzing a monopolistically competitive firm’s short-run profit maximizing production decision can be used to identify the division of total revenue among variable cost, fixed cost, and economic profit. The U-shaped cost curves used in this analysis provide all of the information needed on the cost side of the firm’s decision. The demand curve facing the firm (which is also the firm’s average revenue) together with the marginal revenue curve provides all of the information needed on the revenue side.

short-run production analysis monopolistic competition – A monopolistically competitive firm produces the profit-maximizing quantity of output that equates marginal revenue and marginal cost. This production level can be identified using total revenue and cost, marginal revenue and cost, or profit. Because a monopolistically competitive firm faces a negatively-sloped demand curve, it does not efficiently allocate resources by equating price and marginal cost.

short-run supply curve monopolistic competition – Market control means that monopolistic competition does not necessarily have a supply relation between the quantity of output produced and the price. In contrast, the short-run supply curve of a perfectly competitive is that portion of its marginal cost curve that lies above the minimum of the average variable cost curve. Because monopolistic competition does not set price equal to marginal revenue, it does NOT equate marginal cost and price. As such, a monopolistically competitive firm does not necessarily supply larger quantities at higher prices or smaller quantities at lower prices.

shutdown monopolistic competition – A monopolistically competitive firm is presumed to minimize economic losses by shutting down production, if price is less than average variable cost in the short run. This is one of three short-run production alternatives facing a firm. The other two are profit maximization (if price exceeds average total cost) and loss minimization (if price is greater than average variable cost but less than average total cost).

total analysis monopolistic competition – A monopolistically competitive firm produces the profit-maximizing quantity of output that generates the greatest difference between total revenue and total cost. This total approach is one of three methods that used to determine the profit-maximizing quantity of output. The other two methods involve the direct analysis of economic profit and a comparison of marginal revenue and marginal cost.

monopoly – A market structure characterized by a single seller of a unique product with no close substitutes. This is one of four basic market structures. The other three are perfect competition, oligopoly, and monopolistic competition. As the single seller of a unique good with no close substitutes, a monopoly firm essentially has no competition. The demand for a monopoly firm’s output is THE market demand. This gives the firm extensive market control–the ability to control the price and/or quantity of the good sold–making a monopoly firm a price maker. However, while a monopoly can control the market price, it can not charge more than the maximum demand price that buyers are willing to pay.

monopoly and demand – The demand for the output produced by a monopoly is THE market demand for the good. This should be compared with the demand facing a perfectly competitive firm. The demand curve for the output produced by a perfectly competitive firm is perfectly elastic, it is horizontal at the going market price. This is what makes a perfectly competitive firm a price taker. It must “take” whatever price is set in the overall market. Facing a downward-sloping demand curve, however, makes a monopoly a price maker. It has a great deal of control over the market and the market price. IT IS THE MARKET!

monopoly and efficiency – A monopoly firm generally produces less output and chargers a higher price than would be the case for a perfectly competitive industry. In particular, the price charged by a monopoly is not equal to (in fact, higher than) the marginal cost of production. The equality between price and marginal cost is THE key indication that resources are allocated efficiently and that society’s resources are being used to generate the highest possible level of satisfaction.

monopoly and perfect competition – Monopoly and perfect competition represent two extremes along a continuum of market structures. At the one extreme is perfect competition, representing the ultimate of efficiency achieved by an industry that is, well, perfectly competitive. Monopoly, at the other extreme, represents the ultimate of inefficiency brought about by the total lack of competition. You can’t have less competition than a single firm selling a good.

monopoly characteristics – The four key characteristics of monopoly are: (1) a single firm selling all output in a market, (2) a unique product, (3) restrictions on entry into and exit out of the industry, and more often than not (4) specialized information about production techniques unavailable to other potential producers.

marginal revenue and marginal cost monopoly output – A profit-maximizing monopoly firm produces the quantity of output that equates marginal revenue and marginal cost. This is one of three methods typically used to determine the profit-maximizing quantity of output produced by any firm. The other two methods are total revenue and total cost and profit curve. This marginal revenue and marginal cost approach to identifying profit-maximizing production can be accomplished using either a table of numbers of a set of curves. The end result is the same. Profit-maximizing production takes place at the quantity generating an equality between marginal revenue and marginal cost.

total revenue and total cost monopoly output – A profit-maximizing monopoly firm produces output where the difference between total revenue and total cost (that is, economic profit) is the greatest. This total revenue and total cost approach to identifying profit-maximizing production can be accomplished using either a table of numbers of a set of curves. However, the end result is the same. Profit-maximizing production takes place at the quantity generating the greatest difference between total revenue and total cost. An added benefit of performing the analysis with curves, however, is the observation that profit-maximizing production occurs where the slopes of the total revenue and total cost curves are equal. And because slopes are marginals, this means that profit-maximizing production occurs where marginal revenue is equal to marginal cost.

monopoly profit – Economic profit generated as a result of a firm’s market control. It’s termed monopoly profit as a reflection of the most prominent market structure with market control–monopoly. However, any market structure with market control, including oligopoly and monopolistic competition, can generate monopoly profit. The existence of monopoly profit is a clear-cut indication that a firm is NOT efficiently allocating resources. While having market control in no way guarantees that a firm will receive monopoly profit, there’s no way for a firm to obtain monopoly profit WITHOUT market control. As economic profit, monopoly profit is over and above a normal profit.

factor market monopoly – Monopoly market is characterized by a single firm selling a unique product with few if any close substitutes, in which competition is prevented by barriers to entry. These characteristics mean the monopoly firm is a price maker with complete market control. When monopoly is applied to a factor market, the only difference is that the good being sold is a factor of production rather than a traditional consumption good. However, the inefficiency found with monopoly rings just as strong with factor markets as with product markets. The price charged by a monopoly is higher and the quantity exchanged is less than would be had if the market were perfectly competitive.

loss minimization monopoly – A monopoly is presumed to produce the quantity of output that minimizes economic loss, if price is greater than average variable cost but less than average total cost. This is one of three short-run production alternatives facing a firm. The other two are profit maximization (if price exceeds average total cost) and shutdown (if price is less than average variable cost).

marginal analysis monopoly – A monopoly produces the profit-maximizing quantity of output that equates marginal revenue and marginal cost. This marginal approach is one of three methods that used to determine the profit-maximizing quantity of output. The other two methods involve the direct analysis of economic profit or a comparison of total revenue and total cost.

marginal revenue and demand elasticity monopoly – The price elasticity of the demand curve facing a monopoly firm determines if the marginal revenue received by the monopoly is positive (elastic demand) or negative (inelastic demand). This relationship is important for the profit-maximizing production decision that involves equality between marginal revenue and marginal cost. It implies that a monopoly can only maximize profit in the elastic range of the demand curve.

problems monopoly – Three problems often associated with a market controlled totally by a single firm are: (1) inefficiency, (2) inequity, (3) political abuse. While these problems are typically associated with a monopoly market structure, hence the title monopoly problems, they also relate to oligopoly and monopolistic competition to a lesser degree.

profit analysis monopoly – A monopoly produces the profit-maximizing quantity of output that generates the highest level of profit. This profit approach is one of three methods that used to determine the profit-maximizing quantity of output. The other two methods involve a comparison of total revenue and total cost or a comparison of marginal revenue and marginal cost.

profit maximization monopoly – A monopoly is presumed to produce the quantity of output that maximizes economic profit–the difference between total revenue and total cost. This production decision can be analyzed directly with economic profit, by identifying the greatest difference between total revenue and total cost, or by the equality between marginal revenue and marginal cost.

realism monopoly – If taken to the extreme, monopoly, like perfect competition is an ideal market structure that does not actually exist in the real world. In the extreme, a “pure” monopoly is a market containing one and only ONE seller of good, a good with absolutely, positively no substitutes. The product is absolutely, certifiably unique. It not only has no CLOSE substitutes, it has NO substitutes. Period. End of story. In the real world, however, every product, no matter how unique it might appear to be, has substitutes. The substitutes might not be very close. They might be really, really bad substitutes. But they are substitutes. As such, there are no pure monopolies in the real world.

revenue division monopoly – The marginal approach to analyzing a monopoly’s profit maximizing production decision can be used to identify the division of total revenue among variable cost, fixed cost, and economic profit. The U-shaped cost curves used in this analysis provide all of the information needed on the cost side of the firm’s decision. The demand curve facing the firm (which is also the firm’s average revenue) and the corresponding marginal revenue curve provide all of the information needed on the revenue side.

short-run production analysis monopoly – A monopoly produces the profit-maximizing quantity of output that equates marginal revenue and marginal cost. This production level can be identified using total revenue and cost, marginal revenue and cost, or profit. Because a monopoly faces a negatively-sloped demand curve, it does not efficiently allocate resources by equating price and marginal cost.

short-run supply curve monopoly – Market control means that monopoly does not have a supply relation between the quantity of output produced and the price. In contrast, the short-run supply curve a perfectly competitive is that portion of its marginal cost curve that lies above the minimum of the average variable cost curve. However, because monopoly does not set price equal to marginal revenue, it does NOT equate marginal cost and price. For this reason, a monopoly firm does not respond to price changes by moving along its marginal cost curve. A monopoly does not necessarily supply larger quantities at higher prices or smaller quantities at lower prices.

shutdown monopoly – A monopoly is presumed to produce the quantity of output that minimizes economic loss, if price is greater than average variable cost but less than average total cost. This is one of three short-run production alternatives facing a firm. The other two are profit maximization (if price exceeds average total cost) and loss minimization (if price is greater than average variable cost but less than average total cost).

sources monopoly – Monopolies achieve their single-seller status for three interrelated reasons: (1) economies of scale, (2) government decree, and (3) resource ownership. While a monopoly can emerge and persist for any one of these reasons, most monopolies rely on more than one and often all three.

monopsonistic competition – A market structure characterized by a large number of small buyers, that purchase but not identical inputs, relative freedom of entry into and exit out of the industry, and extensive knowledge of prices and technology. Monopsonistic competition is the somewhat obscure and seldom discussed buying counterpart to an monopolistic competition seller that controls the selling side of a market. Whereas monopolistic competition is most relevant to product markets, monopsonistic competition is most relevant to factor markets.

monopsony – A market characterized by a single buyer of a product. Monopsony is the buying-side equivalent of a selling-side monopoly. Much as a monopoly is the only seller in a market, monopsony is the only buyer. While monopsony could be analyzed for any type of market it tends to be most relevant for factor markets in which a single firm is the only buyer of a factor.

monopsony and efficiency – A monopsony firm generally produces less output and pays a lower price than would be the case for a perfectly competitive industry. In particular, the price charged by a monopsony is not equal to (in fact, lower than) the marginal revenue product. The equality between factor price and marginal revenue product is THE key indication that resources are allocated efficiently and that society’s resources are being used to generate the highest possible level of satisfaction.

factor market analysis monopsony – The analysis of a factor market characterized by monopsony indicates that the single buyer maximizes profit by equating marginal revenue product to marginal factor cost. This results in a lower price and smaller quantity than achieved with perfect competition. As such, it does not achieve an efficient allocation of resources. Monopsony is combined with monopoly to form a bilateral monopoly market structure.

minimum wage monopsony – A minimum wage is a legally established floor on the wage rate that employers can pay their workers. Monopsony is a market structure dominated on the demand side by a single buyer. Contrary to standard analysis, imposing a minimum wage on monopsony market can actually increase employment.

moral hazard – Moral hazard occurs when a person changes behavior to the detriment of another person, after an agreement has been reached. This is an important information problem with insurance. The problem is that the harmed party does not have information concerning the change in behavior.

moral suasion – Government policy in which policy makers or leaders encourage or discourage particular behavior using information requests of consumers, business, and others, without formal actions such as laws or regulations. The use of moral suasion can be somewhat effective during short-term crises situations, such as wars, energy shortages, or financial instability. Moral suasion is occasionally used for monetary policy when the Federal Reserve System doesn’t want to, or have the time to, use other monetary policy tools.

most-favored nation – A condition, usually as part of a trade agreement among nations (such as General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade), that ensures one country will extend its least restrictive trade barriers to another country. Suppose, for example, the good old U. S. of A. makes the Republic of Northwest Queoldiola a most-favored nation. If the United States then eliminates tariffs on sundials imported from Brazil, it must also eliminate tariffs on imported Queoldiolan sundials. Because countries have generally followed this most-favored nation system for several decades, international bickering over trade barriers has been significantly reduced. See foreign trade.

MP – The abbreviation for marginal product, which is the change in the quantity of total product resulting from a unit change in a variable input, keeping all other inputs unchanged. Marginal product is found by dividing the change in total product by the change in the variable input. Marginal product lies at the very foundation of the analysis of short-run production and the subsequent explanation of the law of supply and the upward-sloping supply curve, using the law of diminishing marginal returns. Of the myriad of short-run production-related terms (including total product, average production, fixed input, variable input, short run, long run) marginal product is by and far the most important.

MPC – The abbreviation for marginal propensity to consume, which is the proportion of each additional dollar of household income that is used for consumption expenditures. Or alternatively, this is the change in consumption expenditures due to a change in disposable income. The marginal propensity to consume is the slope of the consumption or propensity-to-consume line that forms the foundation for Keynesian economics. As such, it also takes center stage for the slope of the aggregate expenditure line and the multiplier effect. The sum of the marginal propensity to consume and the related concept, the marginal propensity to save, is equal to one.

MPG – The abbreviation for marginal propensity for government purchases, which is the proportion of each additional dollar of national income that is used for government purchases. Or alternatively, this is the change in government purchases due to a change in national income. Abbreviated MPG, the marginal propensity for government purchases is the slope of the government purchases line used in the analysis of Keynesian economics. As such, it also plays a role in the slope of the aggregate expenditure line and the multiplier effect.

MPI – The abbreviation for marginal propensity to import, which is the proportion of each additional dollar of household income that is used for imports. Or alternatively, this is the change in imports due to a change in disposable income. The marginal propensity to import plays a minor role in modifying the aggregate expenditure line and the multiplier effect.

MPP – The abbreviation for marginal physical product, which is the change in the quantity of total product resulting from a unit change in a variable input, keeping all other inputs unchanged. Marginal physical product is found by dividing the change in total product by the change in the variable input.

MPS – The abbreviation for marginal propensity to save, which is the proportion of each additional dollar of household income that is used for saving. Or alternatively, this is the change in saving due to a change in disposable income. The marginal propensity to save is the slope of the saving or propensity-to-save line. It also takes center stage for the multiplier effect. In particular, the inverse of the MPS is the simple expenditure multiplier. The sum of the marginal propensity to save and the related concept, the marginal propensity to consume, is equal to one.

MR – The abbreviation for marginal revenue, which is the change in total revenue resulting from a change in the quantity of output sold. For a perfectly competitive firm, marginal revenue is equal to price.

MRO – The abbrevation for maintenance, repair, and operations. A business classified product. These are products that are used to support the operations of a business, but are not generally included in product as a direct cost. Examples would be: lubricating oil, replacement belts for a fan motor, or shop towels.

MRP – The abbreviation for marginal revenue product, which is the change in total revenue resulting from a unit change in a variable input, keeping all other inputs unchanged. Marginal revenue product, usually abbreviated MRP, is found by dividing the change in total revenue by the change in the variable input. This is also termed value of the marginal product. Marginal revenue product is a key component for understanding the demand for productive inputs.

MU – The abbreviation for marginal utility, which is the additional utility, or satisfaction of wants and needs, obtained from the consumption or use of an additional unit of a good. It is specified as the change in total utility divided by the change in quantity. Marginal utility indicates what each additional unit of a good is worth to a consumer.

multilateral – An action, often used in terms of an international trade agreement, that’s extended to more than two parties. As such, a multilateral trade agreement is between several countries. For example, the United States might enter into a multilateral agreement with every country in North and South America that reduces trade barriers on the exports and imports of food products. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade is one of the more well known examples of a multilateral trade agreement.

multinational company – A business that operates in two or more countries. With increased foreign trade, many businesses in the United States, as well as other nations, have found it worthwhile to open offices, branch plants, distribution centers, etc., around the globe. Almost all of the “big boys,” like General Motors, Sony, IBM, British Petroleum, Mitsubishi, and Exxon, are multinational companies. As multinational companies grow bigger and extend their operations world-wide, some people feel that they lose their sense of country loyalty or national identity.

multiplier – The cumulatively reinforcing interaction between consumption and production that amplifies changes in investment, government spending, or exports. In other words, if businesses decide to increase investment expenditures on capital goods or if government decides to expand the size of the already bloated federal deficit by spending more on national defense, then our economy’s production and income are likely to increase by some multiple of this spending. The amplified increase in production and income, usually from 2 to 5 times, is what gives us the term “multiplier.” The process is based on the circular flow idea the people receive income by producing goods and then spend this income on additional production.

multiplier principle – The cumulatively reinforcing induced interaction between consumption, production, factor payments, and income that amplifies autonomous changes in investment, government spending, exports, taxes, or other shocks to the macroeconomy. The multiplier principle is so named because relatively small autonomous changes generate relatively larger, or multiple, induced changes in aggregate production. This principle is commonly represented by a multiplier, which is a specific number with a value greater than one.

aggregate market multiplier – The magnitude of the multiplier impact of an autonomous expenditure change is smaller in the aggregate market analysis, due to a change in the price level, than in the standard Keynesian cross analysis, which assumes a constant price level. The change in the price level triggers an opposite change in aggregate expenditures to that of the initial autonomous expenditure change, thus reducing the magnitude of the multiplier impact.

injections-leakages model multiplier – An analysis of the multiplier principle using the injections-leakages model intersection between the injections line and the leakages line. The injections-leakages model analysis illustrates the Keynesian multiplier as a shift of the injections line (or leakages line) and a subsequent change of the equilibrium level of aggregate production. This analysis illustrates the important role played the marginal propensity to consume (and save), which affects the slope of the leakages line. An alternate but comparable analysis of the multiplier principle is accomplished using the Keynesian cross.

Keynesian cross multiplier – An analysis of the multiplier principle using the Keynesian cross intersection between the aggregate expenditures line and the 45-degree equilibrium guideline. The Keynesian cross analysis illustrates the Keynesian multiplier as a shift of the aggregate expenditures line and a subsequent change of the equilibrium level of aggregate production. This analysis illustrates the important role played by the slope of the aggregate expenditures line, and the thus the marginal propensity to consume. An alternate but comparable analysis of the multiplier principle is accomplished using the injections-leakages model.

slope of aggregate expenditures line multiplier – The slope of the aggregate expenditures line determines the magnitude of the multiplier process and the numerical value of the multiplier. In particular, the expenditures multiplier is the inverse of one minus the slope of the aggregate expenditures line. This slope is largely based on the marginal propensity to consume, but also depends on other induced activities. A steeper slope generates a larger multiplier and a flatter slope leads to a smaller multiplier.

municipal bonds – Also called local bonds, these are medium or long-term financial instruments issued by municipalities to borrow the funds used to build schools, highways, parks and other public projects. An attractive feature of these financial instruments is that are exempt from federal income tax. Commercial banks, corporations, and others with large sums of funds to lend usually purchase these bonds.

mutual fund – A company that pools the funds of hundreds or thousands of individuals to purchase corporate stocks, bonds, or other financial assets. The objectives of pooling funds is to reduce transactions costs and provide professional management not otherwise available. The most common types of mutual funds are “open-ended,” so called because there are no limits on the number of shares issued. Others are “close-ended” because they issue a fixed number of shares that are then traded around. Mutual funds give consumers the chance to get higher interest rates or returns on the financial investment than available through banks. They also provide the opportunity to participant in financial markets that are typically closed to smaller investors.

Another definition: As one of ways of managing the money, a mutual fund has become extremely popular over the last 20 years. It originated from England in 19th century and developed in American after World War II. In China, the mutual fund appeared after 90`s. Do you know what the mutual fund is? A mutual fund is a company that pools the money of many investors to invest in a variety of different securities such as stocks, bonds, money market instruments other mutual funds, other securities and/or similar assets. It is operated by a fund manager, who invests the fund`s capital according to a stated set of objectives and tries to produce capital gains and income for the fund`s investors. Most mutual fund companies pay distributions once or twice a year. A board of directors or trustees supervises investment advisers and other service organizations and vendors to ensure the fund is felicitously used and investors can gain all the best interests. At the fundamental level, there are three varieties of mutual funds: stocks, bonds and money market funds. All mutual funds are variations of these three asset classes. People can either buy them directly from the fund company or through a third party.

mutual savings bank – A non-profit depository institution, primarily operating in the eastern part of the United States, that was established to provide low-cost mortgage loans to members using member savings. However, they have expanded their activities and now provide most of the services of traditional banks, including checkable deposits.

N – The standard abbreviation for the quantity of land resources, especially for the analysis of production. The letter “N” is used even though land begins with an “L” because “L” is used to represent labor. The complementary representations for other inputs are “L” for labor and “K” for capital.

NADB – (North American Development Bank) An international financial institution established and capitalized in equal parts by the United States and Mexico for the purpose of financing environmental infrastructure projects. The bank’s mission is to serve as a binational partner in communities along the U.S.-Mexico border in order to enhance the affordability, financing, long-term development and effective operation of infrastructure that promotes a clean, healthy environment for the citizens of the region. The Bank was created under the auspices of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

NAFTA – An abbreviation for the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is an economic, international trade treaty between the three nations that occupy the North American continent — Canada, Mexico, and the United States — that was launch in 1994. The North American Free Trade Agreement is designed to eliminate assorted trade barriers between Canada, Mexico, and the United States, including the reduction or elimination of many tariffs and nontariff barriers. While economic theory clearly indicates efficiency is enhanced by the reduction and elimination trade restrictions, NAFTA has been strongly opposed by those potentially harmed by more efficient trade, especially labor unions. However, NAFTA is merely one of several international trade agreements created over the years to reduce trade restrictions. Others include the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the Maastricht Treaty.

NASDAQ – The National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation. It is the stock price index used to measure the relative value of stocks traded over the NASD. This widely used composite index is based on the prices of 5,000 of these over-the-counter stocks.

Nash equilibrium – A concept from Game Theory which establishes that a set of strategies followed by economic agents within a game is in equilibrium if, holding the strategies of all other economic agents constant, no economic agent can obtain a higher payoff by choosing a different strategy. For example, when firms operate within an oligopoly, once a Nash equilibrium has been reached, none of them will want to change their strategy because by doing it they cannot obtain a higher profit.

National Association of Securities Dealers – A stock market in which corporate stocks are exchanged by dealers across the country using a computerized system of stock price quotes. This is often referred to as the “over-the-counter” stock market, because, unlike the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange, and others, the dealers don’t conduct their business at a single location. They match up their buy and sell orders through a computer network rather than through the face-to-face contact. Transactions conducted by the NASD give rise to one of the more commonly publicized stock market price indicators, the NASDAQ (which stands for National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation). The widely used NASDAQ composite index is based on the prices of 5,000 of these over-the-counter stocks.

national banks – Traditional banks that are chartered by the Comptroller of the Currency and are automatically members of the Federal Reserve System. The contrast to national banks are state banks, which are chartered by one of the fifty states. National banks tend to larger than state banks and whether justified or not tend to be slightly more prestigious. In the modern economy this distinction is less important than it was a few decades bank when state banks were subject to lesser state regulations than national banks.

National Bureau of Economic Research – A private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established in 1920 that promotes research into, and an understanding of, the workings of the economy. In addition to a relative small in-house staff (a few dozen), the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) includes several hundred of the best and the brightest economic professors at major universities as NBER researchers. At last count, a dozen Nobel Prize winners have included the title of NBER researcher on their resumes. The NBER sponsors research on assorted topics, including the development of quantitative economic measures and the analysis of public policies.

National Credit Union Administration – The Federal government entity responsible for chartering and regulating credit unions. It plays a similar role for credit unions that the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Home Loan Bank have historically played for banks and savings and loan associations.

national income – The total income earned by the citizens of the national economy as a result of their ownership of resources used in the production of final goods and services during a given period of time, usually one year. This is the government’s official measure of how much income is generated by the economy. National income, generally abbreviated as NI, is the broadest, most comprehensive of three income measures reported quarterly (every three months) in the National Income and Product Accounts by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

national income and gross domestic product – National income (NI) is the total income earned by the citizens of the national economy resulting from their ownership of resources used in the production of final goods and services during a given period of time, usually one year. Gross domestic product (GDP) is the total market value of all final goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually a year. Although national income is generated by the production of gross domestic product, the value of production does not entirely result in earned income. In other words, national income can be derived from gross domestic product after a few adjustments.

national income and net domestic product – National income (NI) is the total income earned by the citizens of the national economy resulting from their ownership of resources used in the production of final goods and services during a given period of time, usually one year. Net domestic product (NDP) is the total market value of all final goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually a year, after adjusting for the depreciation of capital. Although national income is generated by the production of net domestic product, the value of production does not entirely result in earned income. In other words, national income can be derived from net domestic product after a few adjustments.

national income and personal income – National income (NI) is the total income earned by the citizens of the national economy resulting from their ownership of resources used in the production during a given period of time, usually one year. Personal income (PI) is the total income received by the members of the domestic household sector, which may or may not be earned from productive activities during a given period of time. Personal income can be derived from national income by subtracting income earned but not received (IEBNR) and adding income received but not earned (IRBNE).

National Income and Product Accounts – The official government system of collecting, processing, and reporting assorted production and income measures used to track aggregate activity in the macroeconomy. This system of accounts, maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis in the Department of Commerce, is the source of official estimates of gross domestic product, net domestic product, national income, personal income, disposable income, gross national product, and related measures that are published quarterly and annually. The National Income and Product Accounts is only one of several sets of data processed and reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

National Industrial Recovery Act – One of the first acts passed under New Deal program the Roosevelt administration in 1933, it specifically allowed workers to organized into unions and to engage in collective bargaining without interference from firms. This act, going by the acronym NIRA, was declared unconstitutional in 1935, but while in force gave a big boost to labor unions and membership. The National Labor Relations Act was created in 1935 to replace the NIRA.

National Labor Relations Act – A major labor union promoting act under New Deal program of the Roosevelt administration in 1935, it modified and replaced the National Industrial Recovery Act that was declared unconstitutional earlier in the year. Also known as the Wagner Act and frequently going by the acronym NLRA, it outlawed unfair labor practices by employers, such as the refusal by a firm to negotiate with a union representing a majority of its employees. It also established the National Labor Relations Board, which oversees labor activities.

National Labor Relations Board – A government body overseeing relations between unions and management — the workers and their employers. It was established by the National Labor Relations Act in 1935, but was modified by the Labor-Management Relations Act in 1947. The National Labor Relations Board is the place to go should either unions or management suspect the other side is engaging in unfair labor practices.

National Science Foundation – An independent agency of the U.S. Government whose main goals are: (1) to promote the progress of science, (2) to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare, and (3) to secure the national defense. The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds research and education in science and engineering through grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements in all parts of the United States. The governing board of the NSF is the National Science Board, which is composed of 24 part-time members, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The NSF was established by the National Science Foundation Act signed by President Harry S. Truman in 1950.

nationalization – The process of a national government taking over the ownership of a private business or industry, usually in conjunction with a major revolution that establishes a communistic or socialist command economy. Nationalization was a common practice, sort of a fad, during the 1950s,1960s, and 1970s. Even non-revolutionary industrialized countries in Europe jumped onto the nationalization bandwagon. The United States also took at stab at nationalizing passenger train service when Amtrak was established in 1970.

natural monopoly – A special type of monopoly that’s able to lower its price when it produces and sells a larger quantity. This somewhat remarkable ability results because a natural monopoly uses a great deal of capital. In that capital carries an up front cost that must be paid regardless of production, a natural monopoly can spread these costs over larger quantity–if it produces more. The larger the quantity sold, the lower the cost for each unit. A single natural monopoly is thus able to produce and supply a good at a lower cost, and price, than two or more firms. In other words, if two or more firms try to supply the same good, the market will “naturally” end up with just one.

natural resources – The naturally occurring resources that are naturally a part of our natural planet which are directed toward production–including land, water, wildlife, vegetation, air, climate, sunshine, mineral deposits, and soil nutrients. Natural resources provide the “stuff” that’s used to produce all of the tangible products in the economy, including both consumer goods used for immediate satisfaction of wants and needs and capital used for further production.

natural selection – The notion that firms best suited to the economic environment on the ones that tend to survive. The natural selection of business firms is an adaptation of the biological process of natural selection, in which biological entities best suited to the natural environment are the ones that survive. The notion of natural section suggests that even if firms do NOT actively, consciously pursue the profit-maximization goal, assuming they do is not necessarily unreasonable. Those firms that approximate the goal of profit-maximization, whether intentionally or accidently, are the ones most likely to survive and remain in business.

natural unemployment – The combination of frictional and structural unemployment that persists in an efficient, expanding economy when labor and resource markets are in equilibrium. Natural unemployment exists when the economy is at full employment, which for practical purposes is defined as the condition in which the quantity of resources demanded is equal to the quantity of resources supplied. Most important for policy purposes, natural employment exists with stable prices, that is, no inflation.

natural unemployment rate – The rate of unemployment that occurs when the economy is at full employment. This rate is primarily composed of frictional and structural unemployment.

NCUA – The abbreviation for National Credit Union Administration, which is the Federal government entity responsible for chartering and regulating credit unions. It plays a similar role for credit unions that the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Home Loan Bank have historically played for banks and savings and loan associations.

NDP – The abbreviation for net domestic product, which is the total market value of all final goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually a year, after adjusting for the depreciation of capital. Net domestic product, usually abbreviated NDP, is one of five key National Income and Product Accounts measures reported regularly (every three months) by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The other four measures are gross domestic product, national income, personal income, and disposable income. Net domestic product has largely replaced a comparable term, net national production.

near money – Assets that are highly liquid, and can be easily exchanged for money, but can not be used directly to purchase goods. The best examples are savings accounts, certificates of deposit, and similar bank accounts. These savings near monies are added to M1 to derived M2. Several investment type near monies are added to M2 to derived M3.

near-public good – A good that’s easy to keep nonpayers from consuming, but use of the good by one person doesn’t prevent use by others. The trick with a near-public good is that it’s easy to keep people away, and thus you can charge them a price for consuming, but there’s no real good reason to do so. From an efficiency view, the more people who consume a near-public good, the better off society. This mixture of nearly unlimited benefits and the ability to charge a price means that some near-public goods are sold through markets and others are provided by government. For efficiency’s sake, none should be sold through markets.

need – This is often thought of as a physiological or biological requirement for maintaining life, such as the need for air, water, food, shelter, and sleep. Satisfaction is achieved by fulfilling needs. Physiological needs should be contrasted with psychological wants that make life more enjoyable but are not necessary to stay alive. However, when push comes to shove, and the nitty gets down to the gritty, it matters very little to markets if people need goods or want goods, so long as they are motivated to satisfy them. This motivation is what drives economic activity.

needs – This are often thought of as a physiological or biological requirement for maintaining life, such as the need for air, water, food, shelter, and sleep. Satisfaction is achieved by fulfilling needs. Physiological needs should be contrasted with psychological wants that make life more enjoyable but are not necessary to stay alive. However, when push comes to shove, and the nitty gets down to the gritty, it matters very little to markets if people need goods or want goods, so long as they are motivated to satisfy them. This motivation is what drives economic activity.

needs standard – One of three basic income distribution standards (the other two are contributive standard and equality standard). The needs standard distributes income based on how many goods and services people require. A manual laborer, for example, who exerts more physical effort, would receive more income to buy more food that an office worker who burns fewer calories during the day. The U.S. welfare system primarily employs this needs standard when determining the poverty line and subsequent welfare payments.

negative relation – A relation, either a principle or hypothesis, in which an increase one variable is associated with a decrease in the other variable. A negative, or indirect, relation is most commonly illustrated by a downward sloping line. It can also be represented by an equation in which the slope value is negative.

negotiable order of withdrawal accounts – Interest-paying checking accounts maintained by commercial banks, savings and loan associations, and mutual savings banks. These function much like standard demand deposit checking accounts in that the funds can be withdrawn “on demand” by writing a check, but an interest is paid on the outstanding balance. Negotiable order of withdrawal (NOW) accounts are one type of checkable deposits. Others are demand deposits (standard checking accounts), share draft accounts, and automatic transfer service (ATS) accounts.

net domestic product – The total market value of all final goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually a year, after adjusting for the depreciation of capital. Net domestic product, usually abbreviated NDP, is one of five key National Income and Product Accounts measures reported regularly (every three months) by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The other four measures are gross domestic product, national income, personal income, and disposable income. Net domestic product has largely replaced a comparable term, net national production.

net domestic product and national income – Net domestic product (NDP) is the total market value of all final goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually a year, after adjusting for the depreciation of capital. National income (NI) is the total income earned by the citizens of the national economy resulting from their ownership of resources used in the production of final goods and services during a given period of time, usually one year. The five main differences between net domestic product and national income are (1) indirect business taxes, (2) business transfer payments, (3) net foreign factor income, (4) government subsidies, and (5) statistical discrepancy.

net earnings – A common term for profit, as the difference between total revenue and total cost. When used in the real world of business wheeling and dealing, this notion of net income generally refers to accounting profit rather than economic profit. The “net” aspect of net earnings indicates that some (that something being cost) is deducted from total or “gross” earnings. Other common terms used in this same context are net revenue and net income.

net exports – The difference between exports, goods and services produced by the domestic economy and purchased by the foreign sector, and imports, goods and services produced by the foreign sector and purchased by the domestic economy. While exports and imports important unto themselves, when combined into a single measure net exports captures the overall interaction between the foreign sector and the domestic economy. Arithmetically speaking, if exports exceed imports, then net exports are positive, and if imports exceed exports, the net exports are negative. You might want to examine the closely related entry, balance of trade.

net exports determinants – Ceteris paribus factors, other than aggregate income or production, that are held constant when the net exports line is constructed and which cause the net exports line to shift when they change. Some of the more important net exports determinants are global economic conditions, exchange rates, and trade barriers.

net exports line – The graphical depiction of the relation between net exports and national income (or gross domestic product) that plays a role in Keynesian economics and the Keynesian cross. The net exports line is derived by combining the exports line, relating exports and national income, with the imports line, relating imports and national income. Because exports are largely independent of national income and imports (which are subtracted from exports) increase with national income, the net exports line has a negative slope. The slope of the net exports line is thus the negative of the marginal propensity to import. The aggregate expenditures line used in the Keynesian cross is obtained by adding this net exports line, as well as, government purchases and net exports, to the consumption line. The government purchases line is also combined with investment expenditures for the Keynesian saving-investment model.

net exports of goods and services – The official item in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis measuring net exports by the foreign sector. Net exports of goods and services is the smallest of the four expenditures, averaging around 2% of gross domestic product. Unlike the other expenditures, net exports of goods and services can be either positive or negative. They are positive when exports are greater than imports and negative when exports are less than imports. In recent years, net exports of goods and services have been negative.

net foreign factor income – The difference between factor payments received from the foreign sector by domestic citizens and factor payments made to foreign citizens for domestic production. Net foreign factor income, abbreviated NFFI, is the key difference between gross DOMESTIC product and gross NATIONAL product in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. It is also an important difference between national income (the resource cost of production) and gross/net domestic product (the market value of production).

net income – A common term for profit, as the difference between total revenue and total cost. When used in the real world of business wheeling and dealing, this notion of net income general refers to accounting profit rather than economic profit. The “net” aspect of net income indicates that some (that something being cost) is deducted from total or “gross” income. Other common terms used in this same context are net revenue and net earnings.

net interest – The official item in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis measuring interest earned by the household sector for supplying capital services. This is one of five official factor payments making up national income. The other four are compensation of employees, rental income of persons, corporate profits, and proprietors’ income. Net interest is usually less than 10% of national income, typically in the 6-8% range.

net national product – The total market value of all final goods and services produced by citizens of an economy during a given period of time, usually a year, after adjusting for the depreciation of capital. Net national product, abbreviated NNP, has the same relation to net domestic product (NDP) as gross national product (GNP) has to gross domestic product (GDP). Net national product also has the same relation to gross national product that net domestic product has to gross domestic product. Like NDP, NNP is a measure of the net production in the economy.

net private domestic investment – Expenditures on capital goods to be used for productive activities in the domestic economy that are undertaken by the business sector during a given time period, after deducting capital depreciation. More specifically net private domestic investment is found be subtracting the capital consumption adjustment from gross private domestic investment. It’s primary function is to measure the net increase in the capital stock resulting from investment.

net revenue – A common term for profit, as the difference between total revenue and total cost. When used in the real world of business wheeling and dealing, this notion of net revenue general refers to accounting profit rather than economic profit. The “net” aspect of net revenue indicates that some (that something being cost) is deducted from total or “gross” revenue. Other common terms used in this same context are net income and net earnings.

net worth – The difference between a firm’s assets and liabilities, which is the value of a company’s assets after deducting liabilities. With assets being what a company owns and liabilities what a company owes, net worth can be thought of as what the company owes to the owners. Net worth is also a measure of wealth.

net-export effect – A change in aggregate expenditures on real production, especially net exports through the foreign sector, that results because a change in the price level alters the relative prices of exports and imports. The net-export effect, also termed the international-substitution effect, is one of three effects underlying the negative slope of the aggregate demand curve associated with a movement along the aggregate demand curve and a change in aggregate expenditures. The other two are real-balance effect and interest-rate effect.

new classical economics – A body of economic thought emerging in the last quarter of the 20th century based on greater reliance on voluntary market exchanges, a laissez faire approach to government policies, and recognition of the supply-side of the economy. New classical economics, as the name implies, is a rejuvenation of classical economics that dominated economic thought from the 1770s to the 1930s and was developed to counter Keynesian economics that was prevalent from the 1930s to the 1970s.

New York Stock Exchange – The largest stock market in the United States, located on the famous Wall Street in New York City. This is the big daddy of all stock markets in the country, often referred to as the “big board.” It was begun in the 1790s to help fledgling corporations in our fledgling country raise the funds needed for capital investment. All stock transactions (millions each day) are conducted by its members, making membership a very valuable commodity. It currently has slightly over a 1,000 members or “seats,” with the only way to get a seat on the exchange from a retiring or deceased member.

NI – The abbreviation for national income, which is the total income earned by the citizens of the national economy as a result of their ownership of resources used in the production of final goods and services during a given period of time, usually one year. This is the government’s official measure of how much income is generated by the economy. National income, generally abbreviated as NI, is the broadest, most comprehensive of three income measures reported quarterly (every three months) in the National Income and Product Accounts by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

NIRA – The common abbreviation for the National Industrial Recovery Act, which was one of the first acts passed under New Deal program the Roosevelt administration in 1933. The NIRA specifically allowed workers to organized into unions and to engage in collective bargaining without interference from firms. This act was declared unconstitutional in 1935, but while in force gave a big boost to labor unions and membership. The National Labor Relations Act was created in 1935 to replace the NIRA.

NLRA – The common abbreviation for the National Labor Relations Act, passed in 1935. This was a major labor union promoting act under New Deal program of the Roosevelt administration, which modified and replaced the National Industrial Recovery Act that was declared unconstitutional earlier in the year. Also known as the Wagner Act, it outlawed unfair labor practices by employers, such as the refusal by a firm to negotiate with a union representing a majority of its employees. It also established the National Labor Relations Board, which oversees labor activities.

NNP – The abbreviation for net national product, which is the total market value of all final goods and services produced by citizens of an economy during a given period of time, usually a year, after adjusting for the depreciation of capital. Net national product has the same relation to net domestic product (NDP) as gross national product (GNP) has to gross domestic product (GDP). Net national product also has the same relation to gross national product that net domestic product has to gross domestic product. Like NDP, NNP is a measure of the net production in the economy.

no-reserve banking – A (hypothetical) method of banking in which banks keep 0 percent of their deposits in the form of bank reserves, meaning that ALL deposits are used for interest-paying loans. No-reserve banking is one of two theoretical alternatives designed to help illustrate a contrast to the fractional-reserve banking actually practiced by modern banks. The other alternative is full-reserve banking. With the no-reserve approach a bank operates as financial intermediary or broker, matching up borrowers and lenders.

Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences – An award given annually since 1969 to an economist or scholar in recognition of a major contribution to the study of economics. It was established by the Bank of Sweden and is annually awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. The official name of the award is The Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. It is the only Nobel Prize awarded for a social science. The first Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded in 1969 to Ragnar Frisch and Jan Tinbergen.

nominal – The actual dollar price of stuff when it’s bought or sold. The contrast is with the term real, which is actual value adjusted for price changes or inflation.

nominal GDP – The total market value, measured in current prices, of all goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually one year. The key is that nominal gross domestic product is measured in current, or actual prices; the prices buyers actually pay for goods and services purchased. Nominal gross domestic product is also termed current gross domestic product.

nominal gross domestic product – The total market value, measured in current prices, of all goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually one year. The key is that nominal gross domestic product is measured in current, or actual prices; the prices buyers actually pay for goods and services purchased. Nominal gross domestic product is also termed current gross domestic product.

nominal production – The market value of all production measured in current, actual prices. Nominal production is typically measured with nominal GDP.

nominal wage – The market wage paid to labor stated in current prices. This is the actual wage received by labor for performing productive work. The contrast is with real wage, which is nominal wage adjusted for inflation. Nominal wage is comparable to other nominals, including nominal gross domestic product.

non-counterfeitability – One of four characteristics that enables an asset to better function as money. The other three are durability, divisibility, and transportablity. This characteristic means that the item used as money can not be easily counterfeited, that is, duplicated by entities not authorized to do so. Money that can be easily duplicated ceases to function effectively as a medium of exchange.

nonbank public – Everyone in the economy except banks and government banking authorities. The nonbank public includes consumers, businesses, and most government entities. The designation of nonbank public is most important for the money supply. In particular, the currency component of the money supply is that held by the nonbank public. This is the currency that his actually in circulation and which can be used to purchase goods and services. Banks and government banking authorities also hold currency. The currency held by bank is termed vault cash. Government banking entities, such as Federal Reserve Banks of the U.S. Treasury Department also hold uncirculated currency in inventory.

nondurable – A good bought by consumers that tends to last for less than a year. Common examples are food and clothing. The notable thing about nondurable goods is that consumers tend to continue buying them regardless of the ups and downs of the business cycle.

nondurable good – A good bought by consumers that tends to last for less than a year. Common examples are food and clothing. The notable thing about nondurable goods is that consumers tend to continue buying them regardless of the ups and downs of the business cycle.

consumption nondurable goods – Personal consumption expenditures on tangible goods that tend to last for less than a year. Common examples are food, clothing, and gasoline. This is one of three categories of personal consumption expenditures in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The other two are durable goods and services. Nondurable goods are about 30% of personal consumption expenditures and 20% of gross domestic product.

nonprice competition – A method of competition undertaken by firms in the same market (typically oligopoly firms) that involves advertising, brand-name promotion, support services, illegal activities, and everything but the price. Oligopoly firms are quite prone to nonprice competition due to the interdependence, especially such as that illustrated by the kinked-demand curve. Because oligopoly firms find difficulty competing through prices, they seek out alternative methods of competition, such as advertising or sabotage.

nontariff barrier – Any sort of trade barrier–other than a tariff or import quota–that restricts imports. Some of the more popular nontariff barriers are those that specify the content of a good or how it was produced. There are many valid and important safety, health, and environmental reasons for establishing these sorts of nontariff barriers.

normal good – A good for which an increase in income causes an increase in demand, or a rightward shift in the demand curve. If demand increases as income increases, it is a normal good or a good with a positive income elasticity of demand. A normal good is one of two alternatives falling within the income determinant of demand. The other is an inferior good.

normal profit – The opportunity cost of using entrepreneurial abilities in the production of a good, or the profit that could have been received in another business venture. Like the opportunity costs of other resources, normal profit is deducted from revenue to determine economic profit. It is, however, never included as an accounting cost when accounting profit is computed.

normative economics – The branch of economics that states the way the economy should operate. A normative statement is based on values and can be proved neither right or wrong. While positive economics seeks to explain the way it is, normative economics, the policy side of economics, seeks to prescribe the way it should be. Normative economics is used to recommend ways to change the world, to improve it, and to make it a better place for both man and beast.

Norris-LaGuardia Act – A Congressional act passed in 1932 that outlawed the use of yellow-dog contracts by employers and made it more difficult for firms to use legal injunctions against labor unions. This act strengthened labor related provisions of the Clayton Act and foreshadowed the more favorable attitude toward labor unions under the ensuing Roosevelt administration.

North American Development Bank – An international financial institution established and capitalized in equal parts by the United States and Mexico for the purpose of financing environmental infrastructure projects. The bank’s mission is to serve as a binational partner in communities along the U.S.-Mexico border in order to enhance the affordability, financing, long-term development and effective operation of infrastructure that promotes a clean, healthy environment for the citizens of the region. The Bank was created under the auspices of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

North American Free Trade Agreement – A economic, international trade treaty between the three nations that occupy the North American continent — Canada, Mexico, and the United States — that was launch in 1994. The North American Free Trade Agreement, commonly termed NAFTA, is designed to eliminate assorted trade barriers between Canada, Mexico, and the United States, including the reduction or elimination of many tariffs and nontariff barriers. While economic theory clearly indicates efficiency is enhanced by the reduction and elimination trade restrictions, NAFTA has been strongly opposed by those potentially harmed by more efficient trade, especially labor unions. However, NAFTA is merely one of several international trade agreements created over the years to reduce trade restrictions. Others include the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the Maastricht Treaty.

not in the labor force – Anyone who is not classified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as either employed persons or unemployed persons. The combination of employed persons and unemployed persons is the official specification of the civilian labor force, meaning anyone who does not qualify for the civilian labor force is classified as “not in the labor force.” This catch-all category is largely comprised of several notable segments of the population, such as young, elderly, homemakers, and military. However, it includes others who are either unwilling or unable to engage in productive activities for assorted reasons.

number of buyers – One of the five demand determinants assumed constant when a demand curve is constructed, and that shift the demand curve when they change. The other four are income, preferences, other prices, and buyers’ expectations. This determinant is based on the simple observation that if more people are willing and able to buy a good, then demand is greater.

number of sellers – One of the five supply determinants assumed constant when a supply curve is constructed, and that shift the supply curve when they change. The other four are resource prices, technology, other prices, and sellers’ expectations. This determinant is based on the simple observation that if more people are willing and able to sell a good, then supply is greater.

OAS – (Organization of American States ) In 1948, 21 nations of the hemisphere met in Bogota, Colombia, to adopt the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS). Since then, the OAS has expanded to include the nations of the Caribbean, as well as Canada. Currently, all 35 independent countries of the Americas have ratified the OAS Charter and belong to the Organization. Cuba remains a member, but its government has been excluded from participation in the OAS since 1962. The OAS is the region’s premier political forum for multilateral dialogue and action. Among OAS’ major goals they work for strengthening freedom of speech and thought as a basic human right, promoting greater participation by civil society in decision-making at all levels of government, improving cooperation to address the problem of illegal drugs and supporting the process to create a Free Trade Area of the Americas.

occupational mobility – The mobility, or movement, of factors of production from one type of productive activity to another type of productive activity. In particular, occupational mobility is the ease with which resources can change occupations. For example, a worker leaves a job as an accountant to takes a job as a computer programmer. Some factors are highly mobile and thus can easily moved jobs. Other factors are highly immobile and not easily able to switch production activities.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration – An agency of the U. S. Department of Labor, established in 1970, that’s charged with regulating workplace safety and job-related worker health. It has the authority to imposed health and safety rules and, much to the displeasure of businesses, inspect workplaces to ensure that the rules are followed. Some (second estate) critics argue of their rules are unneeded, overzealous, and counter-productive. Other (third estate) critics say that their rules are neither stringent enough nor adequately enforced.

Office of Management and Budget – An office within the Executive branch (specifically within the Office of the White House), that assists the President in various fiscal matters. Established in 1970, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is responsible for developing the President’s annual budget request to Congress, managing the Executive Branch, and evaluating Federal government regulations. The OMB staff are appointed by the President, but unlike other appointments, they do not need Senate confirmation. The duty of preparing the fiscal budget, and what this means for fiscal policy, has made the director of the OMB one of the more influential economic positions in country, ranking just a notch below the Chairman of the Federal Reserve System’s Board of Governors and the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors. The Congressional counterpart of the OMB is the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

oikonomos – This rather strange word is a greek term meaning “household manager” or “household steward” that gave rise to the modern term economy and the whole range of related terms, including economic, economics, economist, and economize. Ironically there are those who use economics less with the goal of providing “stewardship” of the economy and more focused on the goal of extracting maximum personal gain.

Okun’s law – A relationship that says that the gap between actual and full employment output level of gross domestic product widens by 3.0% for each percentage point increase in the unemployment rate. When Arthur Okun discovered this empirical relationship he was on President Kennedy’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). Okun cautioned that the relationship was valid only within unemployment rates of 3% and 7.5%.

oligopolistic behavior – Oligopolistic industries are nothing if not diverse. Some sell identical products, others differentiated products. Some have three or four firms of nearly equal size, others have one large dominate firm (a clear industry leader) and a handful of smaller firms (that follow the leader). Whatever products they may sell, and however they may be organized, oligopolistic industries share several behavioral tendencies, including (1) interdependence, (2) rigid prices, (3) nonprice competition, (4) mergers, and (5) collusion. In other words, each oligopolistic firm keeps a close eye on the decisions made by other firms in the industry (interdependence), are reluctant to change prices (rigid prices), but instead try to attract the competitors customers using incentives other than prices (nonprice competition), and when they get tired of competing with their competitors they are inclined to cooperate either legally (mergers) or illegally (collusion).

oligopoly – A market structure dominated by a small number of large firms, selling either identical or differentiated products, and significant barriers to entry into the industry. This is one of four basic market structures. The other three are perfect competition, monopoly, and monopolistic competition.

oligopoly and monopolistic competition – Oligopoly and monopolistic competition have some similarities, but also have a few important differences. Both are examples of imperfect competition on the market structure continuum between ideals of perfect competition and monopoly. However, oligopoly contains a small number of large firms and monopolistic competition contains a large number of small firms. The dividing line between oligopoly and monopolistic competition can be blurred due to the number of firms in the industry.

oligopoly and monopoly – Oligopoly and monopoly have some similarities, both tend to be relatively large and possess significant market control, but also have a few important differences, oligopoly market has more than one firm. The dividing line between oligopoly and monopoly, however, can be blurred due to the closeness of substitutes and the inclination of oligopoly firms to collude.

oligopoly characteristics – The three most important characteristics of oligopoly are: (1) an industry dominated by a small number of large firms, (2) firms sell either identical or differentiated products, and (3) the industry has significant barriers to entry.

concentration oligopoly – Oligopoly is a market structure that contains a small number of relatively large firms, meaning oligopoly markets tend to be concentrated. A small number of large firms account for a majority of total output. Concentration unto itself is not necessarily bad, but it often leads to inefficient behavior, such as collusion and nonprice competition. Concentration is measured in three ways–market share, concentration ratio, Herfindahl index.

realism oligopoly – Real world markets are heavily populated by oligopoly. About half of all output produced in the U.S. economy each year is done so by oligopoly firms. Other industrialized nations can make a similar claim. Oligopoly markets arise in a wide assortment different industries, ranging from manufacturing to retail trade to resource extraction to financial services.

oligopsony – A market structure dominated by a small number of large buyers controlling the buying-side of a market. Oligopsony is the somewhat obscure and seldom discussed buying counterpart to an oligopoly seller that controls the selling side of a market. Whereas oligopoly is most relevant to product markets, oligopsony is most relevant to factor markets.

OMB – The abbrevation for Office of Management and Budget, which is an office within the Executive branch (specifically within the Office of the White House), that assists the President in various fiscal matters. Established in 1970, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is responsible for developing the President’s annual budget request to Congress, managing the Executive Branch, and evaluating Federal government regulations. The OMB staff are appointed by the President, but unlike other appointments, they do not need Senate confirmation. The duty of preparing the fiscal budget, and what this means for fiscal policy, has made the director of the OMB one of the more influential economic positions in country, ranking just a notch below the Chairman of the Federal Reserve System’s Board of Governors and the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors. The Congressional counterpart of the OMB is the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

OMO – The abbreviation for open market operations, which is the Federal Reserve System’s buying and selling of government securities in an effort to alter bank reserves and subsequently the nation’s money supply. These actions, under the direction of the Federal Open Market Committee, are the Fed’s number one, most effective, most often used tool of monetary policy. If, for example, the Fed wants to increase the money supply (termed easy money) it buy’s government securities. If the Fed chooses to reduce the money supply (called tight money) it sells some government securities.

OPEC – The common abbreviation for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which is an international organization of more than a dozen nations located primarily in the Middle East, Africa, and Central America that controls a sizeable portion of the world’s petroleum reserves. This control over oil reserves gives OPEC significant market control, which it has been inclined to exert from time to time. The most noted time was the 1970s. OPEC raised oil prices from a scant $2 to $3 a barrel in the early 1970s to over $30 a barrel by the end of the decade. As an group of independent oil-producing nations seeking to monopolize the market, OPEC represents a textbook example of an cartel.

open economy – An economy with a great deal of foreign trade. At the extreme, a completely open economy is one that has no trade barriers. Most of the world’s hundred-plus nations are relatively open, but much less than they could be because of a wide assortment of trade restrictions. The more an economy is open, the more dependent it is on happenings around the world.

open market – A market, not unlike that stock market, that trades the U.S. Treasury securities that comprises the federal debt. U.S. Treasury securities are low risk and extremely secure financial instruments that are held by all sorts of investors, especially commercial banks. The Federal Reserve System is also a major holder of U.S. Treasury securities and participant in the open market. In fact, the Federal Reserve System used buying and selling of U.S. Treasury securities through the open market as a means of controlling the money, through what is appropriately termed open market operations.

open market operations – The Federal Reserve System’s buying and selling of government securities in an effort to alter bank reserves and subsequently the nation’s money supply. These actions, under the direction of the Federal Open Market Committee, are the Fed’s number one, most effective, most often used tool of monetary policy. If, for example, the Fed wants to increase the money supply (termed easy money) it buy’s government securities. If the Fed chooses to reduce the money supply (called tight money) it sells some government securities.

open shop – An employment arrangement in which workers of a firm are free to join or not join a union because employment is unrelated to union membership. Because an open shop tends to limit the proportion of a firm’s employees represented, this can significantly dilute a labor union’s market control. Open shops are established in states that have right-to-work laws.

operating statement – A statement of the revenues, expenditures, and profit for a business, household, or government entity over a given period of time. An income statement also goes by the names profit and loss statement, earnings report, and income statement. This is one of two key financial statements for an entity. The other is a balance sheet, which is a statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth at a given point in time.

opportunity cost – The highest valued alternative foregone in the pursuit of an activity. This is a hallmark of anything dealing with economics–and life for that matter–because any action that you take prevents you from doing something else. The ultimate source of opportunity cost is the pervasive problem of scarcity (unlimited wants and needs, but limited resources). Whenever limited resources are used to satisfy one want or need, there are an unlimited number of other wants and needs that remain unsatisfied. Herein lies the essence of opportunity cost. Doing one thing prevents doing another.

production possibilities opportunity cost – The production possibilities analysis, which is the alternative combinations of two goods that an economy can produce with given resources and technology, can be used to illustrate opportunity cost–the highest valued alternative foregone in the pursuit of an activity.

option – A contract that gives the buyer an “option” to complete a transaction within a given time period. Options are used frequently in financial markets.

ordinal – A measurement based on a ranking, such as first, second, and third, that enables a relative comparison of more or less. Relative comparability means, for example, that first is more than second and second is more than third, but how much more is not known. Cardinal measures, which use a quantitative measurement scale, is an alternative type of measure. An ordinal measure can be thought of as a list for high to low, good to bad, top to bottom, and are often based on subjective evaluations of items. The notion of ordinal measurement is most often seen in the economic analysis of indifference curves and utility.

ordinal utility – A method of analyzing utility, or satisfaction derived from the consumption of goods and services, based on a relative ranking of the goods and services consumed. With ordinal utility, goods are only ranked only in terms of more or less preferred, there is no attempt to determine how much more one good is preferred to another. Ordinal utility is the underlying assumption used in the analysis of indifference curves and should be compared with cardinal utility, which (hypothetically) measures utility using a quantitative scale.

Organization of American States – In 1948, 21 nations of the hemisphere met in Bogota, Colombia, to adopt the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS). Since then, the OAS has expanded to include the nations of the Caribbean, as well as Canada. Currently, all 35 independent countries of the Americas have ratified the OAS Charter and belong to the Organization. Cuba remains a member, but its government has been excluded from participation in the OAS since 1962. The OAS is the region’s premier political forum for multilateral dialogue and action. Among OAS’ major goals they work for strengthening freedom of speech and thought as a basic human right, promoting greater participation by civil society in decision-making at all levels of government, improving cooperation to address the problem of illegal drugs and supporting the process to create a Free Trade Area of the Americas.

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries – An international organization of more than a dozen nations located primarily in the Middle East, Africa, and Central America that controls a sizeable portion of the world’s petroleum reserves. Commonly abbreviation OPEC, this organizations control over oil reserves gives it significant market control, which it has been inclined to exert from time to time. The most noted time was the 1970s. OPEC raised oil prices from a scant $2 to $3 a barrel in the early 1970s to over $30 a barrel by the end of the decade. As an group of independent oil-producing nations seeking to monopolize the market, OPEC represents a textbook example of an cartel.

organized labor – The general term used when referring to the collection of labor unions representing the interests of workers. Of course, to be “organized” labor, labor needs to “organized,” which is what labor unions are all about. Prior to the onset of the labor union movement in the mid-1800s, labor was not organized, meaning that each and every worker acted independently in the pursuit of wages, fringe benefits, or improved working conditions. Even in modern times, organized labor represents only a fraction of the total labor force in the United States, something less than a fourth.

origin – In a graph, this is point of intersection between the X and Y axes. This intersection point is at the zero values for both axes. This double-zero is the “starting point” for plotting points in the coordinate space established by the two axes.

OSHA – The abbreviation for Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is an agency of the U. S. Department of Labor, established in 1970, that’s charged with regulating workplace safety and job-related worker health. It has the authority to imposed health and safety rules and, much to the displeasure of businesses, inspect workplaces to ensure that the rules are followed. Some (second estate) critics argue of their rules are unneeded, overzealous, and counter-productive. Other (third estate) critics say that their rules are neither stringent enough nor adequately enforced.

other prices – A handy term referring to the prices of other goods that affect either the demand for a good or the supply of the good. On the demand side, other prices can be those for substitutes-in-consumption or complements-in-consumption. On the supply side, other prices can be those for either substitutes-in-production or complements-in-production. Changes in other prices cause shifts in the corresponding demand or supply curves.

other things equal – A common assumption used in economic analysis that often goes by the technical Latin term, ceteris paribus. This assumption is used when identifying the relation between two specific variables, such as price and quantity for the law of demand. In so doing, the causal connection between the two variables can be identified. However, economic analysis becomes more interesting and useful when this assumption is relaxed, which makes it possible to examine how these “other things” affect the relation under study.

outlaw strike – An unofficial and usually spontaneous strike or work stoppage by union members. A wildcat strike is not authorized by the labor union representing the workers. Such strikes generally occur because (1) labor has specific problems or concerns that have not been satisfactorily addressed by employers or (2) workers feel that union leaders are not acting in the best interest of the union members. This is also termed an wildcat strike.

output – A generic term for a tangible good or an intangible service that is the end result of the production/resource transformation process. This notion of output, which also goes by the alias product, usually surfaces in the context of analyzing the short-run production of a firm. The short-run relation between a variable input and output is of particular interest because it reveals the law of diminishing marginal returns. This law indicates that additional quantities of a variable input, when added to a fixed input, have decreasing marginal products, or marginal returns.

output gaps – Recessionary and inflationary gaps created by differences between equilibrium real production achieved in the short-run aggregate market and full-employment real production. A recessionary gap occurs if short-run equilibrium real production is less than full-employment real production. An inflationary gap results if short-run real equilibrium production is greater than full-employment real production.

outside lag – In the context of economic policies, the time between corrective government action responding to a shock to the economy and the resulting affect on the economy. This is one of two primary lags in the use of economic policies. The other is inside lag, the time between a shock to the economy and corrective government action responding to the shock. The length of the outside lag, also termed impact lag, is primarily based on the speed of the multiplier process and is essentially the same for both fiscal and monetary policy. The length of the inside and outside lags is one argument against the use of discretionary policies to stability business cycles.

over-the-counter market – A market that trades corporate stocks and other securities using a computerized network of dealers rather than an organized exchange. Over-the-counter market is most often used in reference to the National Association of Securities Dealers. Stocks traded over the counter tend to be smaller, less well-known, technology based firms. Start-up firms often begin offering their stock over the counter, then once established they move to organized exchanges, especially the New York Stock Exchange or the American Stock Exchange.

overemployment – The condition in which resources are more actively engaged in the production of goods and services than they are willing and able to at current prices. This condition is most important for short-run macroeconomic activity and short-run aggregate market analysis. In particular, overemployment is a key reason for the positive slope of the short-run aggregate supply curve. Overemployment is a primary reason the macroeconomy is able to produce MORE than full-employment production in the short run. Another reason is natural unemployment.

overt collusion – A formal, usually secret, collusion agreement among competing firms (mostly oligopolistic firms) in an industry designed to control the market, raise the market price, and otherwise act like a monopoly. Also termed explicit collusion, the distinguishing feature of overt collusion is a formal agreement. This should be contrasted with implicit or tacit collusion that does not involve a formal, explicit agreement.

owner occupied – A building or residence (especially a house) that is occupied or lived in by those who have legal ownership. The direct contrast to owner occupied is a rental unit. This term tends to surface most often in the study of economics when calculating Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In particular, the estimated rent on owner-occupied housing is calculated by the folks at the Bureau of Economic Analysis and included in value of GDP.

owner-occupied housing – Houses that are, quite simply, occupied by the owners. A person, or family, owns a house and lives in it. The contrast is with rental property, in which owners rent their houses out to others. Owner-occupied housing is important for the estimation of gross domestic product because it involves current production but has no market transactions. As such, the value of housing services have to be estimated before inclusion in gross domestic product.

ownership and control – Ownership means that you have legal “title” to a resource, good, or commodity. Control means that you have the ability to determine how a resource, good, or commodity is used. While it would seem as though these two always go together, such is not the case. People generally have ownership and control over their labor and personal property (clothing, furniture, canned goods, etc.). But in some circumstances ownership is absent of control and control exists without ownership.

ownership liability – The extent to which the owners of a business are liable for the debts of the company. The two basic liability alternatives are unlimited liability, which has no restrictions on ownership liability, and limited liability, which does have restrictions. Ownership liability is one characteristic separating legal business organizations. Proprietorships and partnerships have unlimited liability. Corporations have limited liability.

p-e ratio – Also termed the price-earnings ratio, this is the ratio of the current price for one share of corporate stock to the earnings (profit) per share of stock. This is used by many financial analysts and investors as an indicator of a company’s performance and potential for future growth. A relatively high price-earnings ratio suggests that investors think the company has a great deal of future growth potential. It can also be a sign, however, that the company is seriously overpriced and due for a big drop.

packaging – The container and graphic design variable in the marketing mix, (sometimes included in the product). Changes in product distribution and government regulations in contents identification have made the packaging variable a very important component in the organizationÕs marketing strategy. Packaging completes the marketing process by giving the consumer vital information just prior to making the final buy decision.

paper currency – Paper usually issued by the national government that are used as money. Metal coins are also frequently included under the generic heading of currency. Currency in the U.S. economy is issued by the Federal Reserve System (paper) and the U.S. Treasury (coins). This constitutes about 30 to 40 percent of the M1 money supply. Most modern currency is fiat money.

paper economy – Markets, exchanges, and assorted economic activity that deal with legal or paper claims on physical assets rather than the physical assets. The vast majority of activities for the paper economy take place through financial markets. The paper (or financial) economy is based legal claims on these physical goods and resources. The term paper economy is used because these legal claims historically have been pieces of paper–paper that you can’t eat, wear, or live in to satisfy wants and needs. However, as technology progresses, much of the paper is giving way to electronic data storage.

par value – The stated, or face, value of a legal claim or financial asset. For debt securities, such as corporate bonds or U. S. Treasury securities, this is amount to be repaid at the time of maturity. For equity securities, that is, corporate stocks, this is the initial value set up at the time it is issued. Par value, also called face value, is not necessarily, and often is not, equal to the current market price of the asset. A $10,000 U.S. Treasury note, for example, has a par value of $10,000, but might have a current market price of $9,950. The difference between par value and current price contributes to the yield or return on such assets. An asset is selling at a discount if the current price is less than the par value and is selling at a premium if the current price is more than the par value.

paradox of thrift – The notion that an increase in saving, which is prudent for an individual during bad economic times, is not the best course of action for the macroeconomy. If total saving in the economy increases, then consumption and aggregate expenditures decline, which causes a decline in aggregate output.

Pareto efficiency – A type of efficiency that results if one person can not be made better off without making someone else worse off. Named after Vilfredo Pareto, this criterion is the guiding theoretical notion of efficiency used in the study of economics, especially welfare economics. Pareto efficiency is generally not attained if some resources are idle or unemployed. By engaging idle resources in production, some people can have more production without reducing that available to others. A problem with Pareto efficiency, however, is that it is based on the existing distribution of income and wealth. This is one of two noted efficiency criteria used in economics. The other is Kaldor-Hicks efficiency.

Pareto improvement – Based on the Pareto efficiency criterion, the notion that an action improves efficiency if it is possible for one person to benefit without anyone else being harmed. A Pareto improvement is possible if the economy has idle resources or market failures. With idle resources, more production is possible to help some without hurting others. With market failures, corrective actions can eliminate deadweight loss that can then be use for benefits economy-wide. A contrasting condition for attaining efficiency is the Kaldor-Hicks improvement.

part-time workers – People who are willing and able to work full-time (over 35 hours per week), but are forced to work less because employers don’t need their productive efforts. While part-time workers officially have jobs, and are officially included in the “employed” category when the official unemployment rate is calculated, their labor resources are really only partially unemployed. A person working 20 hours a week, who is willing and able to work 40 hours a week, really should be considered as “half employed.”

partnership – One of the three basic forms of business organization (the other two are corporation and proprietorship). A partnership is a business that’s owned and operated more or less equally by two or more people. The owners and the business are legally considered one and the same. As such, each owner has unlimited liability, which means that an owner is held personally responsible for any and all of the business’s debts, including those made by a partner.

patent – The guaranteed ownership and control of an invention, innovation, or production technique by government for a period of time (currently 17 years). A patent gives the owner the exclusive rights to sell, market, license, or otherwise generate revenue from an invention, innovation, or production technique. Patents are designed to encourage inventions and other developments that promote technological advances. However, they are also an entry barrier and lead to market control.

paternalism – A fundamental philosophical viewpoint that the private sector (households and businesses) needs to be watched over–like a parent–by the public sector (government). In other words, members of society need to be watched over, cared for, and kept out of trouble, like parents watch over, care for, and keep their children out of trouble. This philosophy of paternalism should be contrasted directly with the philosophy of laissez faire, which essentially says “Hey, we’re all grown ups here, we can make our own decisions.”

payment flow – In the circular flow, the clockwise transfer of money in payment for the counter-clockwise physical flow of goods and services. The payment flow is the monetary payment for goods and services received by the household sector from the business sector through product markets and the monetary payment for resource services obtained by the business sector from the household sector through factor markets.

payroll tax – A tax levied on the wage earnings, or payroll, of workers. The most notable, if nothing else in terms of sheer dollar amount, is the Social Security tax.

peak – The transition of a business cycle from an expansion and a contraction. The end of an expansions carries the descriptive term peak. At the peak, the economy has reached the highest level of production in recent times. The bad thing about a peak, however, is that it is a turning point, a turning point to a contraction. So even though a peak is the “highest” is not necessarily something we want. We would prefer never to reach the peak.

per unit tax – A tax that is specified as a fixed amount for each unit of a good sold. Federal excise taxes on gasoline and cigarettes fall into this per unit tax category.

perception – How a person interprets the sensual inputs received through seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching. This process requires the individual to select, organize, and decode the various stimuli surrounding him/her in the environment. The important thing is not what is said by the talker, but what is heard by the listener. This process is critical to understanding consumer buying behavior.

perfect competition – An ideal market structure characterized by a large number of small firms, identical products sold by all firms, freedom of entry into and exit out of the industry, and perfect knowledge of prices and technology. This is one of four basic market structures. The other three are monopoly, oligopoly, and monopolistic competition. Perfect competition is an idealized market structure that’s not observed in the real world. While unrealistic, it does provide an excellent benchmark that can be used to analyze real world market structures. In particular, perfect competition efficiently allocates resources.

perfect competition and demand – The demand curve for the output produced by a perfectly competitive firm is perfectly elastic at the going market price. The firm can sell all of the output that it wants at this price because it is a relatively small part of the market. As a price taker, the firm has no ability to charge a higher price and no reason to charge a lower one. The market price facing a perfectly competitive firm is also the firm’s average revenue and, most importantly, its marginal revenue.

perfect competition and efficiency – Perfect competition is the idealized market structure that achieves an efficient allocation of resources. The conditions of perfect competition, including (1) large number of small firms, (2) identical products sold by all firms, (3) freedom of entry into and exit out of the industry, and (4) perfect knowledge of prices and technology, ensure that perfect competition efficiently allocates resources. This is in fact the purpose of perfect competition: a market structure that illustrates perfection, the best of all possible resource allocation worlds. The real world falls short of this perfection.

perfect competition and short-run supply curve – A perfectly competitive firm’s supply curve is that portion of its’ marginal cost curve that lies above the minimum of the average variable cost curve. A perfectly competitive firm maximizes profit by producing the quantity of output that equates price and marginal cost. As such, the firm moves along it’s marginal cost curve in response to alternative prices. Because the marginal cost curve is positively sloped due to the law of diminishing marginal returns, the firm’s supply curve is also positively sloped.

perfect competition characteristics – The four key characteristics of perfect competition are: (1) large number of small firms, (2) identical products sold by all firms, (3) freedom of entry into and exit out of the industry, and (4) perfect knowledge of prices and technology. These four characteristics mean that a given perfectly competitive firm is unable to exert any control whatsoever over the market.

factor market analysis perfect competition – The analysis of a factor market characterized by perfect competition indicates that each buyer maximizes profit by equating marginal revenue product to the factor price. This achieves an efficient allocation of resources and provides a benchmark for analyzing other factor market structures, including monopsony, monopoly, and bilateral monopoly.

long-run adjustment perfect competition – A perfectly competitive industry undertakes a two-part adjustment to equilibrium in the long run. One is the adjustment of each perfectly competitive firm to the appropriate factory size that maximizes long-run profit. The other is the entry of firms into the industry or exit of firms out of the industry, to eliminate economic profit or economic loss. The end result of this long-run adjustment is a multi-faceted equilibrium condition that price is equal to marginal cost and average cost (both short run and long run).

long-run equilibrium conditions perfect competition – The long-run equilibrium of a perfectly competitive industry generates six specific equilibrium conditions, including: (1) economic efficiency (P = MC), (2) profit maximization (MR = MC), (3) perfect competition (MR = AR = P), (4) breakeven output (P = AR = ATC), (5) minimum production cost (MC = ATC), and (6) minimum efficient scale (MC = ATC = LRAC = LRMC).

long-run production analysis perfect competition – In the long run, a perfectly competitive firm adjusts plant size, or the quantity of capital, to maximize long-run profit. In addition, the entry and exit of firms into and out of a perfectly competitive market guarantees that each perfectly competitive firm earns nothing more or less than a normal profit. As a perfectly competitive industry reacts to changes in demand, it traces out positive, negative, or horizontal long-run supply curve due to increasing, decreasing, or constant cost.

loss minimization perfect competition – A perfectly competitive firm is presumed to produce the quantity of output that minimizes economic losses, if price is greater than average variable cost but less than average total cost. This is one of three short-run production alternatives facing a firm. The other two are profit maximization (if price exceeds average total cost) and shutdown (if price is less than average variable cost).

marginal analysis perfect competition – A perfectly competitive firm produces the profit-maximizing quantity of output that equates marginal revenue and marginal cost. This marginal approach is one of three methods that used to determine the profit-maximizing quantity of output. The other two methods involve the direct analysis of economic profit or a comparison of total revenue and total cost.

profit analysis perfect competition – A perfectly competitive firm produces the profit-maximizing quantity of output that generates the highest level of profit. This profit approach is one of three methods that used to determine the profit-maximizing quantity of output. The other two methods involve a comparison of total revenue and total cost or a comparison of marginal revenue and marginal cost.

profit maximization perfect competition – A perfectly competitive firm is presumed to produce the quantity of output that maximizes economic profit–the difference between total revenue and total cost. This production decision can be analyzed directly with economic profit, by identifying the greatest difference between total revenue and total cost, or by the equality between marginal revenue and marginal cost.

realism perfect competition – Perfect competition is an idealized market structure that does NOT exist in the real world. While some real world industries might come relatively close to one or two of the four key characteristics of perfect competition, none matches all four sufficiently that they can be declared PERFECTLY competitively. Some industries come close on the large number of small firms and the identical product characteristics. A few industries have relatively good, although not perfect, information about prices and technology. However, almost all industries fall far short of the perfect mobility characteristics.

revenue division perfect competition – The marginal approach to analyzing a perfectly competitive firm’s short-run profit maximizing production decision can be used to identify the division of total revenue among variable cost, fixed cost, and economic profit. The U-shaped cost curves used in this analysis provide all of the information needed on the cost side of the firm’s decision. The demand curve facing the firm (which is also the firm’s average revenue and marginal revenue curves) provides all of the information needed on the revenue side.

short-run production analysis perfect competition – A perfectly competitive firm produces the profit-maximizing quantity of output that equates marginal revenue and marginal cost. This production level can be identified using total revenue and cost, marginal revenue and cost, or profit. Because a perfectly competitive firm faces a perfectly elastic demand curve, it efficiently allocates resources by equating price and marginal cost. In addition, the marginal cost curve above the average variable cost curve is the perfectly competitive firm’s short-run supply curve.

shutdown perfect competition – A perfectly competitive firm is presumed to shutdown production and produce no output in the short run, if price is less than average variable cost. This is one of three short-run production alternatives facing a firm. The other two are profit maximization (if price exceeds average total cost) and loss minimization (if price is greater than average variable cost but less than average total cost).

total analysis perfect competition – A perfectly competitive firm produces the profit-maximizing quantity of output that generates the greatest difference between total revenue and total cost. This total approach is one of three methods that used to determine the profit-maximizing quantity of output. The other two methods involve the direct analysis of economic profit or a comparison of marginal revenue and marginal cost.

perfect price discrimination – A form of price discrimination in which a seller charges the highest price that buyers are willing and able to pay for each quantity of output sold. This is also termed first-degree price discrimination because the seller is able to extract ALL consumer surplus from the buyers. This is one of three price discrimination degrees. The others are second-degree price discrimination and third-degree price discrimination.

perfectly elastic – An elasticity alternative in which infinitesimally small changes in price cause infinitely large changes in quantity. In other words, quantity is hyper, super, infinitely responsive to price. Any change in price, no matter how small triggers an infinite change in quantity. Perfectly elastic should be compared with other elasticity alternatives–perfectly inelastic, relatively elastic, relatively inelastic, and unit elastic.

perfectly inelastic – An elasticity alternative in which changes in price do NOT cause any change in quantity. In other words, quantity is totally, completely unresponsive to price. Quantity just does not change, regardless of changes in price. Perfectly inelastic should be compared with other elasticity alternatives–perfectly elastic, relatively elastic, relatively inelastic, and unit elastic.

personal consumption expenditures – The official item in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis measuring household consumption expenditures on gross domestic product. Personal consumption expenditures are far and away the largest and tends to be the most stable of the four expenditures, averaging about 65-70% of gross domestic product. The other official expenditures included in the National Income and Product Accounts are gross private domestic investment, government consumption expenditures and gross investment, and net exports of goods and services.

personal income – The total income received by the members of the domestic household sector, which may or may not be earned from productive activities during a given period of time, usually one year. The primary use of personal income is to measure the income actually paid out to the household sector. After adjusting for income taxes, personal income forms the basis for consumption expenditures on gross domestic product.

personal income and disposable income – Personal income (PI) is the total income received by the members of the domestic household sector, which may or may not be earned from productive activities during a given period of time, usually one year. Disposable income (DI) is the total income that can be used by the household sector for either consumption or saving during a given period of time, usually one year. Disposable income is after-tax income that is officially calculated as the difference between personal income and personal tax and nontax payments. In the numbers game, personal tax and nontax payments are about 15% of personal income, which makes disposable personal income about 85% of personal income.

personal income and national income – Personal income (PI) is the total income received by the members of the domestic household sector, which may or may not be earned from productive activities during a given period of time. National income (NI) is the total income earned by the citizens of the national economy resulting from their ownership of resources used in the production, which may or may not be received by members of the household sector. Personal income can be derived from national income by subtracting income earned but not received (IEBNR) and adding income received but not earned (IRBNE).

personal income tax – A tax on individual income. This is the primary source of revenue for the federal government, a big source for many state and local governments, and the reason most people dread April 15th. In principle, personal income taxes are progressive, based on a graduated tax scale. However, it’s much more proportional today than it was several decades ago.

personal tax and nontax payments – The official item in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis measuring personal income taxes paid to the government sector on personal income received by the household sector. Personal tax and nontax payments are subtracted from personal income (PI) to calculate disposable income (DI). Personal tax and nontax payments are about 15% of personal income and about 13% of gross domestic product.

personal taxes – The common term for the portion of personal income used to pay personal tax and nontax payments. Personal tax and nontax payments is the official item in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economics Analysis measuring the personal income taxes paid to the government sector on personal income received by the household sector. Personal tax and nontax payments are subtracted from personal income (PI) to calculate disposable income (DI). Personal tax and nontax payments are about 15 percent of personal income and about 13 percent of gross domestic product.

personality – A consistent pattern of behavior in certain situations. These behavioral tendencies are influenced by both hereditary and environmental factors resulting in individual characteristics. Marketing researchers look for certain personality characteristics that affect patterns of consumer buying behavior.

phenomenon – An event or action that is subject to investigation using the scientific method. Phenomena are the sorts of things that science seeks to explain. While the term phenomenon might entice thoughts of UFOs, ghosts, and three-headed turtles, it really just means things that happen, both usual and unusual. The reason for explaining the unusual AND the commonplace is that the scientific method seeks to develop universal theories, with laws and principles that explain all events, not just unexpected ones.

physical asset – A productive resource, capital, property, or satisfaction-generating good. Also termed real asset. This should be contrasted with financial assets that are legal claims on physical assets.

physical capital – The synthetic resources used to produce goods and services. Capital is a factor of production that has been previously produced. Unlike other types of material items, capital does not become a part of the product. This should be compared with financial capital and human capital.

physical flow – In the circular flow, the counter-clockwise transfer of goods and services from the business sector to the household sector and the transfer of resource services from the household sector to the business sector. The payment flow moves in the opposite direction. The physical flow, the physical movement of goods and services, is the foundation of the economy’s circular flow. The fundamental problem of scarcity is addressed by physically transforming scarce resources into goods and services that are then used to satisfy wants and needs.

physical science – The scientific study of nonhuman, nonsociety phenomenon, such as atoms, planets, wildlife, and continental drift. Common disciplines that study these physical phenomenon go by the names physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and astronomy, among others. The primary reason for this entry is to provide a contrast with social sciences, especially economics, that study human behavior and society.

physical wealth – The ownership of productive resources, capital, and property and satisfaction-generating goods. Also termed real wealth. This should be contrasted with financial wealth that is based on ownership of financial or paper assets.

aggregate demand determinant physical wealth – One of several specific aggregate demand determinants assumed constant when the aggregate demand curve is constructed, and that shifts the aggregate demand curve when it changes. An increase in the physical wealth causes a decrease (leftward shift) of the aggregate curve. A decrease in the physical wealth causes an increase (rightward shift) of the aggregate curve. Other notable aggregate demand determinants include interest rates, federal deficit, inflationary expectations, and the money supply.

aggregate expenditures determinant physical wealth – One of several specific aggregate expenditures determinants assumed constant when the aggregate expenditures line is constructed, and that shifts the aggregate expenditures line when it changes. A decrease in physical wealth causes an increase (upward shift) of the aggregate expenditures line. An increase in physical wealth causes a decrease (downward shift) of the aggregate expenditures line. Other notable aggregate expenditures determinants include consumer confidence, federal deficit, inflationary expectations, and exchange rates.

PI – The abbreviation for personal income, which is the total income received by the members of the domestic household sector, which may or may not be earned from productive activities during a given period of time, usually one year. Personal income is one of three measures of income reported quarterly (every three months) in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

picket line – This is the traditional method of demonstrating that a labor union is on strike against an employer, whereby union members carry picket signs and walk in a line in front of the employers plant, factory, or place of business. The pickets carried by the striking workers contain messages documenting their striking status and some of their grievances with the employer. The act of walking in an orderly fashion means that they are not engaged in other activities that might be illegal. Crossing the “picket line” is symbolic of attempts to break a streak and to disagree with the goals of the striking workers.

pie chart – A circular graph divided into wedges that is commonly used to present the division of a total among parts. The circular “pie” represents the total value and each slice represents the portion distributed to each category. Pie charts are a handy way to present information, but are not well suited for more involved economic analysis.

Pigouvian tax – A tax on an external cost, such as pollution, designed to use market forces to achieve an efficient allocation of resources. A. C. Pigou, one of the first economists to study the market failure of externalities, is credited with developing this tax system for internalizing costs external to the market. An external cost caused by pollution, for example, can be internalized if polluters pay a tax equal to the value of the external cost.

planned economy – An economy, or economic system, that relies heavily on central planning by government to allocate resources and answer the three basic questions of allocation. This is also commonly termed a command economy. A planned economy should be contrasted with a market-oriented economy, or capitalism. One the big spectrum of economy systems, a planned economy lies much closer to the pure command economy extreme than to the pure market economy end. The former Soviet Union and China represent the most noted examples of planned economies.

planned investment – Investment expenditures that the business sector intends to undertake based on expected economic conditions, interest rates, sales, and profitability. This is a critical component of Keynesian economics and the analysis of macroeconomic equilibrium, which occurs when actual investment is equal to planned investment. The difference between planned and actual investment is unplanned investment, which is inventory changes caused by a difference between aggregate expenditures and aggregate output. Should actual and planned investment differ, then aggregate expenditures are not equal to aggregate output, and the macroeconomy is not in equilibrium.

planning curve – Another term for the long-run average cost curve (LRAC). Using the name planning curve indicates that the long-run average cost curve is used to “making plans” especially concerning the desired scale of operations of a firm. That is, in the long run a firm will seek the plant size that maximizes long-run profit by equating long-run marginal cost and marginal revenue. It will then pick out the appropriate plant size off the long-run average cost with the minimum short-run average total cost.

planning horizon – Another term for the long-run average cost curve. The long-run average cost curve is termed the planning horizon because it provides information a firm can use to plan factory construction and expansion in the long run.

planning period – The period of time in which a firm selects the profit-maximizing plant size in the long run when all inputs, especially capital, are variable. This is, in other words, another term for the long run, but applied to the adjustment using the long-run average cost curve.

plant – The physical capital (building and equipment) at a particular location used for the production of goods and services. While the term plant is occasional used synonymously with the terms firm or business, when economists get down to specifics, which they are prone to do, the term plant is used ONLY for a specific production facility. As such, it best used synonymously with the term factory.

plastic money – A slang phrase for credit cards, especially when such cards used to make purchases. The “plastic” portion of this term refers to the plastic construction of credit cards, as opposed to paper and metal of currency. The “money” portion is an erroneous reference to credit cards as a form of money, which they are not. Although credit cards do facilitate transactions, because they are a liability rather than an asset, they are not money and not part of the economy’s money supply.

plurality rule – A voting rule in which decisions are made based on a plurality of the votes cast. A plurality is defined as the most votes obtained when more than two candidates or options exist, but none receives a majority. If, for example, two of three candidates running for office receive 33 percent of the vote, then the third candidate with 34 percent receives the plurality. Presidential primary elections, which can have up to a dozen candidates, are commonly won with a plurality of the votes. This is one of several voting rules. Others include majority, super majority, and unanimity.

point elasticity – The relatively responsiveness of a change in one variable (call it B) to an infinitesimally small change in another variable (call it A). The notion of point elasticity typically comes into play when discussing the elasticity at a specific point on a curve.< P>Point elasticity can be calculated in a number of different ways. Sophisticated economists, using sophisticated mathematical techniques (better known as calculus) can calculate point elasticity by taking derivatives of equations. Derivatives is fancy calculus talk for infinitesimally small changes.

policies – Government actions designed to affect economic activity and pursue one or more economic goals. Also called government or economic policies. The four common types of policies are: fiscal, monetary, regulatory, and judicial.

policy lags – A series of lags between the onset of an economic problem, such as business-cycle contraction, and the full impact of the policy designed to correct the problem, such as expansionary fiscal or monetary policy. Policy lags can take several years and are one of the key arguments against discretionary policies and for reliance on self correction and automatic stabilizers. Policy lags are often divided into inside lags, the time between the shock and the corrective policy, and outside lags, the time between the corrective policy and full impact on the economy.

political business cycle – The notion that a business cycle is caused by elected government leaders who manipulate the economy to achieve personal political goals — that is, to remain in office. The leaders stimulate the economy leading up to an election, creating a business-cycle expansion that ensures (they hope) their re-election, then induce a business-cycle contraction after the election to correct problems created by pre-election stimulation.

political forces – Forces in the marketing environment that are shaped by elected (and sometimes appointed) officials that impact the decisions made by a business organization. Government officials can enact laws that could cause serious harm to specific business sectors. For example, a state that passes laws prohibiting off-shore drilling would dramatically affect an oil drilling company’s business outlook. Through environmental scanning a business looks at these political forces that might affect them in the short and long term.

political philosophies – The range of philosophical orientations that people have about politics, especially concerning the role of government. While a wide range of differing opinions exist, most tend to fall on a spectrum bound by liberal views on one end and conservative views on the other. Liberals tend to favor a larger role of government and conservatives tend to favor a smaller role.

pollution – Any waste that imposes an opportunity cost when it’s returned to the natural environment. Pollution is one of the more prevalent examples of an externality cost and market failure. Examples include, but by no means are limited to, car exhaust, municipal sewage, industrial waste, and agricultural chemical runoff from farms. Pollution waste can be classified as degradable, persistent, or nondegradable, depending on how easily it can be broken down into nonharmful form by the natural environment. Pollution problems can never be eliminated, but they can be handled with efficiency if the amount of pollution is such that the cost of damages is the same as the cost of cleanup.

pollution rights market – A market-based system for the exchange of permits or “rights” to release pollution residuals into the environment. These pollution permits would be bought and sold in an organized market not unlike the stock market. Prices would vary according to the forces of supply and demand, allowing individual participants to buy and sell based on their particular circumstances. The total number of permits would be based on the amount of permissible pollution residuals that can be safely released into the environment during a given period of time. These permits could be given away or auction off to potential polluters.

pollution types – Pollution residuals fall into one of three categories–degradable, nondegradeable, and persistent. Damage done by each type, and thus external cost, typically varies. At one extreme are degradable residuals and at the other are nondegradable. In the middle are persistent residuals.

portfolio investment – The acquisition of financial assets (which includes stock, bonds, deposits, and currencies) from one country in another country. In contrast to foreign direct investment, which is the acquisition of controlling interest in foreign firms and businesses, portfolio investment is foreign investment into the stock markets. Most economists consider foreign direct investment more useful than portfolio investment since this last one is generally regarded as temporal and can leave the foreign country at the first sign of trouble.

positive economics – The branch of economics that tries to explain the way the economy actually operates. It is the application of the scientific method and the process of testing hypothesis. A positive statement can be refuted by looking at the real world, that is testing hypotheses. Positive economics is the consequence of applying the scientific method to economic phenomena. This term should be compared and contrasted with normative economics, which says the way the world should be.

positive relation – A relation, either a principle or hypothesis, in which an increase one variable is associated with an increase in the other variable. A positive, or direct, relation is most commonly illustrated by an upward sloping line. It can also be represented by an equation in which the slope value is positive.

potential gross domestic product – The total output that the economy could produce if resources were at full employment. If the economy is at full employment (a 5 percent unemployment rate) then actual gross domestic product is equal to potential gross domestic product. Of course, if the unemployment rate is greater than 5 percent, then actual production is less potential production. By calculating potential gross domestic product, we can figure out exactly how far below this potential we are. This information then can be used by the pointy-headed government economists to recommend appropriate monetary or fiscal policies.

potential real gross domestic product – The total real output (real gross domestic product) that the economy could produce if resources are fully employed. In other words, the economy is operating ON the production possibilities frontier. Full employment is generally indicated by achieving what is termed the natural unemployment rate, which is an unemployment rate in the neighborhood of about 5%. If the economy is at full employment then actual gross domestic product is equal to potential gross domestic product and the actual unemployment rate is equal to the natural unemployment rate. The macroeconomy is thus living up to its potential, at least in terms of producing wants-and-needs satisfying goods and services.

poverty – A condition in which a person lacks many of the basic necessities of life and the income needed to buy them. If these seems like a fuzzy concept, it is. Poverty is often a subjective notion, because the notion of basic necessities is also subjective. While everyone needs food for life, will a handful of wild grain do the trick or do you need an evening of fine dining? While there are no once-and-for-all, clear-cut answers, our good friends with the government have developed a so-called poverty line used as an official measure of who’s in poverty and who’s not. Most importantly, this poverty line is used to determine who’s eligible to receive welfare and other forms of public assistance.

poverty line – The official measure of the income needed by a family based on family size, location, and characteristics of the head of the household. The official U.S. poverty line is based on more of a relative poverty level rather than an absolute poverty level. For example, a family of two living in a rural area would need a different amount of money to stay above the official poverty line that would a family of four living in a city.

poverty rate – The proportion of the population that lies beneath the official poverty line. For example, if the total population of the country is 270 million, and 40 million have incomes placing them below the official poverty line, then the poverty rate is 14.8%.

PPC – The abbreviation for production possibilities curve, which is a curve that illustrates the production possibilities for the economy. A production possibilities curve represents the boundary or frontier of the economy’s production capabilities. That’s why it’s also frequently termed a production possibilities frontier (or PPF). As a frontier, it is the maximum production possible given existing (fixed) resources and technology. Producing on the curve means resources are fully employed, while producing inside the curve means resources are unemployed. The law of increasing opportunity cost is what gives the curve its distinctive convex shape.

PPF – The abbreviation for production possibilities frontier, which is a curve that illustrates the production possibilities for the economy. A production possibilities frontier represents the boundary or frontier of the economy’s production capabilities. That’s why it’s termed a production possibilities frontier (or PPF). As a frontier, it is the maximum production possible given existing (fixed) resources and technology. Producing on the curve means resources are fully employed, while producing inside the curve means resources are unemployed. The law of increasing opportunity cost is what gives the curve its distinctive convex shape.

PPI – The abbreviation for Producer Price Index, which is an index of the prices domestic producers receive from selling their output. THE Producer Price Index is actually one of several producer price indexes compiled and published monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). THE Producer Price Index reported regularly in the media is actually the Producer Price Index for All Commodities. Other members in the family of producer price indexes include an array of broad, composite indexes (including finished consumer goods, capital goods, and crude materials); indexes that track the prices received by producers in virtually every major production industry in the country (including lumber, iron and steel, household furniture, and passenger cars); and price indexes for thousands of specific products. In total, the producer price index family includes well over 10,000 separate indexes.

predatory pricing – The process in which a firm with market control reduces prices below average total cost with the goal of forcing competitors into bankruptcy. This practice is most commonly undertaken by oligopoly firms seeking to expand their market shares and gain greater market control. Predatory price has been outlawed by antitrust laws, but it can be difficult to prove, and is thus likely exists more than most people think.

preferences – One of the five demand determinants assumed constant when a demand curve is constructed, and that shift the demand curve when they change. The other four are income, other prices, buyers’ expectations, and number of buyers. This determinant comes directly form the WILLINGNESS aspect of demand. Before you can have a demand for a good, you must be willing to have the good, you must have a preference for it. In general, if buyers have a greater preference for a good, then they buy more of the good.

utility analysis preferences change – A disruption of consumer equilibrium identified with utility analysis caused by changes in the preferences for a good, which likely results in a change in the quantities of the goods consumed. The change in preferences alters the marginal utility-price ratio and forces a reevaluation of the rule of consumer equilibrium.

preferred stock – The ownership shares in a corporation that have legal claim to the corporation’s assets. Stock is usually dividend into two types, common stock and preferred stock. Preferred stock has first claim to the corporations net assets, and common stock comes in second. However, if a corporation has no preferred stock, the common stock has exclusive claim. Most stocks are negotiable and are traded one on a stock market.

premium – In financial terms, a bond or similar financial asset that sells above its face value. A premium is paid to equalize a bond’s interest rate with comparable interest rates. For example, a $100,000 bond that pays a fixed 10 percent interest on the face value ($10,000) would be sell at a premium of $125,000 if comparable interest rates were 8 percent. As such, the $10,000 interest works out to be 8 percent of the $125,000 price.

present value – The amount of money today that, after interest is added, would have the same value as an amount some time in the future. For example, $100 today, given a 10 percent interest rate, would have a value of $110 in one year ($100 plus $10 in interest). Conversely, $110 in one year, given a 10 percent interest rate, would be equivalent to $100 today. The process of translating a future payment into its present value, such an amount to be received when a bond reaches its date of maturity, is often termed discounting.

price – An asset or item voluntarily exchanged in a market transaction for another asset or item. This item or asset is usually, but not necessarily, money. A barter transaction occurs if money is NOT one of the assets or items exchanged. In a standard market diagram, price is displayed on the vertical axis. Price takes on several specific roles in the functioning of a market. On the demand side, the price reflects the willingness and ability of the buyers to purchase a product which is based on the satisfaction received (the demand price). On the supply side, the price reflects the opportunity cost of production (the supply price). Also the variable in the marketing mix where the organization establishes product positioning objectives. These could be low end to capture more market share or high end to differentiate based on perceived product quality and scarcity. Pricing is based on market research to establish what customer wants and needs are in exchange for valued compensation, typically money or bartering.

price ceiling – A legally established maximum price. The government is occasionally inclined to keep the price of one good or another from rising too high. Examples include apartments, gasoline, and natural gas. While the goal is invariably a noble one–like keeping stuff affordable for poor people–a price ceiling often does more harm than good. First, it usually creates a shortage, meaning that many of the buyers who being protected against high prices, can’t even buy the good. Second, as a consequence of this shortage, a price ceiling is likely to generate a black market where the good is sold illegally above the price ceiling.

utility analysis price change – A disruption of consumer equilibrium identified with utility analysis caused by changes in the price of a good, which likely results in a change in the quantities of the goods consumed. The change in the price alters the marginal utility-price ratio and forces a reevaluation of the rule of consumer equilibrium.

price controls – Government intervention in markets in which legal restrictions are placed on the prices charged. The two basic types of price controls are price ceilings and price floors. Price ceilings are maximum prices set below the equilibrium price. Price floors are minimum prices set above the equilibrium price. Price controls imposed on an otherwise efficient and competitive market create imbalances (shortages or surpluses) which cause inefficiency. However, imposing price controls on a market that fails to achieve efficiency (due to market control, externalities, or imperfect information) can actual improve efficiency. Price controls have also be used economy-wide in an attempt to reduce inflation.

price discrimination – Charging different prices to different buyers for the same good. This is an age old practice for suppliers who have achieved some degree of market control, especially those with a monopoly. The reason for price discrimination, of course, is higher profit. To be a successful price discriminator you must be able to do three things–(1) have market control and be a price maker, (2) identify two or more groups that are willing to pay different prices, and (3) keep the buyers in one group from reselling the good to another group. In this way, you will be able to charge each group what they, and they alone, are willing to pay.

price elasticity of demand – The relative response of a change in quantity demanded to a relative change in price. More specifically the price elasticity of demand can be defined as the percentage change in quantity demanded due to a percentage change in demand price. The price elasticity of demand should be compared with the price elasticity of supply.

price elasticity of supply – The relative response of a change in quantity supplied to a relative change in price. More specifically the price elasticity of supply can be defined as the percentage change in quantity supplied due to a percentage change in supply price. The price elasticity of supply should be contrasted with the price elasticity of demand.

price fixing – An agreement by two or more firms in an industry to charge the same price and avoid competing with each other. This is one of the methods businesses use to practice collusion or form a cartel. It is, by the way, against antitrust law.

price flexibility – The proposition that prices adjust in the long run in response to market shortages or surpluses. This condition is most important for long-run macroeconomic activity and long-run aggregate market analysis. Price flexibility ensures that long-run aggregate production is equal to full-employment production. In particular, changes in the price level are met by equal changes in resource prices, especially wages. A higher or lower price level might temporarily lead to an increase or decrease in real production, above or below the full employment level, but in the long run, resource prices adjust and full-employment production is maintained.

price floor – A legally established minimum price. Pressured by special interest groups, our beloved government is often convinced that the price of a good needs to be kept at a higher level. Examples of goods that have had price floors bestowed upon them include farm products and workers. The argument in both of these examples is that suppliers aren’t getting enough income for the stuff they sell (food or labor). A higher price is then expected to generate more income to these deserving souls. Unfortunately, price floors tend to create as many or more problems than they solve. They create inefficient surpluses.

price index – A measure of the average of a group of prices calculated as a ratio to prices in a given time period (that is, a base year). A price index is primarily used to compare relative prices, or changes in the group prices over time. Such an index is a handy indicator of overall price trends. Two common price indexes that surface in the study of macroeconomics are the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the GDP price deflator, both used to indicate the macroeconomy’s average price level and the inflation rate. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (the Dow), Standard & Poor’s 500, and the NASDAQ are well-known indexes of stock market prices.

price leadership – A method used by a group of firms in the same market (typically oligopoly firms) in which one firm takes the lead in setting or changing prices, with other firms then following behind. The lead firm is often the largest firm in the industry, but it could be a smaller firm that has just historically assumed the role of price leader perhaps because it is more aware of changing market conditions. While price leadership is totally legal, it could be a sign of collusion, particular implicit collusion, in which the firms have effectively monopolized the market.

price level – The average of the prices of goods and services produced in the aggregate economy. In a theoretical sense, the price level is the price of aggregate production. In a practical sense, the price level is measured by either of two price indexes, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the GDP price deflator. The CPI is the price index widely publicized in the media and used by the general public. The GDP price deflator, in contrast, is less well-known, but is usually the price index of choice among economists. The inflation rate is calculated as the percentage change in the price level.

price maker – A buyer or seller that possess sufficient market control to affect the price of the good. Price market should be compared with the alternative, price taker. From the selling side of the market, a monopoly is the best example of a price maker. As the only seller in the market, a monopoly firm has the ability to control the price. Firms operating under oligopoly and monopolistic competition are also price makers, although to a lesser degree, depending on their relative market control. From the buying side of the market, a monopsony is also a price maker. As the only buyer in the market, a monopsony firm is able to control the price. Firms operating under oligopsony and monopsonistic competition are price makers, also to a lesser degree.

price rationing – The distribution or allocation of a limited commodity using markets and prices. Rationing is needed due to the scarcity problem. Because wants and needs are unlimited, but resources are limited, available commodities must be rationed out to competing uses. Markets ration commodities by limiting the purchase only to those buyers willing and able to pay the price.

price regulation – Government oversight or direct government control over the price charged in a market, especially by a firm with market control. Price regulation is most commonly used for public utilities characterized as natural monopolies. If allowed to maximize profit without restraint, the price charged would exceed marginal cost and production would be inefficient. However, because such firms, as public utilities, produce output that is deemed essential or critical for the public, government steps in to regulate or control the price. The two most common methods of price regulation are marginal-cost pricing and average-cost pricing.

price rigidity – The proposition that some prices adjust slowly in response to market shortages or surpluses. This condition is most important for macroeconomic activity in the short run and short-run aggregate market analysis. In particular, rigid (also termed inflexible or sticky) prices are a key reason underlying the positive slope of the short-run aggregate supply curve. Prices tend to be the most rigid in resource markets, especially labor markets, and the least rigid in financial markets, with product markets falling somewhere in between.

price stability – The condition in which the average price level in the economy does not change or changes very slowly. This is a key part of the macroeconomic goal of stability (the other two are full employment and growth). Price stability is commonly indicated by the inflation rate, calculated as percentage changes in either the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the GDP price deflator. However, price stability is more generally the ABSENCE of large or rapid increases or decreases in the price level.

price taker – A buyer or seller that possess so little market power that it has no control over the price of the good, it must “take” or accept the going market price. The market structure widely populated with a bunch of powerless price takers is perfect competition. You should compare this term with price maker. Other related terms worth a look are price leader, natural monopoly, regulatory pricing.

price-cost margin – The difference between price (p) and marginal cost (mc) as a fraction of price, that is [p-mc]/p. The price-cost margin is usually taken as an indicator of market power because the larger the margin, the larger the difference between price and marginal cost, that is, the larger the distance between the price and the competitive price. The price-cost margin depends on the elasticity of demand. The price-cost margin is also called the Lerner index of market power.

price-earnings ratio – The ratio of the current price for one share of corporate stock to the earnings (profit) per share of stock. This is used by many financial analysts and investors as an indicator of a company’s performance and potential for future growth. A relatively high price-earnings ratio suggests that investors think the company has a great deal of future growth potential. It can also be a sign, however, that the company is seriously overpriced and due for a big drop.

prime rate – The interest rate banks charge their best, most credit-worthy customers. This is one of the key interest rates in the economy, and it is watched closely by financial types, government policy makers, and businesses. It’s also an interest rate that should be watched closely by consumers who have loans with adjustable rates, like credit cards, that are “pegged” to the prime rate. Any movement in the prime rate triggers an automatic change in these adjustable rates.

principal-agent problem – A source of inefficiency in the way large businesses and governments are operated that occurs because those making decisions (agents) have different goals than those affected by the decisions (principals).

principle – A generally accepted, verified, fundamental law of nature. Principles have been tested and verified through the scientific method. As a house is constructed from concrete, lumber, and nails, a theory is constructed from principles. To be a fundamental law of nature, a principle must capture a cause-and-effect relationship about the workings of the world. One example might be something like, “people seek the greatest benefit at the lowest cost.” The scientific method is essentially the process of building theories by identifying and verifying these fundamental laws of nature.

principle of median location – A basic principle of location theory stating that an activity will select the median or middle point of location when selling an output to, or buying an input from, activities located a disperse points. In particular, this analysis indicates that the activity will locate at the median point, with an equal number of attraction points in any direction, rather than the arithmetic average of the distances to all points. The analysis imposes several restrictive assumptions, including a trip to each location, the same transit cost per mile to each location, the same quantity of output sold to, or input purchased from, each location. The principle of median voter is a similar principle that has been developed in the public choice study of voting behavior.

principle of minimum differences – A principle stating that monopolistically competitive firms seek to maintain similarities between products at the same time they promote differences. Similarities enable substitutability, such that one firm can attract the buyers away from other firms. Differences enable uniqueness and market control, such that each firm has market control and is able to charge a higher price than achieved with perfect competition. This principle is also termed Hotelling’s paradox.

principle of the median voter – A voting principle stating that the median voter determines the outcome of an election governed by majority rule. The median voter is the one with an equal number of voters on either side of the vote. As such, the vote cast by THE median voter is the deciding or majority vote. However, this median voter’s preference might not generate the best, that is, efficient, result.

print and mint – A handy phrase for one method of controlling the money supply — printing paper currency and minting metal coins. This was the method commonly used by governments BEFORE checkable deposits became a significant share of the money supply. In modern times the total quantity of money in circulation is controlled by controlling bank reserves and money creation process of banks. The print and mint method is largely used just to “fill in the gaps” and when the nonbank public decides to transfer money from checkable deposits to currency and coins.

printers union – This craft union among printers created in 1852 was the first permanent national union in the United States. While labor unions had be legal since the Commonwealth versus Hunt decision in 1842, most unions were craft unions and limited to labor markets in specific cities. The shoemakers union in Boston was unrelated to the shoemakers union in Philadelphia. The printers union was the first of several national craft unions established in the ensuing decade. As a national union, it controlled significantly more labor and thus exerted greater market control.

prisoners’ dilemma – An application of game theory analysis in which two prisoners both confess to a crime to avoid harsher punishment when not confessing would avoid any punishment. The dilemma emerges because both prisoners are faced with the same choice — confess or not confess — but the outcome their choice depends on the choice made by the other prisoner. Unfortunately neither prisoner knows the choice of the other. If neither confesses, then they receive no punishment. If both confess, then they receive limited punishment, such as a year in jail. However, if one confesses and the other doesn’t, the confessor receives light punishment, such as six months in jail, and the non confessor receives more severe punishment, such as five years in jail. The result is that both prisoners confess.

private good – A good that’s easy to keep nonpayers from consuming (called excludability), and use of the good by one person prevents use by others (termed rival consumption). Examples include almost anything that you can buy at a grocery store or shopping mall. The reason for this is that private goods are privately owned and can be sold to others for a price. For efficiency, its best for these goods to be traded through markets without any direct government involvement (unless they have a market failure). See common-property good, near-public good, public good.

private property – A fundamental economic institution in which resources (property) are owned and controlled by households and businesses (the private sector) rather than government (the public sector). Private property provides critical incentives for the efficient operation of competitive market and a market-oriented economy. Under private-property ownership, control over resources is relinquished (that is sold) when the owners are compensated for their opportunity costs. And this is just the sort of thing that leads to an efficient use of resources.

private sector – A short-cut term that combines the households and businesses in the economy into a single group. This term should be contrasted directly with public sector, which is a comparable short-cut term for government. The distinction between private sector and public sector reflects the two basic methods of answering the three questions of allocation–markets and government. Markets make use of private ownership and control of resources (hence the term “private” sector) for voluntary allocation decisions.

privatization – The process of converting or “selling off” government-owned assets, properties, or production activities to private ownership. After several decades of increasing government control over productive activities, privatization came into vogue in the 1980s, along with business deregulation and an overall movement toward greater use of markets.

Producer Price Index – An index of the prices domestic producers receive from selling their output. THE Producer Price Index, abbreviated PPI, is actually one of several producer price indexes compiled and published monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). THE Producer Price Index reported regularly in the media is actually the Producer Price Index for All Commodities. Other members in the family of producer price indexes include an array of broad, composite indexes (including finished consumer goods, capital goods, and crude materials); indexes that track the prices received by producers in virtually every major production industry in the country (including lumber, iron and steel, household furniture, and passenger cars); and price indexes for thousands of specific products. In total, the producer price index family includes well over 10,000 separate indexes.

producer surplus – The revenue that producers obtain from selling a good over and above the opportunity cost of production. This is the difference between the minimum supply price that sellers would be willing to accept and the price that is actually received. For most producers, under most circumstances, the supply price is less than the price received. Even competitive markets overflowing with efficiency generate an ample amount of producer surplus.

product – A generic term for a tangible good, an intangible service, or an idea. This is the “output” of any production process. The product is also one variable of the marketing mix. Products are classified as consumer or business. Consumer products can be convenience, shopping, specialty, or unsought. Business products are raw materials, components, installation, equipment, accessories, and MRO type items.

product differentiation – Real of perceive differences among similar goods that prompt buyers to pay different prices. Product differentiation is a method used by some firms to achieve market control. The three methods of product differentiation are physical differences, perceived differences, and support services. The greater the differentiation is among products, then the more ability firms have to exert control over prices. Product differentiation is perhaps most important for market control by firms in monopolistic competition, but it also plays a role in oligopoly.

product life cycle – The four stages that a product experiences during its life, usually illustrated with a curve. All products have a limited life expectancy. Some are very short, like the Beta Recording Systems, and some are very lengthy, like the television. The four stages are introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. Each stage has certain characteristics associated with it. The way a business handles each stage determines the long-term viability of the product. An example: During the introduction stage: costs are high, customer familiarity with the product is low, profits are generally non-existent, and competition is limited, if at all. If the business does not deal with these conditions properly, the product may never reach the growth stage.

product market – A market used to exchange a final good or service. Product markets exchange consumer goods purchased by the household sector, capital investment goods purchased by the business sector, and goods purchased by government and foreign sectors. A product market, however, does NOT include the exchange of raw materials, scarce resources, factors of production, or any type of intermediate goods. The total value of goods exchanged in product markets each year is measured by gross domestic product. The demand side of product markets includes consumption expenditures, investment expenditures, government purchases, and net exports. The supply side of product markets is production of the business sector.

product markets – Markets used to exchange final good or service. Product markets exchange consumer goods purchased by the household sector, capital investment goods purchased by the business sector, and goods purchased by government and foreign sectors. A product market, however, does NOT include the exchange of raw materials, scarce resources, factors of production, or any type of intermediate goods. The total value of goods exchanged in product markets each year is measured by gross domestic product. The demand side of product markets includes consumption expenditures, investment expenditures, government purchases, and net exports. The supply side of product markets is production of the business sector.

product quality – That characteristic of a product or service that satisfies the customer’s wants and needs in exchange for monetary considerations. If the consumer is satisfied that he/she had a fair exchange, then the quality is acceptable. A perception of high quality or that which is above expectations can help to create high brand loyalty and in turn helps create brand equity for the company. If a consumer buys Maytag washers due to past exceptional service, then this quality level has helped create brand loyalty.

production – The process of transforming the natural resources of the land into consumer satisfying consumption and capital goods using scarce resources. In a world of scarcity, with unlimited wants and needs and limited resources, living standards are enhanced by transforming the planet’s raw materials, that don’t provide much satisfaction in their natural state, into goods, that provide more satisfaction.

production cost – The opportunity cost of using labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship in the production of goods and services. Production cost is important to supply. The price received by a seller must be great enough to cover production cost. Note that production cost includes what you probably think of as the traditional “cost of doing business,” but it includes other less obvious costs, as well. While labor, capital, and land typically involve an explicit cost–an actual money payment–the cost of entrepreneurship is often an implicit cost. In particular, the cost of entrepreneurship is termed normal profit.

production function – A mathematical relation between the production of a good or service and the inputs used. A production function is usually expressed in this general form: Q = f(L, K), where Q = quantity of production output, L = quantity of labor input, and K = quantity of capital input.

production inputs – The resources, or factors of production, used in the production of output by a firm. This term is most frequently associated with the analysis of short-run production, and is often modified by the terms fixed and variable, as in fixed input and variable input. The quantity of a variable input can be changed in the short run and the quantity of a fixed input cannot be changed.

production possibilities – The alternative combinations of goods produced if the economy fully uses all available resources. Production possibilities of an economy are limited because resources used to produce goods and services are limited. The basic presentation of production possibilities often takes the form of a production possibilities schedule, which is a table of numbers illustrating a discrete number of production bundles. A slightly more advanced presentation is through a production possibilities curve (or frontier), which is a graph of the alternative production bundles.

production possibilities curve – A curve that illustrates the production possibilities for the economy. A production possibilities curve (or PPC), like the one presented here, represents the boundary or frontier of the economy’s production capabilities. That’s why it’s also frequently termed a production possibilities frontier (or PPF). As a frontier, it is the maximum production possible given existing (fixed) resources and technology. Producing on the curve means resources are fully employed, while producing inside the curve means resources are unemployed. The law of increasing opportunity cost is what gives the curve its distinctive convex shape.

production possibilities frontier – A curve that illustrates the production possibilities for the economy. A production possibilities curve (or PPC), like the one presented here, represents the boundary or frontier of the economy’s production capabilities. That’s why it’s termed a production possibilities frontier (or PPF). As a frontier, it is the maximum production possible given existing (fixed) resources and technology. Producing on the curve means resources are fully employed, while producing inside the curve means resources are unemployed. The law of increasing opportunity cost is what gives the curve its distinctive convex shape.

production possibilities schedule – A table of numbers that illustrates the production possibilities of an economy–the alternative combinations of two goods that an economy can produce with given resources and technology. A production possibilities schedule illustrates that the economy must give up the production of one good to produce of another good–the basic economic notion of opportunity cost. A production possibilities schedule is also used to derive the highly useful production possibilities curve (or frontier)

production stages – The three stages of production are characterized by the slope and shape of the total product curve. The first stage is characterized by an increasingly positive slope, the second stage by a decreasingly positive slope, and the third stage by a negative slope. Because the slope of the total product curve IS marginal product, these three stages are also seen with marginal product. In Stage I, marginal product is positive and increasing. In Stage II, marginal product is positive, but decreasing. And in Stage III, marginal product is negative.

production time periods – Alternative time periods used to differentiate between variable inputs and fixed inputs that are key to the analysis of short-run production and long-run production by a firm. The two primary time periods are short run and long run. Two secondary periods are very short run (market period) and very long run. Time periods are specified based on the number of inputs that are fixed or variable.

profit – As a generic term, this is the difference between revenue and cost. There are, however, three specific sorts of profit, each with a different meaning. Accounting profit is the difference between revenue and accounting expenses. Economic profit is the difference between revenue and the opportunity cost of production. Normal profit is the economic profit that could be earned by an entrepreneur in another business and is thus an opportunity cost deducted from revenue when calculating economic profit.

profit and loss statement – A statement of the revenues, expenditures, and profit for a business, household, or government entity over a given period of time. An income statement also goes by the names income statement, earnings report, and operating statement. This is one of two key financial statements for an entity. The other is a balance sheet, which is a statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth at a given point in time.

profit curve – A curve that graphically represents the relation between economic profit earned by a firm and the quantity of output sold. This curve is constructed to capture the relation between profit and the level of output, holding other variables, especially those affecting the total revenue and total cost curves, constant. This is one of three methods typically used to determine the profit-maximizing quantity of output produced by a firm. The other two methods are total revenue and total cost and marginal revenue and marginal cost.

monopolistic competition profit curve – A profit-maximizing monopolistically competitive firm produces output where economic profit is the greatest. A profit curve graphically represents the relation between economic profit earned by a monopolistically competitive firm and the quantity of output sold. The profit curve can be derived directly from a table of profit and output quantity numbers. However, it is frequently obtained from a graph of the total revenue and total cost curves. The nice thing about a profit curve is that it clearly illustrates the quantity of output which maximizes a firm’s economic profit.

monopoly profit curve – A profit-maximizing monopoly firm produces output where economic profit is the greatest. A profit curve graphically represents the relation between economic profit earned by a monopoly firm and the quantity of output sold. This curve is constructed to capture the relation between profit and the level of output, holding other variables, especially those affecting the total revenue and total cost curves, constant. This is one of three methods typically used to determine the profit-maximizing quantity of output produced by a firm. The other two methods are total revenue and total cost and marginal revenue and marginal cost.

profit maximization – The process of obtaining the highest possible level of profit through the production and sale of goods and services. The profit-maximization assumption is the guiding principle underlying short-run production by a firm. In particular, it is assumed that firms undertake actions and make the decisions that increase profit. The profit-maximization assumption is the production counterpart to the utility-maximization assumption for consumer behavior.

monopolistic competition profit maximization – The marginal revenue and marginal cost approach to analyzing a monopolistically competitive firm’s short-run production decision can be used to identify economic profit. The U-shaped cost curves used in this analysis provides all of the information needed on the cost side of the firm’s decision. The demand curve facing the firm (which is also the firm’s average revenue curve) and the firm’s marginal revenue curve provides the information needed on the revenue side.

monopoly profit maximization – The marginal revenue and marginal cost approach to analyzing a monopoly firm’s short-run production decision can be used to identify economic profit. The U-shaped cost curves used in this analysis provides all of the information needed on the cost side of the firm’s decision. The demand curve facing the firm (which is also the firm’s average revenue curve) and the firm’s marginal revenue curve provides the information needed on the revenue side.

progressive tax – A tax in which people with more income pay a larger percentage in taxes. A progressive tax is given by this example — You earn $10,000 a year and your boss gets $20,000. You pay $1,000 in taxes (10 percent) and your boss pays $4,000 in taxes (20 percent). Our income tax system is designed to be progressive, but assorted loopholes and deductions keep it from being as progressive in practice as it is on paper.

promissory note – A written agreement to pay a specific amount of money at a specific time to a specific person with a specific interest rate charged until repayment is accomplished. Promissory notes are the most common method of formalizing consumer loan contracts. If you’ve borrowed the money needed to buy a house or car, then you’ve undoubtedly signed a promissory note. Promissory notes are also frequently used by businesses and government to borrow funds.

promotion – Sometimes referred to as the promotion mix, the variable of the marketing mix focusing on 4 elements: advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, and public relations. Promotion is that part of the mix that communicates the company, brand, and availability of the product to the target market. Organizations donÕt necessarily use all of the 4 elements.

propensity-to-consume line – A graphical depiction of the relation between household consumption expenditures and household disposable income that forms one of the key building blocks for Keynesian economics. The slope of this line is positive, greater than zero, less than one, and goes by the name marginal propensity to consume. The vertical intercept of the propensity-to-consume line is autonomous consumption. The aggregate expenditures line used in the Keynesian cross is obtained by adding investment, government purchases, and net exports to the propensity-to-consume line. Because saving is the difference between disposable income and consumption, the propensity-to-save line is a complementary relation to the propensity-to-consume line.

propensity-to-save line – A graphical depiction of the relation between household saving and household disposable income. The slope of this line is positive, greater than zero, less than one, and goes by the name marginal propensity to save. The vertical intercept of the propensity-to-save line is autonomous saving. The saving and investment, or leakage and injection, analysis used in Keynesian economics begins with the propensity-to-save line. Because consumption is the difference between disposable income and saving, the propensity-to-consume line is a complementary relation to the propensity-to-save line.

property rights – The legal ownership of resources, which entitles the owner to receive the benefits or pay the cost of the resources’ productive activities. The notion of property rights came originally from the ownership of land (and the natural resources of the land), but it’s equally important for labor and capital resources. In other words, your labor ownership gives you the right to be paid a wage for your work.

property tax – A tax on property. This is a popular tax at the local level for cities, counties, and school districts. In many places it has been a primary source of funding for public schools. Because this invariably leads to tremendous differences in school funding, with wealthy areas getting the most funding, schools have moved toward income taxes and sales taxes for revenue.

proportional tax – A tax in which people pay the same percentage of income in taxes regardless of their incomes. Here’s an example of a proportional tax — You earn $10,000 a year and your boss gets $20,000. You pay $1,000 in taxes (10 percent) and your boss pays $2,000 in taxes (10 percent). While a proportional tax would seem to make a lot of sense, very few taxes are designed to be proportional and even fewer come out that way in practice. The reason is often attributable to the ongoing battle between the second and third estates. Each side wants the other to pay a larger share of taxes.

proprietors’ income – The excess of revenue over explicit production cost of owner-operated businesses. While proprietorships are the namesake and most important contributory to proprietors’ income, many partnerships are also included. Because proprietors or partners of owner-operated businesses generally supply several factors of production–labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship–without explicitly paying for each factor separately, the income received by the owners usually include wage, interest, rent, and profit payments. However, in most it’s virtually impossible to identify what portion of the owners income is payment for each factor, so they are combined as proprietors’ income.

proprietorship – One of the three basic forms of business organization (the other two corporation and partnership). It’s a business that’s owned and operated by one person. The owner and the business are legally considered one and the same. As such, the owner gets any and all profit and has what is termed unlimited liability the owner is held personally responsible for any and all of the business’s debts. The owner can lose personal property over and above the amount invested in the business itself. The majority of businesses in our economy are proprietorships, but because their size is limited by the resources of a single person, they tend to be relatively small.

prosperity – A period of sustained growth that often lasts for a decade or two. A prosperity usually includes several separate business cycles, each with relative mild recessions and very vigorous, healthy expansions. The United States enjoyed prosperity from the late-1940s into the mid-1960s, a period that many look fondly on as our “golden age.” The prosperity of this period, as is often the case, was the direct aftermath of a severe depression. In particular, the restructuring needed to achieve a period of extended prosperity was a hallmark of the Great Depression of the 1930s.

psychological influences – Several factors that are primarily behavior-based that affect a consumers decision making process. These factors are learning, perception, self-concept, attitudes, personality, and lifestyles. Through a combination of these various factors a consumer displays certain tendencies toward product, brands, services, and where they shop. A marketer researches the market to determine which group of targeted buyers would be the best fit for its products or services.

psychological law – A principle of consumption behavior proposed by John Maynard Keynes stating that people have the propensity to spend a large fraction, but not all, of any additional income received. This psychological law is a key principle reflected in the consumption-income relation and the marginal propensity to consume that underlie Keynesian economics.

public choice – A branch of economics that applies economic analysis to public (that is, government) decision-making, including voting behavior, legislative law-making, and related issues. Some of the more noted public choice principles include the voting paradox, logrolling, and the principle of the median voter.

public debt – The total amount of all government securities outstanding. This is also frequently termed the government debt.

public finance – The study of how the government (or public) sector pays for (or finances) expenditures through taxes and borrowing. Governments produce or provide valuable goods and services, such as education, security, and transportation. They pay for these goods by collecting taxes or, if taxes fall short, by borrowing through the financial markets. Public finance adapts and applies the fundamental microeconomic theory of markets to the public sector and government activity. In particular, this area of study analyzes the efficiency of taxes and the market failure of public goods. Public finance is also key to the study of government stabilization policies that address the inflation and unemployment problems of business cycles. In particular, fiscal policy is the manipulation of government expenditures and taxes to stabilize the business cycle.

public good – A good that’s difficult to keep nonpayers from consuming (excludability), and use of the good by one person doesn’t prevent use by others (rival consumption). Examples include national defense, a clean environment, and any fourth of July fireworks display. Public goods are invariably provided by government because there’s no way a private business can profitably produce them. Private businesses can’t sell public goods in markets, because they can’t charge a price and keep nonpaying people away. Moreover, businesses shouldn’t charge a price, because there’s no opportunity cost for extra consumers. For efficiency, government needs to pay for public goods through taxes.

public goods – Goods that are difficult to keep nonpayers from consuming (excludability), and use of the goods by one person doesn’t prevent use by others (rival consumption). Examples include national defense, a clean environment, and any fourth of July fireworks display. Public goods are invariably provided by government because there’s no way a private business can profitably produce them. Private businesses can’t sell public goods in markets, because they can’t charge a price and keep nonpaying people away. Moreover, businesses shouldn’t charge a price, because there’s no opportunity cost for extra consumers. For efficiency, government needs to pay for public goods through taxes.

public sector – A fancy-schmancy term for government, which for the United States includes all three levels–federal, state, and local. The term public sector is most useful as a contrast to the term private sector, which includes households and businesses.

public utilities – The common term for firms that provide important (what some deem as essential) goods and services primarily in urban areas and often through the use of an extensive distribution network. Common examples of public utilities are those that produce, provide, and/or distribute electricity, natural gas, local telephone services, cable television services, water, garbage collection, and sewage processing. A key feature is that capital requirements mean that public utilities tend to be natural monopolies. One firm can generally provide the services at a lower average cost that two or more firms. For this reason, public utilities tend to be either government owned and operated or heavily regulated by government.

public utility – The common term for a firm that provides and important (what some deem as essential) good or service primarily in and urban area and often through the use of an extensive distribution network. Common examples of public utilities are those that produce, provide, and/or distribute electricity, natural gas, local telephone services, cable television services, water, garbage collection, and sewage processing. A key feature is that capital requirements mean that public utilities tend to be natural monopolies. One firm can generally provide the services at a lower average cost that two or more firms. For this reason, public utilities tend to be either government owned and operated or heavily regulated by government.

purchasing power – In general the quantities of goods and services that can be bought with a given amount of money. The notable feature of purchasing power is that it declines as prices rise. In particular, inflation is the number one nemesis of purchasing power. When inflation gives higher prices, purchasing power falls. Be careful, though, that you don’t get too caught up in the purchasing power of just a single dollar. The real question is not how much stuff one dollar can buy, but how many dollars you have. In other words, while the price of a brand new car might have been $10 when you were a kid (in the good old days), the average annual income was also $20. That’s the same purchasing power as a $10,000 car price and a $20,000 income.

purchasing-power parity – The notion that the exchange rate between two currencies should reflect the relative prices of goods purchased in their respective countries. Suppose, for example, that sundials sell for $50 in the United States and 100 queolds in Northwest Queoldiola. Purchasing-power parity then exists if the exchange rate is 2 queolds per dollar. While this parity tends to hold for goods that enter the foreign trade game, it doesn’t necessarily hold for the many goods that are produced and consumed without ever crossing a national boundary. Nor does this parity exist if governments are manipulating exchange rates.

pure command economy – An economy in which the government makes all allocation decisions and answers all three questions of allocation. There are no markets. Government does it all. This is a theoretical ideal or extreme that does not actually exist in the real world. As a theoretical ideal, though, it does provide a benchmark that can be used for comparison with real world economic systems.

pure inflation – Inflation that occurs when all prices and nominal values in the economy increase by exactly the same percent. This is a theoretical technique used to analyze inflation and establish a benchmark for comparison, but is unlikely to occur in the real world. Pure inflation occurs, for example, if every product price, every factor price, and every asset valuated in nominal terms, increases by the same percent. The key conclusion is that pure inflation has absolutely no impact on the real economy. Whatever could be produced, consumed, or purchased before the pure inflation can also be produced, consumed, or purchased after.

pure market economy – An economy in which markets answer all allocation decisions and answers all three questions of allocation. There is no government. Markets do it all. This is a theoretical ideal or extreme that does not exist in the real world. As a theoretical ideal, though, it does provide a benchmark that can be used for comparison with real world economic systems.

quality of life – A common term used to indicate the overall level of well-being or welfare of a person or group of people, taking into account both monetary and non-monetary factors. This notion is theoretically synonymous with utility and the satisfaction of wants and needs. However, from a practical standpoint, attempts have been made to measure the quality of life, primarily as a means of comparison between communities. Quality of life measures are composite indexes based on monetary factors such as income, wages, living costs, and taxes, combined with non-monetary factors such as crime rate, air quality, and education level.

quantity – In a market, the amount of a good that is bought, sold, or traded among buyers and sellers. In a standard market diagram, quantity is displayed on the horizontal axis.

quantity demanded – The specific (maximum) quantity of a good or service that buyers are willing and able to buy at a specific demand price. The emphasis here is on specific. Quantity demanded and demand price form a specific pair of numbers.

quantity supplied – The specific (maximum) quantity of a good or service that sellers are willing and able to sell at a specific supply price. The emphasis here is on specific. Quantity supplied and supply price form a specific pair of numbers.

quantity theory of money – A theory that states a given percentage change in the money supply leads to an equal percentage change in nominal gross domestic product. This theory is derived from the equation of exchange and is a cornerstone of the monetarists view of macroeconomics. A key assumption in translating the equation of exchange to the quantity theory of money is that the velocity of money is constant (or unaffected by the other key variables–output, price level, and money supply).

quarter – The common term for a coin representing 25 cents or one-fourth of a dollar. Also a standard 3-month period, one-forth of a year, used for reporting economic and financial data. Gross Domestic Product and related measures are noted economic data released quarterly. Many businesses also provide quarterly financial reports. Another standard reporting period is annual.

quasi-public – A good or activity that is some, but not all characteristics of a public good or activity. The term quasi-public is often used in connection with business activities that are privately controlled, but which are authorized by government legislation. The Federal National Mortgage Association is one example. Quasi-public is also commonly used in reference to goods that have one but not both of the key characteristics of a public good–nonrival consumption or nonexcludability of nonpayers. Information are transportation examples of quasi-public goods in which nonpayers can be excluded from use (like a private good) but are nonrival in consumption (like a public good).

quasi-public corporation – A business activity that is privately controlled, but authorized by government legislation. The Federal National Mortgage Association is one example. Quasi-public corporations are set up when governments expand their activities and/or divest themselves of current government functions. Quasi-public corporations often result because governments seek to promote a particular activity, such as student loans, low cost home mortgages, or lotteries, but do not want the administrative burden.

quasi-public good – A good that is easy to keep nonpayers from consuming, but use of the good by one person does not prevent use by others. Also termed a near-public good,the trick with a quasi-public good is that it is easy to keep people away, and thus you can charge them a price for consuming, but there is no real good reason to do so. From an efficiency view, the more people who consume a quasi-public good, the better off society. This mixture of nearly unlimited benefits and the ability to charge a price means that some quasi-public goods are sold through markets and others are provided by government. For efficiency’s sake, none should be sold through markets.

quasi-rent – The payment that is received by a resource of production activity over the opportunity cost in the short run. The notion of quasi-rent is similar to economic rent, or economic profit, which is payment or revenue received over opportunity cost. The key difference is that quasi-rent is a short-run phenomenon. While quasi-rent is “extra” payment received in the short run, such payment might be essential to keep the resource or production activity in the long run. An example is the quasi-rent received due to the patent on a technological innovation. In the short run, the revenue received can be considered as profit in excess of the opportunity cost of production. However, in the long run this extra revenue motivates innovators to develop new technology. Without quasi-rent the innovations would not occur.

quota – A limit on the quantity of some sort of activity. Two of the more noted quotas are for employment and imports. Employment quotas have been used as a means of providing increased opportunities to blacks, hispanics, women, and other groups that have been historically subject to discrimination. Such quotas, however, tend to anger other groups, especially white males, who don’t get favorable treatment. While employment or similar anti-discrimination quota systems might help address historical problems, they are not without cost. In particular, our economy’s efficiency is likely to suffer if a less qualified member of an ethnic group is selected over someone who is more qualified. Import quotas have similar problems. They are one form of trade barriers that’s usually intended to reduce the competition faced by a domestic producer.

rate of return – The ratio of the additional annual income or profit generated by an investment to the cost of the investment. Here’s a simple example, although the calculations are usually a great deal more involved for actual investments. If the cost of constructing a new factory is $10 million and it gives you an extra $1 million in profit each year, then its rate of return is 10 percent.

rational abstention – The decision not to do something because the cost of doing it is more than the expected benefit. While this is a common part of everyday life, it’s particularly important for voting. During a given election, a number of potential voters are likely to chose NOT to vote because they expect to get little or no benefit from doing so.

rational behavior – The notion that people make decisions based on the desire to obtain the greatest amount of satisfaction. Rational behavior essential means that people prefer more to less. The presumption of rational behavior underlies most economic analyses, especially those applied to consumer demand theory.

rational ignorance – The decision not to become informed about something because the cost of doing it is more than the expected benefit. In that information is costly, there’s always some limit to how much anyone can know. The idea of rational ignorance, while popping up on a daily basis for most of us, is quite important come election time. Many voters decided, logically so, that it’s not really worth their efforts to get ALL of the details on every candidate and issue on the ballot.

rationing – The distribution or allocation of a limited commodity, usually accomplished based on a standard or criterion. The two primary methods of rationing are markets and governments. Rationing is needed due to the scarcity problem. Because wants and needs are unlimited, but resources are limited, available commodities must be rationed out to competing uses.

raw materials – The stuff used in the production of tangible products that become the tangible products. Raw materials, also shorted to just materials, are part of the land category of scarce resources. Space is also part of the land resource category. Another term that works as a synonym for materials is natural resources. Perhaps it’s obvious that without materials, there would be no tangible products.

real – The value after adjusting for inflation. Pointy-headed economist are frequently interested in comparing stuff (production, income, or whatever) in one year with similar stuff in another year. However, in that inflation can distort such a comparison, it’s best made using a fixed set of prices that eliminate inflationary changes. In practice, this is accomplished by using the prices in an arbitrary “base year.” Once the price differences have been eliminated, the numbers are said to be measured in real dollars.

real economy – The physical side of the economy dealing with goods, services and resources. This side is concerned with using resources to produce the goods and services that make the satisfaction of wants and needs possible. This should be contrasted with the paper economy, or financial side of the economy.

real GDP – The total market value, measured in constant prices, of all goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually one year. The key is that real gross domestic product is measured in constant prices, the prices for a specific base year. Real gross domestic product, also termed constant gross domestic product, adjusts gross domestic product for inflation. You might want to compare real gross domestic product with the related term nominal GDP.

real gross domestic product – The total market value, measured in constant prices, of all goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually one year. The key is that real gross domestic product is measured in constant prices, the prices for a specific base year. Real gross domestic product, also termed constant gross domestic product, adjusts gross domestic product for inflation. You might want to compare real gross domestic product with the related term nominal gross domestic product.

real interest rate – The market, or nominal interest rate, after adjusting for inflation. This is the interest rate lenders receive and borrowers pay expressed in real dollars. There two ways to think about the real interest rate, (1) the historical, after-the-fact, interest rate and (2) the desired interest rate lenders and borrowers have in mind when entering into a loan. The first one tells us the purchasing power of any interest payments received or paid. The second way of looking at the real interest rate is based on expectations of the future.

real production – The market value of all production measured in constant prices, after adjusting for inflation. Real production is typically measured with real GDP.

real purchasing power – The ability to acquire wants-and-needs satisfying goods and services with income or money. The real purchasing power of income or money depends on the prices of the goods and services. If the price level, for example, doubles, then a given amount of money can purchase half as many goods and services.

real wage – The inflation-adjusted purchasing power of the nominal wage. The real wage is commonly derived by dividing the nominal wage by the price level, indicates the physical quantities of goods and service that can be purchased with the nominal wage.

real-balance effect – A change in aggregate expenditures on real production made by the household, business, government, and foreign sectors that results because a change in the price level alters the purchasing power of money. This is one of three effects underlying the negative slope of the aggregate demand curve associated with a movement along the aggregate demand curve and a change in aggregate expenditures. The other two are interest-rate effect and net-export effect.

realism of monopoly – If taken to the extreme, monopoly, like perfect competition is an ideal market structure that does not actually exist in the real world. In the extreme, a “pure” monopoly is a market containing one and only ONE seller of good, a good with absolutely, positively no substitutes. The product is absolutely, certifiably unique. It’s not just that it has no CLOSE substitutes, it has NO substitutes. Period. End of story. In the real world, however, every product, no matter how seemingly unique it might appear, has substitutes. The substitutes might not be very close. They might be really, really bad substitutes. But they are substitutes. As such, there are no pure monopolies in the real world.

realism of perfect competition – Perfect competition is an idealized market structure that does NOT exist in the real world. While some real world industries might come relatively close to a one or two of the four key characteristics of perfect competition, none matches all four sufficiently that we can declare a perfectly competitively industry. Some industries come close on the large number of small firms and the identical product characteristics. A few industries have relatively good, although not perfect, information about prices and technology. However, almost all industries fall far short of the perfect mobility characteristics.

recession – The common term used for the contraction phase of the business cycle. A general period of declining economic activity. During a recession, real gross domestic product declines by 10 percent or so and the unemployment rate rises from it’s full employment 5 percent level up to the 6 to 10 percent range. Inflation tends to be low or non-existent during a recession. Recession last anywhere from six to eighteen months, with one year being common.

recessionary gap – The difference between the equilibrium real production achieved in the short-run aggregate market and full-employment real production the occurs when short-run equilibrium real production is less than full-employment real production. A recessionary gap, also termed a contractionary gap, is associated with a business-cycle contraction. This is one of two alternative output gaps that can occur when short-run production differs from full employment. The other is an inflationary gap.

Keynesian model recessionary gap – The difference between equilibrium aggregate production achieved in the Keynesian model and full-employment aggregate production that occurs when equilibrium aggregate production is less than full-employment aggregate production. A recessionary gap, also termed a contractionary gap, is associated with a business-cycle contraction. The prescribed Keynesian remedy for a recessionary gap is expansionary fiscal policy. This is one of two alternative output gaps that can occur when equilibrium generates production that differs from full employment. The other is an inflationary gap.

recognition lag – In the context of economic policies, the time between a shock to the economy and realization that the shock has occurred. This is one of several policy lags that limit the effectiveness of stabilization policies designed to correct business-cycle fluctuations. This is also one of two inside lags. The other is an implementation lag. Also termed identification lag, the recognition lag emerges due to the time needed to measure economic activity. While the lag is generally positive, it actually can be negative through accurate forecasting techniques. When negative policies can be undertaken to correct a problem before it occurs.

recovery – A early expansionary phase of the business cycle shortly after a contraction has ended, but before a full-blown expansion begins. During a recovery, the unemployment rate remains relatively high, but it is beginning to fall. Real gross domestic product has begun to increase, usually rapidly. However, because the contraction remains fresh in the minds of many, it may not be immediately clear that the trough of the contraction has been reached.

recycling – The use or reuse of previously extracted materials, waste products, or finished goods as inputs in the production process rather than using newly extracted natural resources. Recycling is one method of controlling pollution. Many types of resources are commonly recycled. For consumers, aluminum and newspapers are commonly recycled products. Producers frequently recycle steel and iron. In these cases, recycled materials augment the market supply. They also prevent the return of residuals to the environment.

reference week – The calendar week (Sunday through Saturday) containing the 12th day of the month, which is used in the Current Population Survey (CPS) as the time period for documenting the employment and labor force status of respondents. The estimation of the unemployment rate and other employment information generated by the CPS are based on activities of survey respondents during this week. The actual survey is conducted by interviewers working for the Bureau of the Census during the calendar week containing the 19th day, which is termed the survey week.

regional economics – The economic study of regions based on the consideration of space, transportation cost, and location in production and consumption decisions. Regional economics studies a wide variety of topics, including the migration of labor, the macroeconomic activity in cities and states, and the location choices of firms. A closely related area of study that focuses on economic activity within and between cities is termed urban economics.

regressive tax – A tax in which people with more income pay a smaller percentage in taxes. A regressive tax is given by this example–You earn $10,000 a year and your boss gets $20,000. You pay $2,000 in taxes (20 percent) while your boss also pays $2,000 in taxes (10 percent). Examples of regressive taxes abound (is this surprising given the political clout of the wealthy?), including sales tax, excise tax, and Social Security tax.

regulation – Government rules or laws that control the activities of businesses and consumers. The motivation for regulation is that businesses are inclined to do things that are harmful to the public–actions which need to be prevented or otherwise controlled. Regulation is essentially an extension of government’s authority to protect one member of society from another. It tends to take one of two forms–(1) industry regulation that’s intended to prevent firms from gaining and abusing excessive market control and (2) social regulation that seeks to protect consumers for problems caused by pollution, unsafe products, and the lack of information (market failure).

capture theory regulation – Control of a regulatory agency by those entities, usually the businesses of a particular industry, that the agency is designed to regulate. Those industries subject to economic regulation that is intended to protect the public interest (consumers) invariably find it beneficial to exert influence over the regulatory agency. One common way of doing this is to have former or future employees in the industry “temporarily” work for the regulatory agency.

regulatory forces – Forces in the marketing environment that depend on various government regulatory agencies that impact how an organization operates on a daily basis. An example is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which monitors advertising, deceptive labeling, and false or misleading information. Agencies such as the FTC have powers to enforce regulations through fines and other penalties. Other regulatory agencies are: Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

regulatory policy – Government policy based on government’s ability to pass laws and enact regulations.

regulatory pricing – Government control over the price charge in a market, especially by a firm with market control. Price regulation is most commonly used for public utilities characterized as natural monopolies. If allowed to maximize profit without restraint, the price charged would exceed marginal cost and production would be inefficient. However, because such firms, as public utilities, produce output that is deemed essential or critical for the public, government steps in to regulate or control the price. The two most common methods of price regulation are marginal-cost pricing and average-cost pricing.

relative poverty level – The amount of income a person or family needs to purchase a relative amount of basic necessities of life. These basic necessities are identified relative to the current structure of society and the economy. For example, while a refrigerator would be a basic necessity for someone living in the our modern U.S. economy, it probably would not be consider a necessity for nomads of sub-Saharan Africa or aborigines of Australia.

relatively elastic – An elasticity alternative in which relatively small changes in price cause relatively large changes in quantity. In other words, quantity is very responsive to price. Relatively elastic should be compared with other elasticity alternatives–relatively inelastic, perfectly inelastic, perfectly elastic, and unit elastic.

relatively inelastic – An elasticity alternative in which relatively large changes in price cause relatively small changes in quantity. In other words, quantity is not very responsive to price. Relatively inelastic should be compared with other elasticity alternatives–relatively elastic, perfectly inelastic, perfectly elastic, and unit elastic.

renewable resource – A natural resource that can be increased by either automatically through the natural forces of the environment or through actions undertaken by people. The quantities of renewable resources and not fixed and thus the amounts available for use tomorrow can be increased. Efficient use of renewable resources requires a balance between the rate of use and the rate of renewal. It is possible to efficiently use renewable resources indefinitely. However, such resources can also be exhausted if the rate of use exceeds the rate of renewal. Common examples of renewable resources are plant life, animal life, clean air, and clean water.

rent – Factor payments to the owners of land for using the various resources of land in the production of goods and services. Rent is included in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis under the official title rental income of person. Rent is typically the smallest of the four factor payments, accounting for less than 5% of the income earned by the household sector.

rent seeking – The inclination of everyone who is alive and breathing to get as much as they can for themselves. These stems from the idea of economic rent, which is a payment over above the opportunity cost. People are said to be rent seeking when they try to get higher wages, more profit, or any other payment over above the minimum they would be willing to accept.

rental income of persons – The official item in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis measuring rent earned by the household sector for supplying land and related services. This is one of five official factor payments making up national income. The other four are compensation of employees, net interest, corporate profits, and proprietors’ income. Rental income of persons is typically the smallest of the five factor payment categories, usually less than 5% of national income.

repurchase agreement – A common type of bank account in which funds are transferred from one account to another, then automatically transferred back after a short period, usually overnight. In effect, a bank customer buys a legal claim from a bank with the understanding that the bank will automatically “repurchase” this legal claim back after a specified time period. Repurchase agreements were original developed as a round about means of paying interest on business checking, which such interest paying was legally prohibited. Repurchase agreements are near monies added to M1 to obtain broader monetary aggregates, M2 and M3.

required reserves – The amount of vault cash and/or Federal Reserve deposits that a bank must legally keep to back outstanding deposits. These are the assets that bank regulators specify a bank must have to ensure the stability of deposits and conduct daily transactions.

reservation price – The lowest price at which a supplier is willing to supply any amount of a good. This is usually based on the minimum cost of production. For labor, it’s the lowest wage that makes it worthwhile to get up in the morning, miss your favorite daytime television shows, and go to work.

reserve ratio – The amount of reserves required by the Federal Reserve System as a ratio of the amount deposits backed by the reserves. Modern reserve ratios are in the range of 1-3% for checkable deposits. The reserve ratio plays a key role in the deposit multiplier. The simple deposit multiplier is simply the inverse of the reserve ratio. If the reserve ratio is 5%, then the deposit multiplier is 20. It’s just that simple.

reserve requirements – Rules by the Federal Reserve System governing the amount of bank reserves that banks must keep to back up their deposits. Legal reserve requirements came about because banks that practice fractional-reserve banking are sometimes inclined to make too many interest-paying loans and neglect to keep enough reserves on hand to pay their depositors. In principle, the Fed can alter reserve requirements to control the money supply. In practice, however, the Fed prefers to use open market operations or the discount rate.

reserves – The vault cash and deposits at the Federal Reserve System that banks use to complete day-to-day transactions.

resource – The labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship used by society to produce consumer satisfying goods and services. Land provides the basic raw materials–vegetation, animals, minerals, fossil fuels–that are inputs into the production of goods (natural resources). Labor is the resource that does the “hands on” work of transforming raw materials into goods. Capital is the comprehensive term for the vast array of tools, equipment, buildings, and vehicles used in production. Entrepreneurship is the resource that undertakes the risk of bringing the other resources together and initiating the production process.

resource allocation – The process of dividing up and distributing available, limited resources to competing, alternative uses that satisfy unlimited wants and needs. Given that world is rampant with scarcity (unlimited wants and needs, but limited resources), every want and need cannot be satisfied with available resources. Choices have to be made. Some wants and needs are satisfied, some are not. These choices, these decisions are the resource allocation process. An efficient resource allocation exists if society has achieved the highest possible level of satisfaction of wants and needs from the available resources AND resources can not be allocated differently to achieve any greater satisfaction.

resource market – A market used to exchange the services of resources labor, capital, and natural resources. The value of services exchanged through resource markets each year is measured as national income. Compare financial market, product market.

resource markets – Market used to exchange the services of resources labor, capital, and natural resources. The value of services exchanged through resource markets each year is measured as national income. Compare financial market, product market.

aggregate supply determinant resource price – One of three categories of aggregate supply determinants assumed constant when the aggregate supply curve is constructed, and which shifts the aggregate supply curve when it changes. An increase in a resource price causes a decrease (leftward shift) of the short-run aggregate supply curve. A decrease in a resource price causes an increase (rightward shift) of the short-run aggregate supply curve. The other two categories of aggregate supply determinants are resource quantity and resource quality. Specific determinants falling into this general category include wages and energy prices. Anything affecting the prices paid for the use of labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship is also included.

resource prices – One of the five supply determinants assumed constant when a supply curve is constructed, and that shift the supply curve when they change. The other four are technology, other prices, sellers’ expectations, and number of sellers. Resource prices, the prices paid to use the factors of production (labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship) affect production cost and thus producers’ ability to sell goods. In general, if sellers face higher resource prices, then they have less ABILITY to sell goods.

aggregate supply determinant resource quality – One of three categories of aggregate supply determinants assumed constant when the short-run or long-run aggregate supply curves are constructed, and which shifts both aggregate supply curves when it changes. An increase in a resource quality causes an increase (rightward shift) of both aggregate supply curves. A decrease in a resource quality causes a decrease (leftward shift) of both aggregate supply curves. The other two categories of aggregate supply determinants are resource quantity and resource price. Specific determinants falling into this general category include education and technology. Anything affecting the quality of labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship is also included.

aggregate supply determinant resource quantity – One of three categories of aggregate supply determinants assumed constant when the short-run and long-run aggregate supply curves are constructed, and which shifts both aggregate supply curves when it changes. An increase in a resource quantity causes an increase (rightward shift) of both aggregate supply curves. A decrease in a resource quantity causes a decrease (leftward shift) of both aggregate supply curves. The other two categories of aggregate supply determinants are resource quality and resource price. Specific determinants falling into this general category include population, labor force participation, capital stock, and exploration. Anything affecting the quantity of labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship is also included.

resources – The labor, capital, land, and entrepreneurship used by society to produce consumer satisfying goods and services. Land provides the basic raw materials–vegetation, animals, minerals, fossil fuels–that are inputs into the production of goods (natural resources). Labor is the resource that does the “hands on” work of transforming raw materials into goods. Capital is the comprehensive term for the vast array of tools, equipment, buildings, and vehicles used in production. Entrepreneurship is the resource that undertakes the risk of bringing the other resources together and initiating the production process.

retained earnings – Officially termed undistributed corporate profits, these are corporate profits that are neither paid as corporate profits taxes nor paid to shareholders as dividends. Undistributed corporate profits are important for the derivation of personal income from national income. Because undistributed corporate profits are income that is earned by the shareholders, but not received, it falls in the general category of income earned but not received (IEBNR), and is subtracted from national income in the derivation of personal income.

returns to scale – Changes in production the occurs when all resources are proportionately increased in the long run. Returns to scale answers the question: If labor, capital, and ALL other inputs increase by 10%, does output increase by more than 10%, less than 10%, or exactly 10%? These answers indicate that returns to scale can take one of three forms: increasing returns to scale, decreasing returns to scale, and constant returns to scale.

revaluation – The act of increasing the price (exchange rate) of one nation’s currency in terms of other currencies. This is done by the government if it wants to raise the price of the country’s exports and lower the price of foreign imports. This is an appropriate action if the country is running an undesired trade surplus with other countries. The procedure for revaluation is for the government to buy the nation’s currency and/or sell foreign currencies through the foreign exchange market.

revenue effect – The goal of imposing taxes to generate revenue used to finance the operation of government, most notably to finance the provision of public goods. This is one of two reasons, and the primary reason, that governments impose taxes. The other reason is the allocation effect. Governments work the revenue effect because they need access to income and resources to build highways, defend the nation, educate the population, and maintain the legal system. They purchase these resources with tax revenue generated through the revenue effect.

right to work – A law preventing employers from making union membership a condition of employment. In other words, your boss can’t forced you to join a union if you don’t want to. There are two sides to this argument. On the one hand, workers should have the freedom to join a union or not based on the benefit to had from the union and perhaps their philosophical orientation towards unions. On the other hand, unions gain their strength by representing workers. Its negotiating position is hurt if it represents only a fraction of the workers. Moreover, any benefits a union gets for workers are enjoyed by its members (who pay dues) as well as nonmembers (who don’t pay dues).

right-to-work law – A law preventing employers from making union membership a condition of employment. In other words, your boss can’t forced you to join a union if you don’t want to. There are two sides to this argument. On the one hand, workers should have the freedom to join a union or not based on the benefit to had from the union and perhaps their philosophical orientation towards unions. On the other hand, unions gain their strength by representing workers. Its negotiating position is hurt if it represents only a fraction of the workers. Moreover, any benefits a union gets for workers are enjoyed by its members (who pay dues) as well as nonmembers (who don’t pay dues).

rigid prices – The proposition that some prices adjust slowly in response to market shortages or surpluses. This condition is most important for macroeconomic activity in the short run and short-run aggregate market analysis. In particular, rigid (also termed inflexible or sticky) prices are a key reason underlying the positive slope of the short-run aggregate supply curve. Prices tend to be the most rigid in resource markets, especially labor markets, and the least rigid in financial markets, with product markets falling somewhere in between.

risk – The possibility of gain or loss. Risk the calculated probability of different events happening, is usually contrasted with uncertainty the possibility that any number of things could happen. For example, uncertainty is the possibility that you could win or lose $100 on the flip of a coin. You don’t know which will happen, it could go either way. Risk, in contrast, is the 50 percent chance of winning $100 and the 50 percent chance of losing $100 on the flip of the coin. You know (or think you know) that your probability of winning or losing is 50 percent because the coin has a 50 percent chance of coming up either heads or tails.

risk averse – A person who values a certain income more than an equal amount of income that involves risk or uncertainty. To illustrate, let’s say that you’re given two options–(A) a guaranteed $1,000 or (b) a 50-50 chance of getting either $500 or $1,500. If you chose option A, then you’re risk averse. Both options give you the same “expected” values. In other words, if you select option B a few hundred times, then your average amount over those few hundred times is $1,000.

risk loving – A person who values a certain income less than an equal amount of income that involves risk or uncertainty. Suppose that you have two options–(A) a guaranteed $1,000 or (b) a 50-50 chance of getting either $500 or $1,500. If you chose option B, then you’re risk loving. While both options give you the same “expected” values, you get more satisfaction from the risky option than the guaranteed one. In fact, risk loving people are willing to pay for the opportunity to experience a risky situation.

risk neutral – A person who values a certain income the same as an equal amount of income that involves risk or uncertainty. Let’s say that you’re given two options–(A) a guaranteed $1,000 or (b) a 50-50 chance of getting either $500 or $1,500. If you don’t really care which option you chose, because both options have the same “expected” values, then you’re risk neutral.

risk pooling – Combining the uncertainty of individuals into a calculable risk for large groups. For example, you may or may not contract the flu this year. However, if you’re thrown in with 99,999 other people, then health-care types who spend their lives measuring the odds of an illness, can predict that 1 percent of the group, or 1,000 people, will get the flu. The uncertainty is that they probably don’t know which 1,000 people, they only know the number afflicted. This little bit of information is what makes risk pooling possible. If the cost is $50 per illness, then an insurance company can insure your 100,000-member group against flu if they collect $50,000 ($50 x 1,000 sick people), or 50 cents per person. By agreeing to pay the cost of each sick person in exchange for the 50 cent payments, the insurance company has effectively pooled the risk of the group.

risk premium – This has two very closely related uses. First, it’s what risk averse people are willing to pay to avoid a risky situation. For example, if you would be equally happy with a guaranteed $900 or a 50-50 chance of getting either $500 or $1,500, then you’re risk premium is $100. Second, it’s the extra percentage points added to an interest rate to compensate for the risk of a loan. As a general rule, each 1 percent chance of default on a loan adds a risk premium of about 1 percent to the interest rate.

rival consumption – Consumption of a good by one person imposes a cost on, or prevents consumption of the good by, another person. Some goods, like food, have extremely rival consumption. One person, and only one person, gets the benefit. Other goods, like national defense, have no consumption rivalry, everyone can benefit simultaneously without imposing a cost on others. This is one of the two key characteristics of a good (the other is excludability) that distinguishes between common-property goods, near-public goods, private goods, and public goods.

rule of consumer equilibrium – A condition of consumer equilibrium and utility maximization stating that the marginal utility-price ratio for all goods are equal. This rule is a handy way of checking for consumer equilibrium and utility maximization. If the rule is not satisfied, then consumer equilibrium and utility maximization are not achieved.

S corporation – A legal firm type that is officially structure as a corporation, especially with limited liability of the owners, but is able to avoid the double taxation of profits through the use of a special section of the Internal Revenue Service tax code (Chapter S). The profit of an S corporation is considered the income of its owners and is thus taxable only as individual income. There are, however, limits on who can be an owner of an S corporation.

S&P; 500 – Term S&P; 500 Definition:

S-I model – A model used to identify equilibrium in Keynesian economics based on injections (investment, I) and leakages (saving, S) for the two basic sectors (household and business). Equilibrium is achieved at the intersection of the saving line, S, and the investment line, I.

sales maximization – The notion that business firms (especially those operating in the real world) are primarily motivated by the desire to achieve the greatest possible level of sales, rather than profit maximization. On a day-to-day basis, most real world firms probably do try to maximize sales rather than profit. For firms operating in relatively competitive markets, facing relative fixed prices, and relatively constant average cost, then increasing sales is bound to increase profits, too. Moreover, according to the notion of natural selection, even firms that seek to maximize sales, those that also maximize profit will remain in business.

sales tax – A tax on retail sales. This is major source of revenue for many state and local governments. Because poorer people tend to spend a larger share of their income on stuff covered by sales taxes, it tends to be a regressive tax. To reduce this regressiveness, some state and local governments excluded items like food and medicine.

satisfaction – The process of successfully fulfilling wants and needs. A basic fact of life is that people want and need stuff to stay alive and to make that life more enjoyable. Satisfaction is the economic term that captures this wants-and-needs-fulfilling process. Satisfying wants and needs is actually the ultimate goal of economic activity, the end result of addressing the fundamental problem of scarcity, and, when you get right down to it, life itself.

saving – The after-tax disposable income of the household sector that is not used for consumption expenditures. In general terms, saving is the use of income to purchase legal claims through financial markets rather than the direct purchase of physical goods and services. In the macroeconomic world modeled by the circular flow, saving is the diversion of household income away from consumption and into the financial markets. In this model, saving is a primary source of funds used for business investment expenditures for capital goods. Saving is also used to finance government expenditures.

saving function – The positive relation between household saving and household disposable income. The saving function is commonly presented as the saving line or propensity-to-saving line. The slope of this line is the marginal propensity to save, which is the proportion of any additional income used for saving. The saving function and the marginal propensity to saving play key roles in the multiplier and accelerator concepts. Because consumption is the difference between disposable income and saving, the consumption function is a complementary relation to the saving function.

saving line – A graphical depiction of the relation between household saving and household disposable income. The slope of this line is positive, greater than zero, less than one, and goes by the name marginal propensity to save. The vertical intercept of the saving line is autonomous saving. The saving and investment, or leakage and injection, analysis used in Keynesian economics begins with the saving line. Because consumption is the difference between disposable income and saving, the consumption line is a complementary relation to the saving line.

saving-investment equality – A classical economic proposition stating that flexible prices ensure an equality between saving and investment. This equality is essential to obtain the classical economic conclusion that unrestricted markets achieve and maintain full employment. This is one of the three assumptions underlying classical economics. The other two assumptions are flexible prices and Say’s law.

saving-investment model – A model used to identify equilibrium in Keynesian economics based on injections (investment, I) and leakages (saving, S) for the two basic sectors (household and business). Equilibrium is achieved at the intersection of the saving line, S, and the investment line, I.

savings accounts – Accounts maintained by banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions, and mutual savings banks that pay interest but can not be used directly as money. These accounts, also termed transactions deposits, let customers set aside a portion of their liquid assets that COULD be used to make purchases. But to make those purchases, savings account balances must be transferred to checkable deposits or currency. However, this transference is easy enough that savings accounts are often termed near money. Savings accounts, as such constitute a sizeable portion of the M2 monetary aggregate.

savings and loan association – A depository institution chartered by the Federal Home Loan Bank that was established to assist home owners with low-cost mortgage loans using savings deposits. However, S&Ls; have expanded their activities and now provide most of the services of traditional banks, including checkable deposits.

savings deposits – Accounts maintained by banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions, and mutual savings banks that pay interest but can not be used directly as money. These accounts, also termed transactions deposits, let customers set aside a portion of their liquid assets that COULD be used to make purchases. But to make those purchases, savings account balances must be transferred to checkable deposits or currency. However, this transference is easy enough that savings accounts are often termed near money. Savings accounts, as such constitute a sizeable portion of the M2 monetary aggregate.

Say’s law – A classical economic proposition stating that the production of aggregate output creates sufficient aggregate demand to purchase all of the output produced. In other words, supply creates its own demand. This is one of the three assumptions underlying the macroeconomic theory of classical economics which concluded that unrestricted market activity would generate full employment. The other two assumptions are flexible prices and saving-investment equality. Say’s law is closely associated with the circular flow model.

SBA – The abbreviation for Small Business Administration, which is an independent federal agency that was started in 1953 to help small business. It provides a variety of assistance, including financial, technical, and managerial help. It helps other agencies in the federal government direct contracts and spending in the direction of proprietorships and small corporations. It also provides low interest loans to small businesses that suffer from natural disasters.

scab – Someone who starts working or continues to work for a firm while a labor union is engaged in a strike of the firm. Scab is common term used by union members for the more polite name strikebreaker. Striking union members are more inclined to use even more derogatory terms. Such workers are used by employers to force union members to stop their strike and return to work. While strikers don’t like it, labor laws guarantee that nonstriking workers can cross the picket line and go to work.

scarce – The general condition indicating that a good or resource is limited relative to the what people want. In terms of ALL resources and goods throughout society, the related term scarcity is used. Being scarce is what makes it possible to exchange goods and resources through markets, and most importantly, charge a price. If a good is not scarce, which means that the economy has more than enough to satisfy all available uses, then there is no way to sell it. Who would buy such an item, pay a price for it, give up something of value in exchange for it, when it is so abundant? Likewise, if a item is so abundant, using it to satisfy one use does not impose an opportunity cost on other uses.

scarce good – A resource with an available quantity less than its desired use. Scarce resources are also called factors of production. Scarce goods are also termed economic goods. Scarce resources are used to produce scarce goods. Like the more general society-wide condition of scarcity, a given resource is scarce because it has a limited availability in combination with a greater (potentially unlimited) productive use. It’s both of these that make it scarce. In other words, even though an item is quite limited it will not be a scarce resource if it has few if any uses (think pocket lint and free good).

scarce resource – A resource with an available quantity less than its desired use. Scarce resources are also called factors of production. Scarce goods are also termed economic goods. Scarce resources are used to produce scarce goods. Like the more general society-wide condition of scarcity, a given resource is scarce because it has a limited availability in combination with a greater (potentially unlimited) productive use. It’s both of these that make it scarce. In other words, even though an item is quite limited it will not be a scarce resource if it has few if any uses (think pocket lint and free good).

scarcity – A pervasive condition of human existence that exists because society has unlimited wants and needs, but limited resources used for their satisfaction. In other words, while we all want a bunch of stuff, we can’t have everything that we want. In slightly different words, this scarcity problem means: (1) that there’s never enough resources to produce everything that everyone would like produced; (2) that some people will have to do without some of the stuff that they want or need; (3) that doing one thing, producing one good, performing one activity, forces society to give up something else; and (4) that the same resources can not be used to produce two different goods at the same time. We live in a big, bad world of scarcity. This big, bad world of scarcity is what the study of economics is all about. That’s why we usually subtitle scarcity: THE ECONOMIC PROBLEM.

scarcity rent – The marginal opportunity cost imposed on future generations by extracting one more unit of a resource today. Scarcity rent is one of two costs the extraction of a finite resource imposes on society. The other is marginal extraction cost–the opportunity cost of resources employed in the extraction activity. Scarcity rent is the cost of “using up” a finite resource because benefits of the extracted resource are unavailable to future generations. Efficiency is achieved when the resource price–the benefit society is willing to pay for the resource today–is equal to the sum of marginal extraction cost and scarcity rent.

science – A discipline, or topic of study, that uses the scientific method to investigate and explain the operation of the world by testing and verifying hypothesized relationships. While the term science is often used in reference to the physical sciences, including chemistry, physics, and biology, it’s also relevant to social sciences, including economics, sociology, and political science. The reason is that science is not really a subject, but a method of investigation–the scientific method. The scientific method is uses theories to derived hypotheses which are verified against real world data.

scientific method – A structured way of investigating and explaining the operation of the world by testing and verifying hypothesized relationships. The scientific method is a process of discovery, a method of explaining phenomena that can be better understood with an overview of theory, principles, world view, hypothesis, and verification.

SDR – The abbreviation for Special Drawing Rights, which is a system of accounts nations have with International Monetary Fund that are used to settle any balance of payments deficits. In essence, SDRs are simply an international currency that makes it easier to conduct all sorts of international transactions. In decades past, when gold was used as the primary international currency, any balance of payments deficits was paid with gold. However, in 1967 this system of SDRs was established in lieu of sending gold all over the globe.

seasonal unemployment – Unemployment is caused by relatively regular and predictable declines in particular industries or occupations over the course of a year, often corresponding with the seasons. Unlike cyclical unemployment, that could occur at any time, seasonal unemployment is an essential part of many jobs. For example, your regular, run-of-the-mill, department store Santa Clause can count on 11 months of unemployment each year. Seasonal unemployment is one of four unemployment sources. The other three are cyclical unemployment, frictional unemployment, and structural unemployment.

SEC – The abbreviation for Securities and Exchange Commission, which is a federal government agency that regulates the trading of corporate stock to protect investors against unscrupulous practices. Like a number of other federal regulatory agencies, the SEC was established in the 1930s–1934 to be exact. The impetus for its formation was to prevent investors from manipulating the stock market and to prevent other practices that contributed to the 1929 stock market crash. The SEC has all sorts of rules governing the stock market, including information disclosure, insider trading, speculation, and use of credit.

Second Bank of the United States – The second attempt by the United States to created a central bank. The second bank was established in 1816 and when defunct in 1836, when it lost a political battle with President Andrew Jackson. The United States did not seek another central bank until the Federal Reserve System was established in 1913.

second estate – In past centuries, this included kings, queens, dukes and others of the ruling elite. In modern times, this includes business leaders who have extensive ownership of and control over resources, especially capital, entrepreneurship, and land.

second rule of subjectivity – The second of seven basic rules of the economy. It is the notion that market prices are ultimately determined by subjective values and preferences of buyers and resource owners. While regular, everyday consumers are prone to accept the prices “set” by retail stores and other sellers as etched in stone (perhaps along with the Biblical ten commandments), such is not the case. The price of a product depends on two things, demand (especially the demand price that buyers are willing to pay) and supply (especially the supply price that sellers are willing to accept). Both, I repeat both, are subjectively determined. By subjective, I mean they are based on the values, beliefs, tastes, and preferences of people.

second-degree price discrimination – A form of price discrimination in which a seller charges the different prices for different quantities of a good. This also goes by the name block pricing. This is possible because the different quantities are purchased by different types of buyers with different demand elasticities. This is one of three price discrimination degrees. The others are first-degree price discrimination and third-degree price discrimination.

Securities and Exchange Commission – (SEC) A federal government agency that regulates the trading of corporate stock to protect investors against unscrupulous practices. Like a number of other federal regulatory agencies, the SEC was established in the 1930s–1934 to be exact. The impetus for its formation was to prevent investors from manipulating the stock market and to prevent other practices that contributed to the 1929 stock market crash. The SEC has all sorts of rules governing the stock market, including information disclosure, insider trading, speculation, and use of credit.

segment – A group of potential buyers who have similar needs and wants. This is developed after a process called market segmentation. A concentrated targeting strategy is effective for marketing to each segment. Typically, a company uses one marketing mix to satisfy each segmentÕs needs.

segmentation – The marketing process by which a company divides a heterogeneous group of buyers in segments. Each segment has similar wants and needs. The company uses a concentrated targeting strategy to sell their products to this group. A different marketing mix is created and used for each segment.

segmentation variables – Characteristics of organizations, groups, and individuals which are used to divide a market into smaller units or segments. Some of these characteristics would be age, gender, geographic location, or psychological factors. Typically, these can be grouped into 4 categories; demographic, geographic, psychological, and behavioristic.The marketer uses these variables to develop a target market for their products or services.

seigniorage – The difference between the face value, or value in exchange, of money and the cost of producing the money. This seigniorage is effectively the profit government generates from producing currency–printing paper bills or minting metal coins. That is, government effectively “makes money” by making money.

self correction – The process through which a model, especially the market and the aggregate market, automatically adjust to equilibrium through changes in one of the variables. For the standard market, self-correction involves changes in the market price to eliminate shortages and surpluses. For the aggregate market, self-correction involves changes in wages, which shift the short-run aggregate supply curve and move the aggregate market from short-run equilibrium to long-run equilibrium.

self-concept – A person’s view or image of herself or himself. This is closely related to one’s personality. A poor self-concept or negative sense of oneself can have a damaging affect on a person’s ability to interact with others. Those who have a positive self-concept tend to believe in who they are and have confidence in their abilities to deal with various situations. Marketing researchers know that consumers tend to make purchases that reflect and enhance self-concept.

aggregate market self-correction – The automatic process through which the aggregate market adjusts from short-run equilibrium to long-run equilibrium. Self-correction results through shifts of the short-run aggregate supply curve caused by changes in wages and other resource prices. Short-run equilibrium in the aggregate market is characterized by inflexible or rigid resource prices, especially wages. This creates temporary imbalances in resource markets, especially unemployment and overemployment of labor. Self-correction is the process in which these temporary imbalances are eliminated through flexible prices and the aggregate market achieves long-run equilibrium. You might want to compare this process to self correction, market.

inflationary gap self-correction – The automatic process through which the aggregate market achieves long-run equilibrium by eliminating an inflationary gap created by short-run equilibrium. With an inflationary gap short-run equilibrium real production is greater than full-employment real production, meaning resource markets have shortages, and in particular labor is overemployed. Self-correction is the process in which these temporary imbalances are eliminated through flexible prices as the aggregate market achieves long-run equilibrium. The key to this process is shifts of the short-run aggregate supply curve caused by changes in wages and other resource prices. The long-run result is lower wages and a decrease in short-run aggregate supply.

market self-correction – The automatic process through which markets adjust from disequilibrium to equilibrium. Pointy-headed economists really like markets, even more than they like Englebert Humperdink. The reason is that markets have a built-in self correction mechanism. If a market is in equilibrium, it remains there until the cows come home. But if it’s NOT in equilibrium, if it is in disequilibrium, it moves back. This means that no one (read this as government) needs to lord over markets, night and day, to ensure that they work. To reach an exchange that’s mutually agreeable to both buyers and sellers, the buyers and sellers just need to be left alone (that is. laissez faire).

recessionary gap self-correction – The automatic process through which the aggregate market achieves long-run equilibrium by eliminating a recessionary gap created by short-run equilibrium. With a recessionary gap short-run equilibrium real production is less than full-employment real production, meaning resource markets have surpluses, and in particular labor is unemployed. Self-correction is the process in which these temporary imbalances are eliminated through flexible prices as the aggregate market achieves long-run equilibrium. The key to this process is shifts of the short-run aggregate supply curve caused by changes in wages and other resource prices. The long-run result is lower wages and an increase in short-run aggregate supply.

sellers’ expectations – One of the five supply determinants assumed constant when a supply curve is constructed, and that shift the supply curve when they change. The other four are resource prices, technology, other prices, and number of sellers. If sellers expect the future price will be greater, then they’re likely to sell less today, to take advantage of the higher future price. Alternatively, if sellers expect a lower future price, then they’re likely to sell more today, hoping to avoid the lower price. A higher future price induces an decrease in supply and a lower future price induces a increase in supply.

sellers’ market – A disequilibrium condition in a competitive market that has a shortage, such that sellers are able to force the price up. Note that a sellers’ market does not mean that the lack of competition among demanders have given sellers market control. A sellers’ market is a competitive market that is faced with a temporary imbalance between the quantity supplied by the sellers and the quantity demanded by the buyers.

service – An activity that provides direct satisfaction of wants and needs without the production of a tangible product or good. Examples include information, entertainment, and education. This term service should be contrasted with the term good, which involves the satisfaction of wants and needs with tangible items. You’re likely to see the plural combination of these two into a single phrase, “goods and services,” to indicate the wide assortment of economic production from the economy’s scarce resources.

services – Activities that provide direct satisfaction of wants and needs without the production of tangible products or goods. Examples include information, entertainment, and education. This term service should be contrasted with the term good, which involves the satisfaction of wants and needs with tangible items. You’re likely to see the plural combination of these two into a single phrase, “goods and services,” to indicate the wide assortment of economic production from the economy’s scarce resources.

consumption services – Personal consumption expenditures on activities that provide direct satisfaction of wants and needs without the production of tangible goods. Common examples are information, entertainment, and education. This is one of three categories of personal consumption expenditures in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The other two are durable goods (see durable goods, consumption) and nondurable goods (see nondurable goods, consumption). Services are about 60% of personal consumption expenditures and 40% of gross domestic product.

seven rules – Seven key economic principles underlying the study of economics and the operation of the economy. These seven rules are: first — scarcity, second — subjectivity, third — inequality, fourth — competition, fifth — imperfection, sixth — ignorance, and seventh — complexity.

seventh rule of complexity – The seventh of seven basic rules of the economy. It is the observation that the world is complex, that every action has direct and often intended consequences and indirect and probably unintended effects (that is, cause and effect). A few of the more noted illustrations of this seventh rule are the circular flow (especially the expenditure multiplier) and market failures (especially externalities).

severance tax – A tax on the value of raw materials, such as minerals and fossil fuels, when they are extracted from the environment. This is one of those hidden, unpublicized taxes on producers that is ultimately passed along consumers.

share drafts – Interest-paying checking accounts maintained by credit unions. These function much like standard demand deposit checking accounts in that the funds can be withdrawn “on demand” by writing a check, but an interest is paid on the outstanding balance. Share draft accounts are one type of checkable deposits. Others are demand deposits (standard checking accounts), negotiable order of withdrawal (NOW) accounts, and automatic transfer service (ATS) accounts.

Sherman Act – The first antitrust law passed in the United States in 1890 that outlawed monopoly or any attempts to monopolize a market. This was one of three major antitrust laws passed in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The other two were the Clayton Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act. The Sherman Act was successfully used to break up several noted monopolies in the early 1900s, including the Standard Oil Trust in 1911. However, it was flawed by (1) vague wording that allowed wide interpretation (especially based on political influence) and (2) the lack of an effective means of enforcement other than an extended journey through the court system. These two flaws led to the Federal Trade Commission Act and Clayton Act, both passed in 1914. Although other laws have been passed, the Sherman Act remains the cornerstone of antitrust laws in the United States.

short run – In terms of the macroeconomic analysis of the aggregate market, a period of time in which some prices, especially wages, are rigid, inflexible, or otherwise in the process of adjusting. Short-run wage and price rigidity prevents some markets, especially resources markets and most notably labor markets, from achieving equilibrium. In terms of the microeconomic analysis of production and supply, a period of time in which at least one input in the production process is variable and one is fixed. In the microeconomic analysis, the short run is primarily used to analyze production decisions for a firm.

macroeconomics short run – In terms of the macroeconomic analysis of the aggregate market, a period of time in which some prices, especially wages, are rigid, inflexible, or otherwise in the process of adjusting. This is one of two macroeconomic time designations; the other is the long run (you might want to see short-run production, too). Short-run wage and price rigidity prevents some markets, especially resources markets and most notably labor markets, from achieving equilibrium. Wage and price rigidity and the resulting resource market imbalances are the source of the positively-sloped short-run aggregate supply curve.

microeconomics short run – In terms of the microeconomic analysis of production and supply, a period of time in which at least one input in the production process is variable and one is fixed. You should compare and contrast the short run with long-run production, very long run, and market period. In the microeconomic analysis, the short run is primarily used to analyze production decisions for a firm. In this context, the variable input is typically labor and the fixed input is capital. The short-run analysis of production reveals the law of diminishing marginal returns and provides an understanding of the upward-sloping supply curve and the law of supply.

short-run aggregate market – A macroeconomic model relating the price level and real production under the assumption that SOME prices inflexible, especially resource prices. The short-run aggregate market isolates the interaction between aggregate demand and short-run aggregate supply. The key assumption of this model is that SOME prices, especially resource prices, are flexible. The primary result of this model is that the economy can achieve short-run equilibrium at real production that is either greater than or less than full-employment.

short-run aggregate supply – The total (or aggregate) real production of final goods and services available in the domestic economy at a range of price levels, during a period of time in which some prices, especially wages, are rigid, inflexible, or otherwise in the process of adjusting. Short-run aggregate supply (SRAS) is one of two aggregate supply alternatives, distinguished by the degree of price flexibility; the other is long-run aggregate supply. Short-run aggregate supply is combined with aggregate demand in the short-run aggregate market analysis used to analyze business-cycle instability, unemployment, inflation, government stabilization policies, and related macroeconomic topics.

short-run aggregate supply and market supply – The short-run aggregate supply curve, or SRAS curve, has similarities to, but differences from, the standard market supply curve. Both are positively sloped. Both relate price and quantity. However, the market supply curve is positively sloped due to the law of diminishing marginal returns and the short-run aggregate supply curve is positively-sloped due to inflexible prices, the pool of natural unemployment, and imbalances in real resource prices.

short-run aggregate supply curve – A graphical representation of the short-run relation between real production and the price level, holding all ceteris paribus aggregate supply determinants constant. The short-run aggregate supply, or SRAS, curve is one of two curves that graphical capture the supply-side of the aggregate market; the other is the long-run aggregate supply curve (LRAS). The demand-side of the aggregate market is occupied by the aggregate demand curve. The positive slope of the SRAS curve captures the direct relation between real production and the price level that exists in the short run.

short-run equilibrium – The condition that exists for the aggregate market when the product and financial markets are in equilibrium, but the resource markets are not. This condition results in the short run because of worker misperceptions about real wages and/or rigid wages and prices. It is represented by the intersection of the AD (aggregate demand) curve and the SRAS (short-run aggregate supply) curve and can be greater than or less than full employment.

short-run production – An analysis of the production decision made by a firm in the short run, with the ultimate goal of explaining the law of supply and the upward-sloping supply curve. The central feature of this short-run analysis is the law of diminishing marginal returns, which results in the short run when larger amounts of a variable input, like labor, are added to a fixed input, like capital. This analysis of short-run production is but the first step in a brisk walk toward a better understanding of supply. Further steps include the cost of short-run production, especially marginal cost, and the market structure in which a firm operates, such as perfect competition or monopoly.

short-run production alternatives – A firm faces three production options in the short run based on a comparison between price, average total cost, and average variable cost. If price is greater than average total cost, a firm earns an economic profit by producing the quantity that equates marginal revenue with marginal cost. If price is less than average total cost but greater than average variable cost, a firm incurs an economic loss, but produces the quantity that equates marginal revenue with marginal cost. If price is less than average variable cost, a firm shuts down production in the short run, incurring an economic loss equal to total fixed cost.

short-run supply curve – For a perfectly competitive firm, the marginal cost curve that lies above the average variable cost curve. This segment of the marginal cost guides a perfectly competitive firm’s profit maximizing production as it equates price to marginal cost. Because the marginal cost curve is positively sloped (due to the law of diminishing marginal returns), each firm’s supply curve and the market supply curve are also positively sloped. The law of diminishing marginal returns thus provides an explanation for the law of supply. However, this only works for firms with NO market control. Monopoly, monopolistic competition, and oligopoly, with market control, do not achieve the same result.

monopolistic competition short-run supply curve – Market control by a monopolistically competitive firm means that it does not have a supply relation between the quantity of output produced and the price. By way of comparison a perfectly competitive firm DOES have a short-run supply curve. The small amount of market control by a monopolistically competitive firm means that its’ price is NOT equal to marginal revenue, and thus it does NOT equate marginal cost and price. As such, a monopolistically competitive firm does not move along it’s marginal cost curve. A monopolistic competition does not necessarily supply larger quantities at higher prices or smaller quantities at lower prices.

monopoly short-run supply curve – Market control by a monopoly firm means that it does not have a supply relation between the quantity of output produced and the price. By way of comparison a perfectly competitive firm does have a short-run supply curve. Market control by a monopoly means that it price is NOT equal to marginal revenue, and thus it does NOT equate marginal cost and price. As such, a monopoly firm does not move along it’s marginal cost curve. A monopoly does not necessarily supply larger quantities at higher prices or smaller quantities at lower prices.

shortage – A condition in the market in which the quantity demanded is greater than the quantity supplied at the existing price. A shortage occasionally goes by the terms excess demand and sellers’ market. A shortage causes an increase in the equilibrium price.

shutdown rule – A rule stating that firm minimizes economic loss by producing no output in the short run if price is less than average variable cost. In the short run, a firm incurs total fixed cost whether or not it produces any output. As such, if the market price is falls below average total cost, it must decide if the economic loss from producing the quantity of output that equates marginal revenue and marginal cost is more or less than the economic loss incurred with shutting down production in the short run (which is equal to total fixed cost).

monopoly shutdown rule – The marginal revenue and marginal cost approach to analyzing a monopoly firm’s short-run production decision can be used to identify circumstances in which a firm minimizes losses by shutting down production in the short run. If the market price falls below average total cost, it must decide if the economic loss from producing the quantity of output that equates marginal revenue and marginal cost is more or less than the economic loss incurred with shutting down production in the short run (which is equal to total fixed cost).

signalling – The use of low-cost, easy to obtain information about a product or commodity to indicate the quality of a product. Signalling occurs when buyers use features of a commodity or actions by the seller to indicate overall product quality. These signals can be either intended or unintended.

silver certificate – Paper currency issued by the U. S. Treasury from 1878 until the 1960s that could be exchanged for an equal value of silver. An occasional silver certificate will pop up in circulation, but for the most part they have been relegated to the storage vaults of collectors and have been replaced by Federal Reserve notes as the nation’s paper money.

simple expenditure multiplier – The ratio of the change in aggregate output (or gross domestic product) to an autonomous change in an aggregate expenditure (consumption expenditures, investment expenditures, government purchases, or net exports) when consumption is the only induced expenditure. This is the least complicated expenditure multiplier possible, based exclusively on induced consumption, and is the inverse of the marginal propensity to save. This simple multiplier becomes more complicated by adding other induced expenditures.

sixth rule of ignorance – The sixth of seven basic rules of the economy. It is a fact of life that obtaining information is a costly activity, it requires resources that have alternative uses. As such, no one knows everything and everyone is ignorant about something. I might know a lot about economics, but you can recite every line of every episode of “Gilligan’s Island”, and that weird-looking guy you bumped into at the store has a detailed account of everything you’ve done for the past five years.

slope – A measure of the flatness or steepness of line. It can be thought of as the ‘rise’ over the ‘run’, that is the change in the variable on the vertical axis (rise) divided by the change in the variable on the horizontal axis (run).

aggregate demand curve slope – The aggregate demand curve has a negative slope, reflecting the inverse relation between the price level and aggregate expenditures on real production. A higher price level is related to fewer aggregate expenditures and a lower price level is related to greater aggregate expenditures. The three reasons underlying the negative slope of the AD curve and the inverse relation between the price level and aggregate expenditures on real production are: real-balance effect; interest-rate effect; and net-export effect.

aggregate expenditures line slope – The positive slope of the aggregate expenditures line is the sum of the marginal propensity to consume (MPC), marginal propensity to invest (MPI), and marginal propensity for government purchases (MPG), less the marginal propensity to import (MPM). This slope is greater than zero but less than one, reflecting induced expenditures by the four macroeconomic sectors (household, business, government, and foreign). The slope of the aggregate expenditures line determines the magnitude of the multiplier process.

consumption line slope – The positive slope of the consumption line is also termed the marginal propensity to consume (MPC). This slope is greater than zero but less than one, reflecting induced consumption and the Keynesian psychological law of consumer behavior that consumption increases by less than the increase in income. The slope of the consumption line provides the foundation for the slope of the aggregate expenditures line and thus also affects the magnitude of the multiplier process.

government purchases line slope – The positive slope of the government purchases line is also termed the marginal propensity for government purchases (MPG). This slope is greater than zero but less than one, reflecting induced government purchases. The slope of the government purchases line affects the slope of the aggregate expenditures line and thus also affects the magnitude of the multiplier process.

investment line slope – The positive slope of the investment line is also termed the marginal propensity to invest (MPI). This slope is greater than zero but less than one, reflecting induced investment. The slope of the investment line affects the slope of the aggregate expenditures line and thus also affects the magnitude of the multiplier process.

long-run aggregate supply curve slope – The long-run aggregate supply (LRAS) curve is a vertical line with an infinite slope, reflecting the independent relation between the price level and aggregate real production. A higher price level is associated with the same real production as a lower price level. And this real production is that produced when resources are fully employed, that is, full-employment production. Real production is unaffected by the price level because prices are flexible in the long run. Long-run price flexibility ensures that ALL markets (product, financial, and resource) are in equilibrium.

net exports line slope – The negative slope of the net exports line is based on the marginal propensity to import (MPM). Because net exports are exports minus imports, the induced change in imports causes an opposite change in net exports. As such, the slope of the net exports line is negative, less than zero (but greater than negative one). The slope of the net exports line affects the slope of the aggregate expenditures line and thus also affects the magnitude of the multiplier process.

production possibilities curve slope – The numerical value of the slope of the production possibilities curve is the opportunity cost of producing the good measured on the horizontal axis.

saving line slope – The positive slope of the saving line is also termed the marginal propensity to save (MPS). This slope is greater than zero but less than one, reflecting induced saving and the Keynesian psychological law of consumer behavior that saving increases by less than the increase in income. The slope of the saving line provides the foundation for the slope of the leakages line used in the injections-leakages model. It thus also affects the magnitude of the multiplier process.

short-run aggregate supply curve slope – The short-run aggregate supply (SRAS) curve has a positive slope, reflecting the direct relation between the price level and aggregate real production. A higher price level is related to more real production and a lower price level is related to less real production. The general reason is similar to that of market supply curves–the opportunity cost of production–three specific reasons can be identified: (1) inflexible resource prices that often makes it easier to reduce aggregate real production and resource employment when the price level falls; (2) the pool of natural unemployment, consisting of frictional and structural unemployment, that can be used temporarily to increase aggregate real production when the price level rises; and (3) imbalances in the purchasing power of resource prices that can temporarily entice resource owners to produce more or less aggregate real production than the would at full employment.

small business – The businesses in our economy that individually produce very little output, have little or no market control, but collectively produce about half of our total production. Most small business owners may aspire to the ranks of the second estate, but they’re card-carrying members of the third.

Small Business Administration – An independent federal agency that was started in 1953 to help small business. It provides a variety of assistance, including financial, technical, and managerial help. It helps other agencies in the federal government direct contracts and spending in the direction of proprietorships and small corporations. It also provides low interest loans to small businesses that suffer from natural disasters.

social regulation – Government regulation that addresses specific social problems, including pollution, product safety, worker safety, and discrimination. The late 1960s and early 1970s was a period of considerable social regulation. Within a 10-year period the government established several regulatory agencies, including Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and Consumer Product Safety Commission, to deal with social problems.

social science – The scientific study of society–of human behavior and of social interactions. Several social sciences are economics, sociology, political science, and anthropology. Economics is considered a social science because it seeks to explain how society deals with the scarcity problem.

Social Security – A system for providing financial assistance to the poor, elderly, and disabled. The social security system in the United States was established by the Social Security Act (1935) in response to the devastating problems of the Great Depression. Our current Social Security system has several parts. The first part, Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) is the one the usually comes to mind when the phrase “Social Security” comes up. It provides benefits to anyone who has reached a certain age and who has paid taxes into the program while employed. It also provides benefits to qualified recipients survivors or dependents. The second part of the system is Disability Insurance (DI), which provides benefits to workers and their dependents in the case of physical disabilities that keeps them from working. The third part is Hospital Insurance (HI), more commonly termed medicare. Medicare provides two types of benefits, hospital coverage for anyone in the OASI part of the system and optional supplemental medical benefits that require a monthly insurance premium. The last part of the social security system is Public Assistance (PA), which is the official term for welfare and is covered under it’s own heading.

Social Security tax – A tax on wage earnings that’s used to fund the Social Security system. In principle, the Social Security tax is divided equally between employer and employee–your share is listed under the FICA heading of your paycheck. In practice, however, employees really end up paying both employee and employer contributes. The reason is that employers need to consider the entire cost of hiring an employee, including wages, fringe benefits, and assorted taxes. The more they pay in these nonwage items, like Social Security taxes, the less they pay in wages. In that the Social security tax is only on earnings, and excludes profit, interest, and rent, it tends to be a regressive tax.

socialism – In theory, an economy that is a transition between capitalism and communism. It is based on–(1) government, rather than individual, ownership of resources, (2) worker control of the government, such that workers, rather than capitalist, control capital and other productive resources, (3) income allocated on need rather than on resource ownership or contribution to production (using the needs standard rather than the contributive standard).

solidarity – The rallying cry for organized labor and the labor union movement that has attempted to cut across industries and occupations, based on an “us versus them” view of the labor market. The “us” are the workers and the “them” are the employers. This solidarity notion presumes that when one worker wins a battle against an employer then all workers win.

solvency – The condition of a business when liabilities (excluding any ownership equity) are less than assets. In other words, the business is doing fine and able to pay all of it’s debts. This is most important when contrasted with the alternative, insolvency.

Sotheby’s – An English auction house founded by Samuel Baker in 1774. Originally, Sotheby’s activities as an auctioneer focused on books. Today the company, which is one of the leading auction houses internationally, has expanded its scope to cover all areas of fine art, antiques, jewelry and real estate. On each sale, Sotheby’s collects commissions and fees from both the buyer and the seller. In addition to auction operations, Sotheby’s is also involved in a number of related activities, including the purchase and resale of art and other collectibles and the brokering of art and collectible purchases and sales through private treaty sales.

space – The final frontier… to boldly go where no one has gone before. Space represents a key dimension of the land category of scarce resources. The space of land provides a place for locating productive activity. This becomes most important in terms of accessibility, which is one location relative to other locations.

spatial – A modifying term used to indicate a connection or relation to space, and by inference the study of urban and regional economics, as suggested by the term spatial differentiation (which means differences in the concentration of economic activity across space). This term is commonly used to make people some exceedingly intelligent by asking questions like “Did you consider spatial factors in your analysis?” However, in so doing be careful that the word is pronounced “spatial”, not “special.” This just confuses the situation.

spatial differentiation – The notion that economic activity is not evenly dispersed across the land. That is, goods, services, resources, production, and consumption are more concentrated at some locations and less concentrated at other locations due to natural endowments and human activity. The result is that no two location points have exactly the same access to inputs or outputs. This is a fundamental principle underlying the study of urban and regional economics and implies that firms and households must include transportation cost and location in production and consumption decisions.

Special Drawing Rights – A system of accounts nations have with International Monetary Fund that are used to settle any balance of payments deficits. In essence, SDRs are simply an international currency that makes it easier to conduct all sorts of international transactions. In decades past, when gold was used as the primary international currency, any balance of payments deficits was paid with gold. However, in 1967 this system of SDRs was established in lieu of sending gold all over the globe.

special interest group – A group that has more to gain or lose from some candidate, issue, or policy and thus tries extra hard to ensure that the political system is aware of their preferences. Some special interest groups can be fairly tame, merely voting in elections for their chosen candidate, while others are quite active. The more active ones form political action committees and undertake all forms of lobbying (legal and illegal). The ultimate success of special interest groups arises from the inclination of other people to choose rational ignorance and rational abstention.

specialization – The condition in which resources are primarily devoted to specific tasks. This is one of THE most important and most fundamental notions in the study of economics. Civilized human beings have long recognized that limited resources can be more effectively used in the production the goods and services that satisfy unlimited wants and needs if those resources specialize. For example, three ice cream parlor workers, can be, in total, more productive if one runs the cash register, another scoops the ice cream, and a third adds the hot fudge topping. By devoting their energies to learning how to do their respective tasks really, really well, these three workers can produce more hot fudge sundaes than if each performed all required tasks.

specific tariff – A tax on imports that is specified as a money amount that is levied per unit of imports. This is one form of trade barrier that’s intended to restrict imports into a country. Unlike nontariff barriers and quotas, which increase prices and thus revenue received by domestic producers, an ad valorem tariff generates revenue for the government. For example: a specific tariff of $5 for every TV imported.

speculation – Buying an asset with the intent of reselling it later at a higher price. The purpose of speculation is simply to buy low today and sell high tomorrow. Those who engage in speculation have no reason for buying the asset, other than resale at a later time. Such speculation is quite common in most financial markets (futures markets are a particular favorite), but it’s also a motive for those who have “investments” in fine art, baseball cards, coins, and real estate.

spot – The sale of a commodity for immediately delivery on the “spot.” Most stuff that consumers purchase are what we could call spot transactions. You give the store some money and go home with your purchase. Much buying and selling in financial markets is also of the spot transaction variety. For example, you give your stock broker $100,000 and “take home” 2,000 shares of Omni Conglomerate, Inc. stock. To appreciate why it’s necessary to have a name for these sorts of transactions, you need to examine futures.

SRAS curve – A graphical representation of the short-run relation between real production and the price level, holding all ceteris paribus aggregate supply determinants constant. The short-run aggregate supply, or SRAS, curve is one of two curves that graphical capture the supply-side of the aggregate market; the other is the long-run aggregate supply curve (LRAS). The demand-side of the aggregate market is occupied by the aggregate demand curve. The positive slope of the SRAS curve captures the direct relation between real production and the price level that exists in the short run.

stability – Limiting macroeconomic fluctuations in prices, employment, and production. This is one of the five economic goals, specifically one of the three macro goals (the other two are economic growth and full employment). One primary focus of this stability goal is to keep inflation in check. High or unpredictable inflation rates can cause uncertainty and haphazardly redistribute income and wealth.

stabilization policies – Economic policies undertaken by government to counteract business cycle fluctuations and prevent high rates of unemployment and inflation. These are also termed counter-cyclical policies. To counter a business cycle contraction and high rates of unemployment, expansionary policies that promote increasing economic activity are appropriate. To counter an inflationary expansion, contractionary policies are recommended.

stable equilibrium – An equilibrium that is restored if disrupted by an external force. This should be contrasted with unstable equilibrium. Most equilibria studied in economics are of the stable variety. The most common example is market equilibrium. Should the existing market equilibrium be disrupted by a change in one of the demand or supply determinants, the resulting shortage or surplus causes the price to change, which causes changes in quantity demanded and quantity supplied needed to restore equilibrium. The new equilibrium may by, and probably is, at a different equilibrium price and quantity, but it is equilibrium, and it will remain there until disrupted by an external force.

stages of production – The three stages of production characterized by the slope and shape of the total product curve. The first stage is characterized by an increasingly positive slope. The second stage by a decreasingly positive slope. And the third stage by a negative slope. Because the slope of the total product curve IS marginal product, these three stages are also seen with marginal product. In Stage I, marginal product is positive and increasing. In Stage II, marginal product is positive, but decreasing. And in Stage III, marginal product is negative.

stagflation – High inflation rates at the same time the economy has high unemployment rates. Throughout much of the economic history of the good old U. S. of A., we’ve seen a tradeoff between inflation and unemployment. During an expansion, inflation is usually higher and unemployment is lower. The opposite has tended to occur during a recession. In the 1970s, however, inflation worsened at the same time the economy dropped into a recession. This led economists not only to coin the term stagflation (stagnation + inflation), but also to reevaluate the existing explanation of how the economy works.

Standard & Poor’s 500 – Term Standard & Poor’s 500 Definition:

standard of deferred payment – The money function in which money is used as a standard benchmark for specifying future payments for current purchases, that is, buying now and paying later. This function may seem obscure, but it is a direct result of the store of value and measure of value functions. This is one of four basic functions of money. The other three are medium of exchange, measure of value, and store of value.

standard of living – In principle, an economy’s ability to produce the goods and services that consumers use to satisfy their wants and needs. In practice, it is the average real gross domestic product per person–usually given the name per capita real GDP.

state bonds – Are medium or long-term financial instruments (called bonds) issued by state governments to borrow funds used to build schools, highways, parks and other public projects. An attractive feature of these financial instruments is that are exempt from federal income tax and are also usually exempt from state income tax. Commercial banks, corporations, and others with large sums of funds to lend usually purchase these bonds.

statistical discrepancy – The official adjustment factor in the National Income and Product Accounts that ensures equality between the income and expenditures approaches to measuring gross domestic product. This is one of several differences between national income (the resource cost of production) and gross/net domestic product (the market value of production). For further discussion of this point, see gross domestic product and national income or net domestic product and national income. This statistical discrepancy tends to be relatively small, usually less than 1% of gross domestic product.

sticky prices – The proposition that some prices adjust slowly in response to market shortages or surpluses. This condition is most important for macroeconomic activity in the short run and short-run aggregate market analysis. In particular, sticky (also termed rigid or inflexible) prices are a key reason underlying the positive slope of the short-run aggregate supply curve. Prices tend to be the most sticky in resource markets, especially labor markets, and the least sticky in financial markets, with product markets falling somewhere in between.

sticky wages – The proposition that some wages adjust slowly in response to labor market shortages or surpluses. This condition is most important for macroeconomic activity in the short run and short-run aggregate market analysis. In particular, sticky (also termed rigid or inflexible) wages are a key reason underlying the positive slope of the short-run aggregate supply curve.

stock – A variable or measurement that is defined for an instant in time (as opposed to a period of time). A stock can only be measured at a specific point in time. For example, money is the stock of production that exists right now. Other important stock measures are population, employment, capital, and business inventories.

stock market – A financial market that trades ownership shares in corporations–corporate stock. The three best known, national stock markets in the United States are the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange, and the National Association of Securities Dealers. There are also a few regional markets–the Chicago, Philadelphia, and Pacific exchanges are the most notable that trade stock on a smaller scale. Other countries that use corporations to produce stuff, all of the industrialized ones, also have stock markets. The biggest and most worthy of attention are in Tokyo, London, Toronto, Frankfurt, and Paris. Stock markets play a vital role in our economy, making it possible for businesses to raise the large sums of money needed for investment.

store of value – The money function in which money is used as a means of to postponing the satisfaction obtained from using or consuming goods until a later time. Value is obtained from a good when it is consumed, when it is used to satisfy wants and needs. The value from consuming goods can be stored in several different ways, one of the best is money. This is one of four basic functions of money. The other three are medium of exchange, measure of value, and standard of deferred payment.

strategic planning – The process by which a company develops a mission statement, organizational goals, company strategies, marketing objectives, marketing strategies, and finally a marketing plan. Utilizing marketing and focusing on the customer during this process helps ensure the customer will achieve the greatest level of satisfaction. Strategic planning typically begins with environmental scanning followed by a SWOT analysis.

strike – An agreement of workers, usually the members of a union, to stop working. The objective of a strike is to encourage an employer to raise workers’ wages or to improve working conditions. Strikes can be a powerful tool for unions to overcome the market control of employers or to gain a negotiating edge in collective bargaining. They can also create frustrating production bottlenecks that are ultimately suffered by underappreciated consumers.

strikebreaker – Someone who starts working or continues to work for a firm while a labor union is engaged in a strike of the firm. Strikebreaker is the polite name for such a person. Striking union members are more inclined to use the term scab (or something even more derogatory). As the name strikebreaker suggests, such workers are used by employers to force union members to stop their strike and return to work. While strikers don’t like it, labor laws guarantee that nonstriking workers can cross the picket line and go to work.

structural unemployment – Unemployment caused by a mismatch between workers’ skills and skills needed for available jobs. Structural unemployment essentially occurs because resources, especially labor, are configured (trained) for a given technology but the economy demands goods and services using another technology. Employers seek workers how have one type of skill and workers who seek employment have a different type of skill. This mismatch in skills, which is largely the result of technological progress, creates unemployment of the structural variety. Structural unemployment is one of four unemployment sources. The other three are cyclical unemployment, seasonal unemployment, and frictional unemployment.

subsidy – A payment from government to individuals or businesses without any expectations of production. The best way of thinking about a subsidy is as a negative tax. Government extends subsidies for many different reasons. They go to students, unemployed workers, the poor, farmers, wealthy friends of political leaders, businesses trying to fend off foreign competitors, and the list could go on. Subsidies are frequently used to redirect resources from one good to another. Sometimes this is justified on efficiency grounds and other times it’s just the result of political power.

substitute – In terms of demand (that is, substitute-in-consumption), one of two goods that replace each other in consumption such that an increase in the price of one good leads to an increase in demand and a rightward shift in the demand curve for the other good. If the demand of good 1 increases as the price of good 2 increases, the goods are substitutes-in-consumption. In terms of supply (that is, substitute-in-production), one of two goods that replace each other in either producing using the same resources in an either/or fashion, such that an increase in the price of one good leads to a decrease in supply and a leftward shift in the supply curve for the other good. If the supply of good 1 decreases as the price of good 2 increases, the goods are substitutes-in-production.

substitute availability – One of three elasticity determinants (time period and budget proportion are the other two) stating that the elasticity of a good tends to be greater for a goods that have more close substitutes available. In other words, the price elasticity of demand for OmniCola (which has many very close beverage substitutes available) is greater than that for a gasoline (which has very few substitutes available). This elasticity determinant works for both the price elasticity of demand and the price elasticity of supply. For demand, we are concerned with the availability of substitutes-in-consumption and for supply we are concerned with the availability of substitutes-in-production.

substitute-in-consumption – One of two goods that can replace each other in consumption–that is, each provides the same basic satisfaction of wants and needs. A substitute good is one of two alternatives falling within the other prices determinant of demand. The other is complement good. An increase in the price of one substitute good causes an increase in demand for the other. A substitute good has a positive cross price elasticity.

substitute-in-production – One of two goods that can replace each other in production–that is, using resources to produce one good prevents their use in the other. A substitute good is one of two alternatives falling within the other prices determinant of supply. The other is complement-in-production. An increase in the price of one substitute-in-production causes a decrease in sup