Glossary of economics
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This glossary of economics is list of definitions about economics, its sub-disciplines, and related fields.
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- Absolute advantage – the ability of a party (an individual, or firm, or country) to produce a greater quantity of a good, product, or service than competitors, using the same amount of resources. (Resource cost advantage)
- Abandonment of the gold standard – When a government decides not to have their currency backed by gold reserves and instead adopt fiat money.
- Adaptive expectations – is a hypothesized process by which people form their expectations about what will happen in the future based on what has happened in the past.
- Aggregate demand – aggregate demand (AD) or domestic final demand (DFD) is the total demand for final goods and services in an economy at a given time. It specifies the amounts of goods and services that will be purchased at all possible price levels. This is the demand for the gross domestic product of a country. It is often called effective demand, though at other times this term is distinguished.
- Aggregate supply –
- Aggregation problem – is the difficult problem of finding a valid way to treat an empirical or theoretical aggregate as if it reacted like a less-aggregated measure, say, about behavior of an individual agent as described in general microeconomic theory.
- Agent – is an actor and more specifically a decision maker in a model of some aspect of the economy.
- Agricultural economics – is an applied field of economics concerned with the application of economic theory in optimizing the production and distribution of food.
- Allocative efficiency – is a state of the economy in which production represents consumer preferences; in particular, every good or service is produced up to the point where the last unit provides a marginal benefit to consumers equal to the marginal cost of producing. In the single-price model, at the point of allocative efficiency, price is equal to marginal cost.
- Antitrust law – Competition law is a law that promotes or seeks to maintain market competition by regulating anti-competitive conduct by companies. Competition law is implemented through public and private enforcement. Competition law is known as "antitrust law" in the United States for historical reasons, and as "anti-monopoly law" in China and Russia.
- Applied economics – is the application of economic theory and econometrics in specific settings. As one of the two sets of fields of economics (the other set being the core), it is typically characterized by the application of the core, i.e. economic theory and econometrics, to address practical issues in a range of fields.
- Appropriate technology – is a movement (and its manifestations) encompassing technological choice and application that is small-scale, decentralized, labor-intensive, energy-efficient, environmentally sound, and locally autonomous.
- Arbitrage – is the practice of taking advantage of a price difference between two or more markets: striking a combination of matching deals that capitalize upon the imbalance, the profit being the difference between the market prices.
- Arrow's impossibility theorem –
- Austrian School – is a heterodox school of economic thought that is based on methodological individualism—the concept that social phenomena result from the motivations and actions of individuals.
- Autarky – is the quality of being self-sufficient; the term is usually applied to political states or their economic systems. Autarky exists whenever an entity can survive or continue its activities without external assistance or international trade. If a self-sufficient economy also refuses all trade with the outside world then it is called a closed economy.
- Automatic stabilizer – is a feature of the structure of modern government budgets, particularly income taxes and welfare spending, that act to dampen fluctuations in real GDP.
- Autonomous consumption –
- Average cost – or unit cost is equal to total cost divided by the number of goods produced (the output quantity, Q). It is also equal to the sum of variable costs (total variable costs divided by Q) plus average fixed costs (total fixed costs divided by Q).
- Average fixed cost – is the fixed costs of production (FC) divided by the quantity (Q) of output produced. Fixed costs are those costs that must be incurred in fixed quantity regardless of the level of output produced.
- Average variable cost – is a firm's variable costs (labour, electricity, etc.) divided by the quantity of output produced. Variable costs are those costs which vary with the output.
- Average tax rate –
- Backward induction –
- Balance of payments –
- Balance of trade – The balance of trade, commercial balance, or net exports (sometimes symbolized as NX), is the difference between the monetary value of a nation's exports and imports over a certain period. Sometimes a distinction is made between a balance of trade for goods versus one for services. "Balance of trade" can be a misleading term because trade measures a flow of exports and imports over a given period of time, rather than a balance of exports and imports at a given point in time. Also, balance of trade does not mean that exports and imports are "in balance" with each other or anything else.
- Balanced budget – A balanced budget (particularly that of a government) is a budget in which revenues are equal to expenditures. Thus, neither a budget deficit nor a budget surplus exists (the accounts "balance"). More generally, it is a budget that has no budget deficit, but could possibly have a budget surplus. A cyclically balanced budget is a budget that is not necessarily balanced year-to-year, but is balanced over the economic cycle, running a surplus in boom years and running a deficit in lean years, with these offsetting over time.
- Bank – A bank is a financial institution that accepts deposits from the public and creates credit. Lending activities can be performed either directly or indirectly through capital markets. Due to their importance in the financial stability of a country, banks are highly regulated in most countries. Most nations have institutionalized a system known as fractional reserve banking under which banks hold liquid assets equal to only a portion of their current liabilities. In addition to other regulations intended to ensure liquidity, banks are generally subject to minimum capital requirements based on an international set of capital standards, known as the Basel Accords.
- Barriers to entry – In theories of competition in economics, a barrier to entry, or an economic barrier to entry, is a cost that must be incurred by a new entrant into a market that incumbents do not have or have not had to incur. Because barriers to entry protect incumbent firms and restrict competition in a market, they can contribute to distortionary prices and are therefore most important when discussing antitrust policy. Barriers to entry often cause or aid the existence of monopolies or give companies market power.
- Barter – In trade, barter (derived from baretor) is a system of exchange where participants in a transaction directly exchange goods or services for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money. Economists distinguish barter from gift economies in many ways; barter, for example, features immediate reciprocal exchange, not delayed in time. Barter usually takes place on a bilateral basis, but may be multilateral (i.e., mediated through a trade exchange). In most developed countries, barter usually only exists parallel to monetary systems to a very limited extent. Market actors use barter as a replacement for money as the method of exchange in times of monetary crisis, such as when currency becomes unstable (e.g., hyperinflation or a deflationary spiral) or simply unavailable for conducting commerce.
- Behavioral economics – studies the effects of psychological, cognitive, emotional, cultural and social factors on the economic decisions of individuals and institutions and how those decisions vary from those implied by classical theory.
- Bellman equation –
- Bequest motive –
- Bertrand–Edgeworth model –
- Black–Scholes model – The Black–Scholes /
/  or Black–Scholes–Merton model is a mathematical model for the dynamics of a financial market containing derivative investment instruments. From the partial differential equation in the model, known as the Black–Scholes equation, one can deduce the Black–Scholes formula, which gives a theoretical estimate of the price of European-style options and shows that the option has a unique price regardless of the risk of the security and its expected return (instead replacing the security's expected return with the risk-neutral rate). The formula led to a boom in options trading and provided mathematical legitimacy to the activities of the Chicago Board Options Exchange and other options markets around the world. It is widely used, although often with adjustments and corrections, by options market participants.:751
- Board of governors – It is the main governing body of the Federal Reserve of the United States that directs the operations of the Fed. Its seven members supervises the 12 Federal Reserve Districts.
- Bond – In finance, a bond is an instrument of indebtedness of the bond issuer to the holders. The most common types of bonds include municipal bonds and corporate bonds. The bond is a debt security, under which the issuer owes the holders a debt and (depending on the terms of the bond) is obliged to pay them interest (the coupon) or to repay the principal at a later date, termed the maturity date. Interest is usually payable at fixed intervals (semiannual, annual, sometimes monthly). Very often the bond is negotiable, that is, the ownership of the instrument can be transferred in the secondary market. This means that once the transfer agents at the bank medallion stamp the bond, it is highly liquid on the secondary market.
- Break-even (economics) – The break-even point (BEP) in economics, business—and specifically cost accounting—is the point at which total cost and total revenue are equal, i.e. "even". There is no net loss or gain, and one has "broken even", though opportunity costs have been paid and capital has received the risk-adjusted, expected return. In short, all costs that must be paid are paid, and there is neither profit nor loss.
- Bretton Woods system –
- Budget deficit –
- Budget set –
- Budget surplus –
- Big push model –
- Business cycle – The business cycle, also known as the economic cycle or trade cycle, is the downward and upward movement of gross domestic product (GDP) around its long-term growth trend. The length of a business cycle is the period of time containing a single boom and contraction in sequence. These fluctuations typically involve shifts over time between periods of relatively rapid economic growth (expansions or booms), and periods of relative stagnation or decline (contractions or recessions).
- Business economics – is a field in applied economics which uses economic theory and quantitative methods to analyze business enterprises and the factors contributing to the diversity of organizational structures and the relationships of firms with labour, capital and product markets.
- Business sector – the business sector or corporate sector - sometimes popularly called simply "business" - is "the part of the economy made up by companies". It is a subset of the domestic economy,
- Capacity utilization –
- Capital –
- Capital cost –
- Capital flight –
- Capital good –
- Central bank –
- Circular flow of income –
- Circulation –
- Comparative Advantage – The ability to produce most efficiently given all of the other products that could be produced. (Opportunity cost advantage)
- Competition law –
- Complementary good – Goods that are bought and used together.
- Computational economics –
- Consumer choice –
- Consumer confidence –
- Consumer price index –
- Consumer surplus –
- Consumption –
- Consumption function –
- Contract curve –
- Contract theory –
- Convexity –
- Cost –
- Cost-benefit analysis –
- Cost curve –
- Cost-of-production theory of value –
- Cost overrun –
- Credit bureau –
- Credit card –
- Creditor –
- Credit rating –
- Crowding out –
- Cultural economics –
- Currency –
- Current account –
- Cyclical unemployment – Unemployment resulting from the business cycle. It is unpredictable.
- Deadweight loss –
- Deflation –
- Deflator –
- Demand deposit –
- Demand shock –
- Deregulation –
- Diminishing returns –
- Depression –
- Discretionary income –
- Disposable income –
- Dissaving –
- Distribution –
- Duopoly – A situation in which there are only two suppliers for a good or service.
- Dynamic stochastic general equilibrium –
- Econometrics –
- Economic efficiency –
- Economic equilibrium –
- Economic growth –
- Economic indicator – Any measurable unit of the economy which helps economists make predictions or assess the past such as unemployment and gross domestic product.
- Economic model –
- Economic rent –
- Economic shortage –
- Economic surplus – The state in which supply of a good exceeds demand, usually as a result of the current price being below the economic equilibrium.
- Economic system –
- Economics –
- Economies of scale –
- Economist –
- Economy –
- Effective demand –
- Elastic demand – Demand that is not sensitive to price changes.
- Elasticity –
- Engineering economics –
- Environmental economics –
- Equal opportunity –
- Equilibrium – The point at which quantity demanded and quantity supplied are equal and both consumer and producer are satisfied.
- Equity (economics) –
- Excess supply –
- Exchange rate –
- Excludability –
- Expected utility hypothesis –
- Expeditionary economics -
- Experimental economics –
- Externality –
- Factors of production –
- Federal funds rate target –
- Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) – The 12 member committee in the Federal Reserve that meets several times a year to decide the course of action that the Fed should take to control the money supply of the United States.
- Federal Reserve System (United States) – Also known as the Fed, it is the central bank of the United States. It was created by Congress in 1913 and it is charged with the duty of regulating the money supply and monitoring its member banks.
- Financial economics –
- Fiscal policy –
- Fixed cost –
- Foreign exchange market – The foreign exchange market (Forex, FX, or currency market) is a global decentralized or over-the-counter (OTC) market for the trading of currencies. This market determines the foreign exchange rate. It includes all aspects of buying, selling and exchanging currencies at current or determined prices. In terms of trading volume, it is by far the largest market in the world, followed by the Credit market.
- Free trade – Trading with other countries with little or no trade barriers.
- Frictional unemployment – Unemployment that is a result of workers moving from one job to another, as opposed to Structural Unemployment.
- Full employment –
- Functions of money –
- Future value –
- General equilibrium theory –
- General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money –
- Goods and services –
- Government – The laws, agents, and agencies who make, execute, and interpret laws and make decisions for us.
- Government Revenue - Money received by all three levels of government (federal, state, and local) in the form of taxes and tariffs.
- Government spending – Money spent by any of the three levels of government (federal, state, and local) for public services.
- Gross domestic product –
- Housing starts – The number of new houses being built during a period of time.
- Hyperinflation – Monetary inflation occurring at an extremely high rate.
- Implicit cost –
- Import quota –
- Imports –
- Incentive –
- Income distribution –
- Income effect – The change in consumption resulting from a change in income.
- Indifference curve –
- Industrial organization –
- Industry – A sector of the economy where different firms produce similar or identical goods or services.
- Inelastic demand – Demand that is not very sensitive to a change in price.
- Inflation –
- Information economics –
- Interest –
- Interest rate –
- International economics –
- Intertemporal choice –
- Inventory bounce -
- Investment –
- IS–LM model –
- Labour economics –
- Law of demand – Economic rule stating that the quantity demanded and price move in opposite directions.
- Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility – Economic rule stating that the additional satisfaction a consumer gets from purchasing one more unit of a product will decrease with each additional unit purchased.
- Law of increasing costs –
- Law of supply –
- Lease –
- List of symbols –
- Local taxes – Taxes paid to a city or county for example sales taxes, school taxes, or property taxes.
- Long-term financing –
- Loose money policy – Monetary policy that makes credit inexpensive and abundant, possibly leading to inflation.
- Macroeconomics –
- Major trading partner – In international trading, a country, or countries, with which one country trades with more than with others.
- Managerial economics –
- Marginal cost – The incremental cost of producing one additional unit.
- Marginal product of labor –
- Marginal propensity to consume –
- Marginal revenue – The additional income from selling one more unit of a good; sometimes equal to price.
- Marginal utility – The additional usefulness from consuming one more unit of a product.
- Marginal value –
- Market –
- Market basket –
- Market economy –
- Market failure –
- Market structure –
- Market system –
- Microeconomics –
- Monetary economics –
- Monetary policy –
- Monetary system –
- Money – Anything customarily used as a medium of exchange, a unit of accounting, and a store of value.
- Money supply –
- Monopolistic competition – Market situation in which a large number of sellers offer similar but slightly different products and in which each has some control over price.
- Monopoly –
- Monopsony –
- Mortgage –
- Motivation –
- Multipler –
- Nash equilibrium –
- National taxes – Taxes paid to the federal government for example income tax, tariffs, and social security taxes.
- National wealth – The total value of capital and private property that is owned within a country.
- Natural monopoly –
- Natural resource economics –
- Non-convexity –
- Non-price determinant of demand – A reason other than price, that changes the will to buy a good or a service, for example, fads, income, taste, future expectation, and population.
- Participation –
- Per capita – (usually at the end of an economic indicator) a unit of account per person.
- Perfect competition – A market structure in which a large number of firms all produce identical products.
- Personal property – Possessions such as jewelry, furniture, and real estate that people can amass through time.
- Physical capital – All human-made goods that are used to produce other goods and services; tools, machines, and buildings.
- Preference –
- Price – The amount of money it takes to buy a product or produce a product.
- Price ceiling – A government-regulated maximum price that can be legally charged for a good or service.
- Price elasticity of demand –
- Price elasticity of supply –
- Price floor – A government-regulated minimum price for a good or service.
- Price index –
- Price level –
- Prime rate –
- Producer surplus –
- Product differentiation –
- Production –
- Production set –
- Profit –
- Progressive tax – A tax schedule that states that the more income one earns, the higher the tax rate will be.
- Proportional tax – Also known as flat tax, it is a tax schedule that states that regardless of income, the same tax rate will be applied to all income earners.
- Proxemics –
- Public economics –
- Public good –
- Purchasing power parity –
- Quantity theory of money –
- Quota – A limited quantity of a product that can be produced, imported, or exported.
- Rate of profit –
- Rational expectations –
- Real income effect – The change in consumption resulting from a change in income, adjusted for inflation.
- Real GDP – GDP that has been adjusted for inflation by applying the price deflator.
- Recession – Part of the business cycle in which the nation's output (real GDP) does not grow for at least six months.
- Regional science –
- Regressive tax – A tax schedule that states that the more one earns, the lower the tax burden.
- Regulation – Government restrictions on a business firm that usually helps consumers or the environment.
- Retail Sales – Purchases of finished goods and services by households and firms.
- Returns to scale –
- Revenue – Total income from sales of output.
- Rights –
- Right to work laws – State laws forbidding unions from forcing workers to join and pay union dues.
- Risk aversion –
- Rivalry –
- Saving –
- Scarcity –
- Shift work –
- Shortage –
- Social behavior –
- Social choice theory –
- Social mobility –
- Sociality –
- Stagflation – Simultaneous economic phenomenon where inflation and unemployment are both rising.
- State tax – Taxes paid to a state government for example sales taxes, state income tax, and license plate fees.
- Substitution effect – When consumers react to an increase in a good's price by consuming less of that good and more of other goods.
- Substitute good – A product that can satisfy the utility of another.
- Structural unemployment – Unemployment created due to the decrease in demand for the skills of a worker.
- Sunk costs –
- Supply – The amount of goods produced and available.
- Supply and demand –
- Supply chain –
- Supply curve – A graph of the quantity supplied of a good at different prices.
- Supply Schedule – A chart that lists how much of a good a supplier will offer at different prices.
- Supply shock – A sudden shortage of a good.
- System –
- Tax rate –
- Terms of trade – The rules that countries impose on each other in order to trade with each other.
- Theory of the firm –
- Thermoeconomics –
- Total cost –
- Trade –
- Transaction cost –
- Trough –
- Underemployment – Working at a job for which one is overqualified, or working part-time when full-time work is desired.
- Unemployment – Under utilization of a factor of production, including labor.
- Uniform –
- is a type of clothing worn by members of an organization while participating in that organization's activity.
- Unit of account –
- Unitary elastic –
- Unskilled labor – Labor that requires no specialized skills, education, or training.
- Utility – Usefulness of a good or service in order to satisfy a need or a want.
- Variable cost – are costs that change in proportion to the good or service that a business produces. Variable costs are also the sum of marginal costs over all units produced.
- Velocity of money – The term "velocity of money" (also "The velocity of circulation of money") refers to how fast money passes from one holder to the next. It can refer to the income velocity of money, which is the frequency at which the average same unit of currency is used to purchase newly domestically-produced goods and services within a given time period. In other words, it is the number of times one unit of money is spent to buy goods and services per unit of time.
- Wealth effect – is the change in spending that accompanies a change in perceived wealth. Usually the wealth effect is positive: spending changes in the same direction as perceived wealth.
- Willingness to accept –
- Willingness to pay –
- Yield –
- Zero-sum –
Sexton, Robert; Fortura, Peter (2005). Exploring Economics. ISBN 0-17-641482-7.
This is the sum of the demand for all final goods and services in the economy. It can also be seen as the quantity of real GDP demanded at different price levels.
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