abatementPractices to limit or reverse environmental damages. See also: abatement policy.abatement policyA policy designed to reduce environmental damages. See also: abatement.absolute advantageA person or country has this in the production of a good if the inputs it uses to produce this good are less than in some other person or country. See also: comparative advantage.accountabilityThe obligation of a decision-maker (or body) to be responsive to the needs and wishes of people affected by his, her or its decisions.acyclicalNo tendency to move either in the same or opposite direction to aggregate output and employment over the business cycle.adjustment gapThe lag between some outside change in labour market conditions and the movement of the economy to the neighbourhood of the new equilibrium.administratively feasiblePolicies for which the government has sufficient information and staff for implementation.adverse selectionThe problem faced by parties to an exchange in which the terms offered by one party will cause some exchange partners to drop out. An example is the problem of asymmetric information in insurance: if the price is sufficiently high, the only people who will seek to purchase medical insurance are people who know they are ill (but the insurer does not). This will lead to further price increases to cover costs. Also referred to as the ‘hidden attributes’ problem (the state of already being ill is the hidden attribute), to distinguish it from the ‘hidden actions’ problem of moral hazard. See also: incomplete contract, moral hazard, asymmetric information.aggregate demandThe total of the components of spending in the economy, added to get GDP: Y = C + I + G + X – M. It is the total amount of demand for (or expenditure on) goods and services produced in the economy. See also: consumption, investment, government spending, exports, imports.aggregate outputThe total output in an economy, across all sectors and regions.allocationA description of who does what, the consequences of their actions, and who gets what as a result.altruismThe willingness to bear a cost in order to benefit somebody else.antitrust policyGovernment policy and laws to limit monopoly power and prevent cartels. Also known as: competition policy.arbitrageThe practice of buying a good at a low price in a market to sell it at a higher price in another. Traders engaging in arbitrage take advantage of the price difference for the same good between two countries or regions. As long as the trade costs are lower than the price gap, they make a profit. See also: price gap.artificially scarce goodA public good that it is possible to exclude some people from enjoying. Also known as: club good.assetAnything of value that is owned. See also: balance sheet, liability.asset price bubbleSustained and significant rise in the price of an asset fuelled by expectations of future price increases.asymmetric informationInformation that is relevant to the parties in an economic interaction, but is known by some but not by others. See also: adverse selection, moral hazard.austerityA policy where a government tries to improve its budgetary position in a recession by increasing its saving. See also: paradox of thrift.automatic stabilizersCharacteristics of the tax and transfer system in an economy that have the effect of offsetting an expansion or contraction of the economy. An example is the unemployment benefits system.automationThe use of machines that are substitutes for labour.autonomous consumptionConsumption that is independent of current income.autonomous demandComponents of aggregate demand that are independent of current income.average costThe total cost of the firms’s output divided by the total number of units of output.average productTotal output divided by a particular input, for example per worker (divided by the number of workers) or per worker per hour (total output divided by the total number of hours of labour put in).balance of payments (BP)This records the sources and uses of foreign exchange. This account records all payment transactions between the home country and the rest of the world, and is divided into two parts: the current account and the capital and financial account. Also known as: balance of payments account.balance sheetA record of the assets, liabilities, and net worth of an economic actor such as a household, bank, firm, or government.bankA firm that creates money in the form of bank deposits in the process of supplying credit.bank bailoutThe government buys an equity stake in a bank or some other intervention to prevent it from failing.bank moneyMoney in the form of bank deposits created by commercial banks when they extend credit to firms and households.bank runA situation in which depositors withdraw funds from a bank because they fear that it may go bankrupt and not honour its liabilities (that is, not repay the funds owed to depositors).bargaining gapThe difference between the real wage that firms wish to offer in order to provide workers with incentives to work, and the real wage that allows firms the markup that maximizes profits given the degree of competition.bargaining powerThe extent of a person’s advantage in securing a larger share of the economic rents made possible by an interaction.base moneyCash held by households, firms, and banks, and the balances held by commercial banks in their accounts at the central bank, known as reserves. Also known as: high-powered money.best responseIn game theory, the strategy that will give a player the highest payoff, given the strategies that the other players select.Beveridge curveThe inverse relationship between the unemployment rate and the job vacancy rate (each expressed as a fraction of the labour force). Named after the British economist of the same name.biodiversity loss (rate of)Proportion of species that become extinct every year.biologically feasibleAn allocation that is capable of sustaining the survival of those involved is biologically feasible.biological survival constraintThis shows all the points that are ‘biologically feasible’. See also: biologically feasibile.bondA type of financial asset for which the issuer promises to pay a given amount over time to the holder. Also known as: corporate bonds.Bretton Woods systemAn international monetary system of fixed but adjustable exchange rates, established at the end of the Second World War. It replaced the gold standard that was abandoned during the Great Depression.broad moneyThe stock of money in circulation, which is defined as the sum of bank money and the base money that is in the hands of the non-bank public. See also: bank money.budget constraintAn equation that represents all combinations of goods and services that one could acquire that exactly exhaust one’s budgetary resources.business cycleAlternating periods of faster and slower (or even negative) growth rates. The economy goes from boom to recession and back to boom. See also: short-run equilibrium.capacity-constrainedA situation in which a firm has more orders for its output than it can fill. See also: low capacity utilization.capacity utilization rateA measure of the extent to which a firm, industry, or entire economy is producing as much as the stock of its capital goods and current knowledge would allow.cap and tradeA policy through which a limited number of permits to pollute are issued, and can be bought and sold on a market. It combines a quantity-based limit on emissions, and a price-based approach that places a cost on environmentally damaging decisions.capital goodsThe durable and costly non-labour inputs used in production (machinery, buildings) not including some essential inputs, e.g. air, water, knowledge that are used in production at zero cost to the user.capital intensity (of production)The amount of capital goods per worker.capital-intensiveMaking greater use of capital goods (for example machinery and equipment) as compared with labour and other inputs. See also: labour-intensive.capitalismAn economic system in which the main form of economic organization is the firm, in which the private owners of capital goods hire labour to produce goods and services for sale on markets with the intent of making a profit. The main economic institutions in a capitalist economic system, then, are private property, markets, and firms.capitalist revolutionRapid improvements in technology combined with the emergence of a new economic system.capital productivityOutput per unit of capital good. See also: labour productivity.cartelA group of firms that collude in order to increase their joint profits.catch-up growthThe process by which many (but far from all) economies in the world close the gap between the world leader and their own economy.categorical inequalityInequality between particular social groups (identified, for instance, by a category such as race, nation, caste, gender or religion). Also known as: group inequality.causalityA direction from cause to effect, establishing that a change in one variable produces a change in another. While a correlation is simply an assessment that two things have moved together, causation implies a mechanism accounting for the association, and is therefore a more restrictive concept. See also: natural experiment, correlation.central bankThe only bank that can create base money. Usually part of the government. Commercial banks have accounts at this bank, holding base money.ceteris paribusEconomists often simplify analysis by setting aside things that are thought to be of less importance to the question of interest. The literal meaning of the expression is ‘other things equal’. In an economic model it means an analysis ‘holds other things constant’.club good See also: artificially scarce good, public good.codified knowledgeKnowledge that can be written down in a form that would allow it to be understood by others and reproduced, such as the chemical formula for a drug. See also: tacit knowledge.co-insuranceA means of pooling savings across households in order for a household to be able to maintain consumption when it experiences a temporary fall in income or the need for greater expenditure.collateralAn asset that a borrower pledges to a lender as a security for a loan. If the borrower is not able to make the loan payments as promised, the lender becomes the owner of the asset.collateralized debt obligation (CDO)A structured financial instrument (a derivative) consisting of a bond or note backed by a pool of fixed-income assets. The collapse in the value of the instruments of this type that were backed by subprime mortgage loans was a major factor in the financial crisis of 2007–2008.commoditiesPhysical goods traded in a manner similar to stocks. They include metals such as gold and silver, and agricultural products such as coffee and sugar, oil and gas. Sometimes more generally used to mean anything produced for sale.common currency areaA group of countries that use the same currency. This means there is just one monetary policy for the group. Also known as: currency union.common-pool resourceA rival good that one cannot prevent others from enjoying. Also known as: common property resource.comparative advantageA person or country has comparative advantage in the production of a particular good, if the cost of producing an additional unit of that good relative to the cost of producing another good is lower than another person or country’s cost to produce the same two goods. See also: absolute advantage.competition policyGovernment policy and laws to limit monopoly power and prevent cartels. Also known as: antitrust policy.competitive equilibriumA market outcome in which all buyers and sellers are price-takers, and at the prevailing market price, the quantity supplied is equal to the quantity demanded.complementsTwo goods for which an increase in the price of one leads to a decrease in the quantity demanded of the other. See also: substitutes.compound annual growth rate (CAGR)The average annual compound growth rate over a given time period.concave functionA function of two variables for which the line segment between any two points on the function lies entirely below the curve representing the function (the function is convex when the line segment lies above the function).conspicuous consumptionThe purchase of goods or services to publicly display one’s social and economic status.constant pricesPrices corrected for increases in prices (inflation) or decreases in prices (deflation) so that a unit of currency represents the same buying power in different periods of time. See also: purchasing power parity.constant returns to scaleThese occur when doubling all of the inputs to a production process doubles the output. The shape of a firm’s long-run average cost curve depends both on returns to scale in production and the effect of scale on the prices it pays for its inputs. See also: increasing returns to scale, decreasing returns to scale.constrained choice problemThis problem is about how we can do the best for ourselves, given our preferences and constraints, and when the things we value are scarce. See also: constrained optimization problem.constrained optimization problemProblems in which a decision-maker chooses the values of one or more variables to achieve an objective (such as maximizing profit) subject to a constraint that determines the feasible set (such as the demand curve).consumer durablesConsumer goods with a life expectancy of more than three years such as home furniture, cars, and fridges.consumer price index (CPI)A measure of the general level of prices that consumers have to pay for goods and services, including consumption taxes.consumer surplusThe consumer’s willingness to pay for a good minus the price at which the consumer bought the good, summed across all units sold.consumption (C)Expenditure on consumer goods including both short-lived goods and services and long-lived goods, which are called consumer durables.consumption function (aggregate)An equation that shows how consumption spending in the economy as a whole depends on other variables. For example, in the multiplier model, the other variables are current disposable income and autonomous consumption. See also: disposable income, autonomous consumption.consumption goodA good or service that satisfies the needs of consumers over a short period.contingent valuationA survey-based technique used to assess the value of non-market resources. Also known as: stated-preference model.contractA legal document or understanding that specifies a set of actions that parties to the contract must undertake.cooperationParticipating in a common project that is intended to produce mutual benefits.cooperative firmA firm that is mostly or entirely owned by its workers, who hire and fire the managers.coordination gameA game in which there are two Nash equilibria, of which one may be Pareto superior to the other. Also known as: assurance game.copyrightOwnership rights over the use and distribution of an original work.correlationA statistical association in which knowing the value of one variable provides information on the likely value of the other, for example high values of one variable being commonly observed along with high values of the other variable. It can be positive or negative (it is negative when high values of one variable are observed with low values of the other). It does not mean that there is a causal relationship between the variables. See also: causality, correlation coefficient.correlation coefficientA measure of how closely associated two variables are and whether they tend to take similar or dissimilar values, ranging from a value of 1 indicating that the variables take similar values (‘are positively correlated’) to –1 indicating that the variables take dissimilar variables (‘negative’ or ‘inverse’ correlation). A value of 1 or –1 indicates that knowing the value of one of the variables would allow you to perfectly predict the value of the other. A value of 0 indicates that knowing one of the variables provides no information about the value of the other. See also: correlation, causality.costs of entryStartup costs that would be incurred when a seller enters a market or an industry. These would usually include the cost of acquiring and equipping new premises, research and development, the necessary patents, and the cost of finding and hiring staff.countercyclicalTending to move in the opposite direction to aggregate output and employment over the business cycle.creative destructionJoseph Schumpeter’s name for the process by which old technologies and the firms that do not adapt are swept away by the new, because they cannot compete in the market. In his view, the failure of unprofitable firms is creative because it releases labour and capital goods for use in new combinations.credit-constrainedA description of individuals who are able to borrow only on unfavourable terms. See also: credit-excluded.credit-excludedA description of individuals who are unable to borrow on any terms. See also: credit-constrained.credit ratings agencyA firm which collects information to calculate the credit-worthiness of individuals or companies, and sells the resulting rating for a fee to interested parties.credit rationingThe process by which those with less wealth borrow on unfavourable terms, compared to those with more wealth.crowding outThere are two quite distinct uses of the term. One is the observed negative effect when economic incentives displace people’s ethical or other-regarding motivations. In studies of individual behaviour, incentives may have a crowding out effect on social preferences. A second use of the term is to refer to the effect of an increase in government spending in reducing private spending, as would be expected for example in an economy working at full capacity utilization, or when a fiscal expansion is associated with a rise in the interest rate.current account (CA)The sum of all payments made to a country minus all payments made by the country. See also: current account deficit, current account surplus.current account deficitThe excess of the value of a country’s imports over the combined value of its exports plus its net earnings from assets abroad. See also: current account, current account surplus.current account surplusThe excess of the combined value of its exports and net earnings from assets abroad over the value of its imports. See also: current account, current account deficit.cyclical unemploymentThe increase in unemployment above equilibrium unemployment caused by a fall in aggregate demand associated with the business cycle. Also known as: demand-deficient unemployment. See also: equilibrium unemployment.deadweight lossA loss of total surplus relative to a Pareto-efficient allocation.decreasing returns to scaleThese occur when doubling all of the inputs to a production process less than doubles the output. Also known as: diseconomies of scale. See also: increasing returns to scale.default riskThe risk that credit given as loans will not be repaid.deflationA decrease in the general price level. See also: inflation.demand curveThe curve that gives the quantity consumers will buy at each possible price.demand shockAn unexpected change in aggregate demand, such as a rise or fall in autonomous consumption, investment, or exports. See also: supply shock.demand sideThe side of a market on which those participating are offering money in return for some other good or service (for example, those purchasing bread). See also: supply side.demand side (aggregate economy)How spending decisions generate demand for goods and services, and as a result, employment and output. It uses the multiplier model. See also: supply side (aggregate economy).democracyA political system, that ideally gives equal political power to all citizens, defined by individual rights such as freedom of speech, assembly, and the press; fair elections in which virtually all adults are eligible to vote; and in which the government leaves office if it loses.democratic accountabilityPolitical accountability by means of elections and other democratic processes. See also: accountability, political accountability.demographic transitionA slowdown in population growth as a fall in death rate is more than balanced by a fall in birth rates.depreciationThe loss in value of a form of wealth that occurs either through use (wear and tear) or the passage of time (obsolescence).derivativeA financial instrument in the form of a contract that can be traded, whose value is based on the performance of underlying assets such as shares, bonds or real estate. See also: collateralized debt obligation.developmental stateA government that takes a leading role in promoting the process of economic development through its public investments, subsidies of particular industries, education and other public policies.differentiated productA product produced by a single firm that has some unique characteristics compared to similar products of other firms.diffusionThe spread of the invention throughout the economy. See also: diffusion gap.diffusion gapThe lag between the first introduction of an innovation and its general use. See also: diffusion.diminishing average product of labourA situation in which, as more labour is used in a given production process, the average product of labour typically falls.diminishing marginal productA property of some production functions according to which each additional unit of input results in a smaller increment in total output than did the previous unit.diminishing marginal returns to consumptionThe value to the individual of an additional unit of consumption declines, the more consumption the individual has. Also known as: diminishing marginal utility.diminishing marginal utilityA property of some utility functions according to which each additional unit of a given variable results in a smaller increment to total utility than did the previous additional unit. Also known as: diminishing marginal returns to consumption.diminishing returnsA situation in which the use of an additional unit of a factor of production results in a smaller increase in output than the previous increase. Also known as: diminishing marginal returns in productiondiscounting future generations’ costs and benefitsA measure of how we currently value the costs and benefits experienced by people who will live in the future. Note that this is not a measure of individual impatience about one’s own future benefits and costs.discount rateA measure of the person’s impatience: how much the person values an additional unit of consumption now relative to an additional unit of consumption later. It is the slope of the person’s indifference curve for consumption now and consumption later, minus one. Also known as: subjective discount rate.diseconomies of scaleThese occur when doubling all of the inputs to a production process less than doubles the output. Also known as: decreasing returns to scale. See also: economies of scale.disequilibrium processAn economic variable may change either because the things that determine the equilibrium value of that variable have changed (an equilibrium process), or because the system is not in equilibrium so that there exist forces for change that are internal to the model in question (a disequilibrium process). The latter process applies when the economy moves towards a stable equilibrium or away from a tipping point (an unstable equilibrium).disequilibrium rentThe economic rent that arises when a market is not in equilibrium, for example when there is excess demand or excess supply in a market for some good or service. In contrast, rents that arise in equilibrium are called equilibrium rents.disinflationA decrease in the rate of inflation. See also: inflation, deflation.disposable incomeIncome available after paying taxes and receiving transfers from the government.distributionally neutralA policy that is neither progressive or regressive so that it does not alter the distribution of income. See also: progressive (policy), regressive (policy).division of labourThe specialization of producers to carry out different tasks in the production process. Also known as: specialization.dominant strategyAction that yields the highest payoff for a player, no matter what the other players do.dominant strategy equilibriumAn outcome of a game in which every player plays his or her dominant strategy.dominant technologyA technology that produces the same amount at lower cost than alternative technologies irrespective of the prices of inputs. It is capable of producing the same amount of output as the alternative technology with less of at least one input, and not more of any input.dominatedWe describe an outcome in this way if more of something that is positively valued can be attained without less of anything else that is positively valued. In short: an outcome is dominated if there is a win-win alternative.earningsWages, salaries, and other income from labour.economic accountabilityAccountability achieved by economic processes, notably competition among firms or other entities in which failure to take account of those affected will result in losses in profits or in business failure. See also: accountability, political accountability.economically feasiblePolicies for which the desired outcomes are a Nash equilibrium, so that once implemented private economic actors will not undo the desired effects.economic costThe out-of-pocket cost of an action, plus the opportunity cost.economic profitA firm’s revenue minus its total costs (including the opportunity cost of capital).economic rentA payment or other benefit received above and beyond what the individual would have received in his or her next best alternative (or reservation option). See also: reservation option.economicsThe study of how people interact with each other and with their natural surroundings in providing their livelihoods, and how this changes over time.economic systemA way of organizing the economy that is distinctive in its basic institutions. Economic systems of the past and present include: central economic planning (e.g. the Soviet Union in the twentieth century), feudalism (e.g. much of Europe in the early Middle Ages), slave economy (e.g. the US South and the Caribbean plantation economies prior to the abolition of slavery in the nineteenth century), and capitalism (most of the world’s economies today).economies of agglomerationThe advantages that firms may enjoy when they are located close to other firms in the same or related industries. See also: economies of scale.economies of scaleThese occur when doubling all of the inputs to a production process more than doubles the output. The shape of a firm’s long-run average cost curve depends both on returns to scale in production and the effect of scale on the prices it pays for its inputs. Also known as: increasing returns to scale. See also: diseconomies of scale.economies of scopeCost savings that occur when two or more products are produced jointly by a single firm, rather being produced in separate firms.effective tax rate on profitsThis is calculated by taking the before-tax profit rate, subtracting the after-tax profit rate, and dividing the result by the before-tax profit rate. This fraction is usually multiplied by 100 and reported as a percentage.efficiency wagesThe payment an employer makes that is higher than an employee’s reservation wage, so as to motivate the employee to provide more effort on the job than he or she would otherwise choose to make. See also: labour discipline model, employment rent.employment protection legislationLaws making job dismissal more costly (or impossible) for employers.employment rateThe ratio of the number of employed to the population of working age. See also: population of working age.employment rentThe economic rent a worker receives when the net value of her job exceeds the net value of her next best alternative (that is, being unemployed). Also known as: cost of job loss.endogenousProduced by the workings of a model rather than coming from outside the model. See also: exogenousendowmentThe facts about an individual that may affect his or her income, such as the physical wealth a person has, either land, housing, or a portfolio of shares (stocks). Also includes level and quality of schooling, special training, the computer languages in which the individual can work, work experience in internships, citizenship, whether the individual has a visa (or green card) allowing employment in a particular labour market, the nationality and gender of the individual, and even the person’s race or social class background. See also: human capital.entrepreneurA person who creates or is an early adopter of new technologies, organizational forms, and other opportunities.environment-consumption indifference curveA curve on which all points are combinations of environmental quality and consumption that are equally valued by an individual or policymaker. The slope of the indifference curve is the ratio of the marginal disutility of lost consumption due to the cost of abating and of the marginal utility of environmental quality (a public good shared by all).equilibriumA model outcome that is self-perpetuating. In this case, something of interest does not change unless an outside or external force is introduced that alters the model’s description of the situation.equilibrium (of a market)A state of a market in which there is no tendency for the quantities bought and sold, or the market price, to change, unless there is some change in the underlying costs, preferences, or other determinants of the behaviour of market actors.equilibrium rentRent in a market that is in equilibrium. Also known as: stationary or persistent rents.equilibrium unemploymentThe number of people seeking work but without jobs, which is determined by the intersection of the wage-setting and price-setting curves. This is the Nash equilibrium of the labour market where neither employers nor workers could do better by changing their behaviour. See also: involuntary unemployment, cyclical unemployment, wage-setting curve, price-setting curve, inflation-stabilizing rate of unemployment.equityAn individual’s own investment in a project. This is recorded in an individual’s or firm’s balance sheet as net worth. See also: net worth. An entirely different use of the term is synonymous with fairness.evolutionary economicsAn approach that studies the process of economic change, including technological innovation, the diffusion of new social norms, and the development of novel institutions.excess demandA situation in which the quantity of a good demanded is greater than the quantity supplied at the current price. See also: excess supply.excess supplyA situation in which the quantity of a good supplied is greater than the quantity demanded at the current price. See also: excess demand.exchange rateThe number of units of home currency that can be exchanged for one unit of foreign currency. For example, the number of Australian dollars (AUD) needed to buy one US dollar (USD) is defined as number of AUD per USD. An increase in this rate is a depreciation of the AUD and a decrease is an appreciation of the AUD.exogenousComing from outside the model rather than being produced by the workings of the model itself. See also: endogenous.exogenous shockA sharp change in external conditions affecting a model.expected inflationThe opinion that wage- and price-setters form about the level of inflation in the next period. See also: inflation.exports (X)Goods and services produced in a particular country and sold to households, firms and governments in other countries.expropriation riskThe probability that an asset will be taken from its owner by the government or some other actor.external benefitA positive external effect: that is, a positive effect of a production, consumption, or other economic decision on another person or people that is not specified as a benefit in a contract. Also known as: external economy. See also: external effect.external costA negative external effect: that is, the negative effect of production, consumption, or other economic decisions on another person or party, which is not specified as a liability in a contract. Also known as: external diseconomy. See also: external effect.external diseconomyA negative effect of a production, consumption, or other economic decision, that is not specified as a liability in a contract. Also known as: external cost, negative externality. See also: external effect.external economyA positive effect of a production, consumption, or other economic decision, that is not specified as a benefit in a contract. Also known as: external benefit, positive externality. See also: external effect.external effectA positive or negative effect of a production, consumption, or other economic decision on another person or people that is not specified as a benefit or liability in a contract. It is called an external effect because the effect in question is outside the contract. Also known as: externality. See also: incomplete contract, market failure, external benefit, external cost.factors of productionThe labour, machinery and equipment (usually referred to as capital), land, and other inputs to a production process.fairnessA way to evaluate an allocation based on one’s conception of justice.fallacy of compositionMistaken inference that what is true of the parts (for example a household) must be true of the whole (in this case the economy as a whole). See also: paradox of thrift.feasible frontierThe curve made of points that defines the maximum feasible quantity of one good for a given quantity of the other. See also: feasible set.feasible setAll of the combinations of the things under consideration that a decision-maker could choose given the economic, physical or other constraints that he faces. See also: feasible frontier.final incomeA measure of the value of goods and services a household can consume from its disposable income. This is equal to disposable income minus VAT paid, plus the value of public services received.financial acceleratorThe mechanism through which firms’ and households’ ability to borrow increases when the value of the collateral they have pledged to the lender (often a bank) goes up.financial deregulationPolicies allowing banks and other financial institutions greater freedom in the types of financial assets they can sell, as well as other practices.fire saleThe sale of something at a very low price because of the seller’s urgent need for money.firmEconomic organization in which private owners of capital goods hire and direct labour to produce goods and services for sale on markets to make a profit.firm-specific assetSomething that a person owns or can do that has more value in the individual’s current firm than in their next best alternative.first copy costsThe fixed costs of the production of a knowledge-intensive good or service.fiscal capacityThe ability of a government to impose and collect substantial taxes from a population at low administrative and other costs. One measure of this is the amount collected divided by the cost of administering the tax system.fiscal multiplierThe total (direct and indirect) change in output caused by an initial change in government spending. See also: fiscal stimulus, fiscal policy, aggregate demand.fiscal policyChanges in taxes or government spending in order to stabilize the economy. See also: fiscal stimulus, fiscal multiplier, aggregate demand.fiscal stimulusThe use by the government of fiscal policy (via a combination of tax cuts and spending increases) with the intention of increasing aggregate demand. See also: fiscal multiplier, fiscal policy, aggregate demand.Fisher equationThe relation that gives the real interest rate as the difference between the nominal interest rate and expected inflation: real interest rate = nominal interest rate – expected inflation.fixed costsCosts of production that do not vary with the number of units produced.flowA quantity measured per unit of time, such as annual income or hourly wage.foreign direct investment (FDI)Ownership and substantial control over assets in a foreign country. See also: foreign portfolio investment.foreign portfolio investmentThe acquisition of bonds or shares in a foreign country where the holdings of the foreign assets are not sufficiently great to give the owner substantial control over the owned entity. Foreign direct investment (FDI), by contrast, entails ownership and substantial control over the owned assets. See also: foreign direct investment.free rideBenefiting from the contributions of others to some cooperative project without contributing oneself.fundamental value See also: fundamental value of a share.The share price based on anticipated future earnings and the level of risk.gains from exchangeThe benefits that each party gains from a transaction compared to how they would have fared without the exchange. Also known as: gains from trade. See also: economic rent.gameA model of strategic interaction that describes the players, the feasible strategies, the information that the players have, and their payoffs. See also: game theory.game theoryA branch of mathematics that studies strategic interactions, meaning situations in which each actor knows that the benefits they receive depend on the actions taken by all. See also: game.GDP deflatorA measure of the level of prices for domestically produced output. This is the ratio of nominal (or current price) GDP to real (or constant price) GDP.general-purpose technologiesTechnological advances that can be applied to many sectors, and spawn further innovations. Information and communications technology (ICT), and electricity are two common examples.Gini coefficientA measure of inequality of any quantity such as income or wealth, varying from a value of zero (if there is no inequality) to one (if a single individual receives all of it).global financial crisisThis began in 2007 with the collapse of house prices in the US, leading to the fall in prices of assets based on subprime mortgages and to widespread uncertainty about the solvency of banks in the US and Europe, which had borrowed to purchase such assets. The ramifications were felt around the world, as global trade was cut back sharply. Goverments and central banks responded aggressively with stabilization policies.global greenhouse gas abatement cost curveThis shows the total cost of abating greenhouse gas emissions using abatement policies ranked from the most cost-effective to the least. See also: abatement policy.globalizationA process by which the economies of the world become increasingly integrated by the freer flow across national boundaries of goods, investment, finance, and to a lesser extent, labour. The term is sometimes applied more broadly to include ideas, culture, and even the spread of epidemic diseases.Globalization I and IITwo separate periods of increasing global economic integration: the first extended from before 1870 until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, and the second extended from the end of the Second World War into the twenty-first century. See also: globalization.golden age (of capitalism)The period of high productivity growth, high employment, and low and stable inflation extending from the end of the Second World War to the early 1970s.gold standardThe system of fixed exchange rates, abandoned in the Great Depression, by which the value of a currency was defined in terms of gold, for which the currency could be exchanged. See also: Great Depression.goods market equilibriumThe point at which output equals the aggregate demand for goods produced in the home economy. The economy will continue producing at this output level unless something changes spending behaviour. See also: aggregate demand.governing eliteTop government officials such as the president, cabinet officials, and legislative leaders, unified by a common interest such as membership in a particular party.governmentWithin a given territory, the only body that can dictate what people must do or not do, and can legitimately use force and restraints on an individual’s freedom to achieve that end. Also known as: state.government bondA financial instrument issued by governments that promises to pay flows of money at specific intervals.government budget balanceThe difference between government tax revenue and government spending (including government purchases of goods and services, investment spending, and spending on transfers such as pensions and unemployment benefits). See also: government budget deficit, government budget surplus.government budget deficitWhen the government budget balance is negative. See also: government budget balance, government budget surplus.government budget surplusWhen the government budget balance is positive. See also: government budget balance, government budget deficit.government debtThe total amount of money owed by the government at a specific point in time.government failureA failure of political accountability. (This term is widely used in a variety of ways, none of them strictly analogous to market failure, for which the criterion is simply Pareto inefficiency).government spending (G)Expenditure by the government to purchase goods and services. When used as a component of aggregate demand, this does not include spending on transfers such as pensions and unemployment benefits. See also: government transfersgovernment transfersSpending by the government in the form of payments to households or individuals. Unemployment benefits and pensions are examples. Transfers are not included in government spending (G) in the national accounts. See also: government spending (G)Great DepressionThe period of a sharp fall in output and employment in many countries in the 1930s.great moderationPeriod of low volatility in aggregate output in advanced economies between the 1980s and the 2008 financial crisis. The name was suggested by James Stock and Mark Watson, the economists, and popularized by Ben Bernanke, then chairman of the Federal Reserve.great recessionThe prolonged recession that followed the global financial crisis of 2008.green adjustmentAccounting adjustment made to conventional measures of national income to include the value of natural capital.greenhouse gasGases—mainly water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane and ozone—released in the earth’s atmosphere that lead to increases in atmospheric temperature and changes in climate.gross domestic product (GDP)A measure of the market value of the output of final goods and services in the economy in a given period. Output of intermediate goods that are inputs to final production is excluded to prevent double counting.gross incomeIncome net of taxes paid. Includes depreciation. See also: income, net income.gross unemployment benefit replacement rateThe proportion of a worker’s previous gross (pre-tax) wage that is received (gross of taxation) when unemployed.hedge financeFinancing used by firms to fulfil contractual payment obligations using cashflow. Term coined by Hyman Minsky in his Financial Instability Hypothesis. See also: speculative finance.hedonic pricingA method used to infer the economic value of unpriced environmental or perceptual qualities that affect the price of a marketed good. It allows a researcher to put a price on hard-to-quantify characteristics. Estimations are based on people’s revealed preferences, that is, the price they pay for one thing compared to another.This occurs when some action taken by one party to an exchange is not known or cannot be verified by the other. For example, the employer cannot know (or cannot verify) how hard the worker she has employed is actually working. Also known as: moral hazard. See also: hidden attributes (problem of).This occurs when some attribute of the person engaging in an exchange (or the product or service being provided) is not known to the other parties. An example is that the individual purchasing health insurance knows her own health status, but the insurance company does not. Also known as: adverse selection. See also: hidden actions (problem of).human capitalThe stock of knowledge, skills, behavioural attributes, and personal characteristics that determine the labour productivity or labour earnings of an individual. Investment in this through education, training, and socialization can increase the stock, and such investment is one of the sources of economic growth. Part of an individual’s endowments. See also: endowment.hyperglobalizationAn extreme (and so far hypothetical) type of globalization in which there is virtually no barrier to the free flows of goods, services, and capital. See also: globalization.idiosyncratic riskA risk that only affects a small number of assets at one time. Traders can almost eliminate their exposure to such risks by holding a diverse portfolio of assets affected by different risks. Also known as: diversifiable risk.impatienceAny preference to move consumption from the future to the present. This preference may be derived either from pure impatience or diminishing marginal returns to consumption.imports (M)Goods and services produced in other countries and purchased by domestic households, firms, and the government.inactive populationPeople in the population of working age who are neither employed nor actively looking for paid work. Those working in the home raising children, for example, are not considered as being in the labour force and therefore are classified this way.incentiveEconomic reward or punishment, which influences the benefits and costs of alternative courses of action.inclusive trade unionA union, representing many firms and sectors, which takes into account the consequences of wage increases for job creation in the entire economy in the long run.incomeThe amount of profit, interest, rent, labour earnings, and other payments (including transfers from the government) received, net of taxes paid, measured over a period of time such as a year. The maximum amount that you could consume and leave your wealth unchanged. Also known as: disposable income. See also: gross income.income effectThe effect that the additional income would have if there were no change in the price or opportunity cost.income elasticity of demandThe percentage change in demand that would occur in response to a 1% increase in the individual’s income.incomplete contractA contract that does not specify, in an enforceable way, every aspect of the exchange that affects the interests of parties to the exchange (or of others).increasing returns to scaleThese occur when doubling all of the inputs to a production process more than doubles the output. The shape of a firm’s long-run average cost curve depends both on returns to scale in production and the effect of scale on the prices it pays for its inputs. Also known as: economies of scale. See also: decreasing returns to scale, constant returns to scale.incremental innovationInnovation that improves an existing product or process cumulatively.indexA measure of the amount of something in one period of time, compared to the amount of the same thing in a different period of time, called the reference period or base period. It is common to set its value at 100 in the reference period.indifference curveA curve of the points which indicate the combinations of goods that provide a given level of utility to the individual.Industrial RevolutionA wave of technological advances and organizational changes starting in Britain in the eighteenth century, which transformed an agrarian and craft-based economy into a commercial and industrial economy.industryGoods-producing business activity: agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and construction. Manufacturing is the most important component.inequality aversionA dislike of outcomes in which some individuals receive more than others.infant industryA relatively new industrial sector in a country that has relatively high costs, because its recent establishment means that it has few benefits from learning by doing, its small size deprives it of economies of scale, or a lack of similar firms means that it does not benefit from economies of agglomeration. Temporary tariff protection of this sector or other support may increase productivity in an economy in the long run.inflationAn increase in the general price level in the economy. Usually measured over a year. See also: deflation, disinflation.inflation-adjusted pricePrice that takes into account the change in the overall price level.inflation-stabilizing rate of unemploymentThe unemployment rate (at labour market equilibrium) at which inflation is constant. Originally known as the ‘natural rate’ of unemployment. Also known as: non-accelerating rate of unemployment, stable inflation rate of unemployment. See also: equilibrium unemployment.inflation targetingMonetary policy regime where the central bank changes interest rates to influence aggregate demand in order to keep the economy close to an inflation target, which is normally specified by the government.in-kind transfersPublic expenditure in the form of free or subsidized services for households rather than in the form of cash transfers.innovationThe process of invention and diffusion considered as a whole.innovation rentsProfits in excess of the opportunity cost of capital that an innovator gets by introducing a new technology, organizational form, or marketing strategy. Also known as: Schumpeterian rents.innovation systemThe relationships among private firms, governments, educational institutions, individual scientists, and other actors involved in the invention, modification, and diffusion of new technologies, and the way that these social interactions are governed by a combination of laws, policies, knowledge, and social norms in force.insolventAn entity is this if the value of its assets is less than the value of its liabilities. See also: solvent.institutionThe laws and informal rules that regulate social interactions among people and between people and the biosphere, sometimes also termed the rules of the game.intellectual property rightsPatents, trademarks, and copyrights. See also: patent, trademark, copyright.interest rateThe price of bringing some buying power forward in time. See also: nominal interest rate, real interest rate.interest rate (short-term)The price of borrowing base money.intergenerational elasticityWhen comparing parents and grown offspring, the percentage difference in the second generation’s status that is associated with a 1% difference in the adult generation’s status. See also: intergenerational inequality, intergenerational mobility, intergenerational transmission of economic differences.intergenerational inequalityThe extent to which differences in parental generations are passed on to the next generation, as measured by the intergenerational elasticity or the intergenerational correlation. See also: intergenerational elasticity, intergenerational mobility, intergenerational transmission of economic differences.intergenerational mobilityChanges in the relative economic or social status between parents and children. Upward mobility occurs when the status of a child surpasses that of the parents. Downward mobility is the converse. A widely used measure of intergenerational mobility is the correlation between the positions of parents and children (for example, in their years of schooling or income). Another is the intergenerational elasticity. See also: intergenerational elasticity, intergenerational transmission of economic differences.intergenerational transmission of economic differencesThe processes by which the economic status of the adult sons and daughters comes to resemble the economic status of the parents. See also: intergenerational elasticity, intergenerational mobility.inventionThe development of new methods of production and new products.inventoryGoods held by a firm prior to sale or use, including raw materials, and partially-finished or finished goods intended for sale.investment function (aggregate)An equation that shows how investment spending in the economy as a whole depends on other variables, namely, the interest rate and profit expectations. See also: interest rate, profit.investment (I)Expenditure on newly produced capital goods (machinery and equipment) and buildings, including new housing.irrational exuberanceA process by which assets become overvalued. The expression was first used by Alan Greenspan, then chairman of the US Federal Reserve Board, in 1996. It was popularized as an economic concept by the economist Robert Shiller.isocost lineA line that represents all combinations that cost a given total amount.isoprofit curveA curve on which all points yield the same profit.isototal benefits curveThe combinations of the probability of innovation and the total benefits to society from a firm’s innovation that yield the same total benefits.joint surplusThe sum of the economic rents of all involved in an interaction. Also known as: total gains from exchange or trade.JouleA unit of energy or work, originally defined as the amount of energy necessary to lift a small apple vertically 1 metre.labour discipline modelA model that explains how employers set wages so that employees receive an economic rent (called employment rent), which provides workers an incentive to work hard in order to avoid job termination. See also: employment rent, efficiency wages.labour forceThe number of people in the population of working age who are, or wish to be, in work outside the household. They are either employed (including self-employed) or unemployed. See also: unemployment rate, employment rate, participation rate.labour-intensiveMaking greater use of labour as an input in production as compared with machines and other inputs. See also: capital-intensive.labour marketIn this market, employers offer wages to individuals who may agree to work under their direction. Economists say that employers are on the demand side of this market, while employees are on the supply side. See also: labour force.labour market equilibriumThe combination of the real wage and the level of employment determined by the intersection of the wage-setting and the price-setting curves. This is the Nash equilibrium of the labour market because neither employers nor workers could do better by changing their behaviour. See also: equilibrium unemployment, inflation-stabilizing rate of unemployment.labour market matchingThe way in which employers looking for additional employees (that is, with vacancies) meet people seeking a new job.labour productivityTotal output divided by the number of hours or some other measure of labour input.law of one priceHolds when a good is traded at the same price across all buyers and sellers. If a good were sold at different prices in different places, a trader could buy it cheaply in one place and sell it at a higher price in another. See also: arbitrage.learning by doingThis occurs when the output per unit of inputs increases with greater experience in producing a good or service.legal tenderCoins or banknotes that must be accepted in payment of a debt.lending rate (bank)The average interest rate charged by commercial banks to firms and households. This rate will typically be above the policy interest rate: the difference is the markup or spread on commercial lending. Also known as: market interest rate. See also: interest rate, policy rate.Leontief paradoxThe unexpected finding by Wassily Leontief that exports from the US were labour-intensive and its imports capital-intensive, a result that contradicts what the economic theories predicted: namely that a country abundant in capital (like the US) would export goods that used a large quantity of capital in their production.leverage See also: leverage ratio.leverage ratio (for banks or households)The value of assets divided by the equity stake in those assets.leverage ratio (for non-bank companies)The value of total liabilities divided by total assets.liabilityAnything of value that is owed. See also: balance sheet, asset.limit orderAn announced price and quantity combination for an asset, either to be sold or bought.linear regression lineThe best-fitting line through a set of data.liquid See also: liquidity.liquidityEase of buying or selling a financial asset at a predictable price.liquidity riskThe risk that an asset cannot be exchanged for cash rapidly enough to prevent a financial loss.lock-inA consequence of the network external effects that create winner-take-all competition. The competitive process results in an outcome that is difficult to change, even if users of the technology consider an alternative innovation superior.logarithmic scaleA way of measuring a quantity based on the logarithm function, f(x) = log(x). The logarithm function converts a ratio to a difference: log (a/b) = log a – log b. This is very useful for working with growth rates. For instance, if national income doubles from 50 to 100 in a poor country and from 1,000 to 2,000 in a rich country, the absolute difference in the first case is 50 and in the second 1,000, but log(100) – log(50) = 0.693, and log(2,000) – log(1,000) = 0.693. The ratio in each case is 2 and log(2) = 0.693.log scale See also: ratio scalelong-run equilibriumAn equilibrium that is achieved when variables that were held constant in the short run (for example, the number of firms in a market) are allowed to adjust, as people have time to respond the situation.long run (model)The term does not refer to a period of time, but instead to what is exogenous. A long-run cost curve, for example, refers to costs when the firm can fully adjust all of the inputs including its capital goods; but technology and the economy’s institutions are exogenous. See also: technology, institutions, short run (model), medium run (model).Lorenz curveA graphical representation of inequality of some quantity such as wealth or income. Individuals are arranged in ascending order by how much of this quantity they have, and the cumulative share of the total is then plotted against the cumulative share of the population. For complete equality of income, for example, it would be a straight line with a slope of one. The extent to which the curve falls below this perfect equality line is a measure of inequality. See also: Gini coefficient.low capacity utilizationWhen a firm or economy could increase output by increasing employment utilizing the existing capital goods.marginal costThe effect on total cost of producing one additional unit of output. It corresponds to the slope of the total cost function at each point.marginal external cost (MEC)The cost of producing an additional unit of a good that is incurred by anyone other than the producer of the good. See also: marginal private cost, marginal social cost.marginal private benefit (MPB)The benefit (in terms of profit, or utility) of producing or consuming an additional unit of a good for the individual who decides to produce or consume it, not taking into account any benefit received by others. marginal private cost (MPC)The cost for the producer of producing an additional unit of a good, not taking into account any costs its production imposes on others. See also: marginal external cost, marginal social cost.marginal productThe additional amount of output that is produced if a particular input was increased by one unit, while holding all other inputs constant.marginal productivity of abatement expendituresThe marginal rate of transformation (MRT) of abatement costs into improved environment. It is the slope of the feasible frontier. See also: marginal rate of transformation, feasible frontier.marginal propensity to consume (MPC)The change in consumption when disposable income changes by one unit.marginal propensity to importThe change in total imports associated with a change in total income.marginal rate of substitution (MRS)The trade-off that a person is willing to make between two goods. At any point, this is the slope of the indifference curve. See also: marginal rate of transformation.marginal rate of transformation (MRT)The quantity of some good that must be sacrificed to acquire one additional unit of another good. At any point, it is the slope of the feasible frontier. See also: marginal rate of substitution.marginal revenueThe change in revenue obtained by increasing the quantity from Q to Q + 1.marginal social benefit (MSB)The benefit (in terms of utility) of producing or consuming an additional unit of a good, taking into account both the benefit to the individual who decides to produce or consume it, and the benefit to anyone else affected by the decision.marginal social cost (MSC)The cost of producing an additional unit of a good, taking into account both the cost for the producer and the costs incurred by others affected by the good’s production. Marginal social cost is the sum of the marginal private cost and the marginal external cost.marginal utilityThe additional utility resulting from a one-unit increase of a given variable.marketA way that people exchange goods and services by means of directly reciprocated transfers (unlike gifts), voluntarily entered into for mutual benefit (unlike theft, taxation), that is often impersonal (unlike transfers among friends, family).market capitalization rateThe rate of return that is just high enough to induce investors to hold shares in a particular company. This will be high if the company is subject to a high level of systematic risk.market-clearing priceAt this price there is no excess supply or excess demand. See also: equilibrium.market failureWhen markets allocate resources in a Pareto-inefficient way.market powerAn attribute of a firm that can sell its product at a range of feasible prices, so that it can benefit by acting as a price-setter (rather than a price-taker).matching marketA market that matches members of two distinct groups of people. Each person in the market would benefit from being connected to the right member of the other group. Also known as: two-sided market.maturity transformationThe practice of borrowing money short-term and lending it long-term. For example, a bank accepts deposits, which it promises to repay at short notice or no notice, and makes long-term loans (which can be repaid over many years). Also known as: liquidity transformationmedian voterIf voters can be lined up along a single more-versus-less dimension (such as preferring higher or lower taxes, more or less environmental protection), the median voter is the one ‘in the middle’—that is (if there is an odd number of voters in total), with an equal number preferring more and preferring less than what he or she does. See also: median voter model.median voter modelAn economic model of the location of businesses applied to the positions taken in electoral platforms when two parties compete that provides conditions under which, in order to maximize the number of votes they will receive, the parties will adopt positions that appeal to the median voter. See also: median voter.medium run (model)The term does not refer to a period of time, but instead to what is exogenous. In this case capital stock, technology, and institutions are exogenous. Output, employment, prices, and wages are endogenous. See also: capital goods, technology, institution, short run (model), long run (model).The resources used in setting and changing prices.merchandise tradeTrade in tangible products that are physically shipped across borders.merit goodsGoods and services that should be available to everyone, independently of their ability to pay.minimum acceptable offerIn the ultimatum game, the smallest offer by the Proposer that will not be rejected by the Responder. Generally applied in bargaining situations to mean the least favourable offer that would be accepted.missing marketA market in which there is some kind of exchange that, if implemented, would be mutually beneficial. This does not occur due to asymmetric or non-verifiable information.momentum tradingShare trading strategy based on the idea that new information is not incorporated into prices instantly, so that prices exhibit positive correlation over short periods.monetary policyCentral bank (or government) actions aimed at influencing economic activity through changing interest rates or the prices of financial assets. See also: quantitative easing.moneyMoney is something that facilitates exchange (called a medium of exchange) consisting of bank notes and bank deposits, or anything else that can be used to purchase goods and services, and is generally accepted by others as payment because others can use it for the same purpose. The ‘because’ is important and it distinguishes exchange facilitated by money from barter exchange in which goods are directly exchanged without money changing hands.money wageThe amount of money an employer pays to a worker. Also known as: nominal wage.monopolized marketMarket in which a single firm produces all the goods that are sold.monopolyA firm that is the only seller of a product without close substitutes. Also refers to a market with only one seller. See also: monopoly power, natural monopoly.monopoly powerThe power that a firm has to control its own price. The fewer close substitutes for the product are available, the greater the firm’s price-setting power. See also: monopoly.monopoly rentsA form of economic profits, which arise due to restricted competition in selling a firm’s product. See also: economic profit.moral hazardThis term originated in the insurance industry to express the problem that insurers face, namely, the person with home insurance may take less care to avoid fires or other damages to his home, thereby increasing the risk above what it would be in absence of insurance. This term now refers to any situation in which one party to an interaction is deciding on an action that affects the profits or wellbeing of the other but which the affected party cannot control by means of a contract, often because the affected party does not have adequate information on the action. It is also referred to as the ‘hidden actions’ problem. See also: hidden actions (problems of), incomplete contract, too big to fail.mortgage-backed security (MBS)A financial asset that uses mortgages as collateral. Investors receive payments derived from the interest and principal of the underlying mortgages. See also: collateral.mortgage (or mortgage loan)A loan contracted by households and businesses to purchase a property without paying the total value at one time. Over a period of many years, the borrower repays the loan, plus interest. The debt is secured by the property itself, referred to as collateral. See also: collateral.multiplier See also: fiscal multiplier.multiplier modelA model of aggregate demand that includes the multiplier process. See also: fiscal multiplier, multiplier process.multiplier processA mechanism through which the direct and indirect effect of a change in autonomous spending affects aggregate output. See also: fiscal multiplier, multiplier model.Nash equilibriumA set of strategies, one for each player in the game, such that each player’s strategy is a best response to the strategies chosen by everyone else.national accountsThe system used for measuring overall output and expenditure in a country.natural experimentAn empirical study exploiting naturally occurring statistical controls in which researchers do not have the ability to assign participants to treatment and control groups, as is the case in conventional experiments. Instead, differences in law, policy, weather, or other events can offer the opportunity to analyse populations as if they had been part of an experiment. The validity of such studies depends on the premise that the assignment of subjects to the naturally occurring treatment and control groups can be plausibly argued to be random.natural logarithm See also: logarithmic scale.natural monopolyA production process in which the long-run average cost curve is sufficiently downward-sloping to make it impossible to sustain competition among firms in this market.negative feedback (process)A process whereby some initial change sets in motion a process that dampens the initial change. See also: positive feedback (process).net capital flowsThe borrowing and lending tracked by the current account. See also: current account, current account deficit, current account surplus.net incomeGross income minus depreciation. See also: income, gross income, depreciation.net present valueThe present value of a stream of future income minus the associated costs (whether the costs are in the present or the future). See also: present value.network economies of scaleThese exist when an increase in the number of users of an output of a firm implies an increase in the value of the output to each of them, because they are connected to each other.network external effectsAn external effect of one person’s action on another, occuring because the two are connected in a network. See also: external effect.net worthAssets less liabilities. See also: balance sheet, equity.New DealUS President Franklin Roosevelt’s program, begun in 1933, of emergency public works and relief programs to employ millions of people. It established the basic structures for modern state social welfare programs, labour policies, and regulation.nominal interest rateThe interest rate uncorrected for inflation. It is the interest rate quoted by high-street banks. See also: real interest rate, interest rate.nominal wageThe actual amount received in payment for work, in a particular currency. Also known as: money wage. See also: real wage.non-compete contractA contract of employment containing a provision or agreement by which the worker cannot leave to work for a competitor. This may reduce the reservation option of the worker, lowering the wage that the employer needs to pay.non-excludable public goodA public good for which it is impossible to exclude anyone from having access. See also: artificially scarce good.non-rival goodA good that, if available to anyone, is available to everyone at no additional cost. See also: rival good, non-excludable public good.normal profitsCorresponds to zero economic profit and means that the rate of profit is equal to the opportunity cost of capital. See also: economic profit, opportunity cost of capital.offshoringThe relocation of part of a firm’s activities outside of the national boundaries in which it operates. It can take place within a multinational company or may involve outsourcing production to other firms.Okun’s coefficientThe change in the unemployment rate in percentage points predicted to be associated with a 1% change in GDP. For example, an Okun coefficient of -0.4 means that a fall in output of 1% is predicted to be associated with a rise in the unemployment rate of 0.4 percentage points. See also: Okun’s law.Okun’s lawThe empirical regularity that growth of GDP is negatively correlated with the rate of unemployment. See also: Okun’s coefficient.oligopolyA market with a small number of sellers, giving each seller some market power.opportunity costWhen taking an action implies forgoing the next best alternative action, this is the net benefit of the foregone alternative.opportunity cost of capitalThe amount of income an investor could have received by investing the unit of capital elsewhere.order bookA record of limit orders placed by buyers and sellers, but not yet fulfilled.ownershipThe right to use and exclude others from the use of something, and the right to sell the thing that is owned.paradox of thriftIf a single individual consumes less, her savings will increase; but if everyone consumes less, the result may be lower rather than higher savings overall. The attempt to increase saving is thwarted if an increase in the saving rate is unmatched by an increase in investment (or other source of aggregate demand such as government spending on goods and services). The outcome is a reduction in aggregate demand and lower output so that actual levels of saving do not increase.Pareto criterionAccording to the Pareto criterion, a desirable attribute of an allocation is that it be Pareto-efficient. See also: Pareto dominant.Pareto dominantAllocation A Pareto dominates allocation B if at least one party would be better off with A than B, and nobody would be worse off. See also: Pareto efficient.Pareto efficiency curveThe set of all allocations that are Pareto efficient. Often referred to as the contract curve, even in social interactions in which there is no contract, which is why we avoid the term. See also: Pareto efficient.Pareto efficientAn allocation with the property that there is no alternative technically feasible allocation in which at least one person would be better off, and nobody worse off.Pareto improvementA change that benefits at least one person without making anyone else worse off. See also: Pareto dominant.participation rateThe ratio of the number of people in the labour force to the population of working age. See also: labour force, population of working age.patentA right of exclusive ownership of an idea or invention, which lasts for a specified length of time. During this time it effectively allows the owner to be a monopolist or exclusive user.payoffThe benefit to each player associated with the joint actions of all the players.perfectly competitive equilibriumSuch an equilibrium occurs in a model in which all buyers and sellers are price-takers. In this equilibrium, all transactions take place at a single price. This is known as the law of one price. At that price, the amount supplied equals the amount demanded: the market clears. No buyer or seller can benefit by altering the price they are demanding or offering. They are both price-takers. All potential gains from trade are realized. See also: law of one price.A pay which varies, at least partially, with a worker’s performance. See also: piece-rate work.Phillips curveAn inverse relationship between the rate of inflation and the rate of unemployment.piece-rate workA type of employment in which the worker is paid a fixed amount for each unit of the product made.Pigouvian subsidyA government subsidy to encourage an economic activity that has positive external effects. (For example, subsidizing basic research.)Pigouvian taxA tax levied on activities that generate negative external effects so as to correct an inefficient market outcome. See also: external effect, Pigouvian subsidy.policy (interest) rateThe interest rate set by the central bank, which applies to banks that borrow base money from each other, and from the central bank. Also known as: base rate, official rate. See also: real interest rate, nominal interest rate.political accountabilityAccountability achieved by political processes such as elections, oversight by an elected government, or consultation with affected citizens. See also: accountability, economic accountability.political institutionsThe rules of the game that determine who has power and how it is exercised in a society.political rentA payment or other benefit in excess of the individual’s next best alternative (reservation position) that exists as a result of the individual’s political position. The reservation position in this case refers to the individual’s situation were he or she to lack a privileged political position. See also: economic rent.political systemA political system determines how governments will be selected, and how those governments will make and implement decisions that affect all or most members of a population.polluter pays principleA guide to environmental policy according to which those who impose negative environmental effects on others should be made to pay for the damages they impose, through taxation or other means.population of working ageA statistical convention, which in many countries is all people aged between 15 and 64 years.positive feedback (process)A process whereby some initial change sets in motion a process that magnifies the initial change. See also: negative feedback (process).postwar accordAn informal agreement (taking different forms in different countries) among employers, governments, and trade unions that created the conditions for rapid economic growth in advanced economies from the late 1940s to the early 1970s. Trade unions accepted the basic institutions of the capitalist economy and did not resist technological change in return for low unemployment, tolerance of unions and other rights, and a rise in real incomes that matched rises in productivity.powerThe ability to do (and get) the things one wants in opposition to the intentions of others, ordinarily by imposing or threatening sanctions.precautionary savingAn increase in saving to restore wealth to its target level. See also: target wealth.predistribution policyGovernment actions that affect the endowments people have and their value, including the distribution of market income and the distribution of privately held wealth. Examples include education, minimum wage, and anti-discrimination policies. See also: redistribution policy.preferencesA description of the benefit or cost we associate with each possible outcome.present valueThe value today of a stream of future income or other benefits, when these are discounted using an interest rate or the person’s own discount rate. See also: net present value.price-based environmental policyA policy that uses a tax or subsidy to affect prices, with the goal of internalizing the external effects on the environment of an individual’s choices.price discriminationA selling strategy in which different prices are set for different buyers or groups of buyers, or prices vary depending on the number of units purchased.price elasticity of demandThe percentage change in demand that would occur in response to a 1% increase in price. We express this as a positive number. Demand is elastic if this is greater than 1, and inelastic if less than 1.price gapA difference in the price of a good in the exporting country and the importing country. It includes transportation costs and trade taxes. When global markets are in competitive equilibrium, these differences will be entirely due to trade costs. See also: arbitrage.price markupThe price minus the marginal cost divided by the price. It is inversely proportional to the elasticity of demand for this good.price-setting curveThe curve that gives the real wage paid when firms choose their profit-maximizing price.price-takerCharacteristic of producers and consumers who cannot benefit by offering or asking any price other than the market price in the equilibrium of a competitive market. They have no power to influence the market price.primary deficitThe government deficit (its revenue minus its expenditure) excluding interest payments on its debt. See also: government debt.primary labour marketA market in which workers are typically represented by trade unions, and enjoy high wages and job security. See also: secondary labour market, segmented labour market.primary markets See also: secondary and primary marketsprincipal–agent relationshipThis relationship exists when one party (the principal) would like another party (the agent) to act in some way, or have some attribute that is in the interest of the principal, and that cannot be enforced or guaranteed in a binding contract. See also: incomplete contract. Also known as: principal–agent problem.prisoners’ dilemmaA game in which the payoffs in the dominant strategy equilibrium are lower for each player, and also lower in total, than if neither player played the dominant strategy.private goodA good that is both rival, and from which others can be excluded.private propertySomething is private property if the person possessing it has the right to exclude others from it, to benefit from the use of it, and to exchange it with others.procedural judgements of fairnessAn evaluation of an outcome based on how the allocation came about, and not on the characteristics of the outcome itself, (for example, how unequal it is). See also: substantive judgements of fairness.process innovationAn innovation that allows a good or service to be produced at lower cost than its competitors.procyclicalTending to move in the same direction as aggregate output and employment over the business cycle. See also: countercyclical.producer surplusThe price at which a firm sells a good minus the minimum price at which it would have been willing to sell the good, summed across all units sold.product innovationAn innovation that produces a new good or service at a cost that will attract buyers.production functionA graphical or mathematical expression describing the amount of output that can be produced by any given amount or combination of input(s). The function describes differing technologies capable of producing the same thing.profit marginThe difference between the price and the marginal cost.progressive (policy)An expenditure or transfer that increases the incomes of poorer households by more than richer households, in percentage terms. See also: regressive (policy).property rightsLegal protection of ownership, including the right to exclude others and to benefit from or sell the thing owned.protectionist policyMeasures taken by a government to limit trade; in particular, to reduce the amount of imports in the economy. These are designed to protect local industries from external competition. They can take different forms, such as taxes on imported goods or import quotas.prudential policyA policy that places a very high value on reducing the likelihood of a disastrous outcome, even if this is costly in terms of other objectives foregone. Such an approach is often advocated where there is great uncertainty about the conditions under which a disastrous outcome would occur.public badThe negative equivalent of a public good. It is non-rival in the sense that a given individual’s consumption of the public bad does not diminish others’ consumption of it.public goodA good for which use by one person does not reduce its availability to others. Also known as: non-rival good. See also: non-excludable public good, artificially scarce good.purchasing power parity (PPP)A statistical correction allowing comparisons of the amount of goods people can buy in different countries that have different currencies. See also: constant prices.pure impatienceThis is a characteristic of a person who values an additional unit of consumption now over an additional unit later, when the amount of consumption is the same now and later. It arises when a person is impatient to consume more now because she places less value on consumption in the future for reasons of myopia, weakness of will, or for other reasons.quantitative easing (QE)Central bank purchases of financial assets aimed at reducing interest rates on those assets when conventional monetary policy is ineffective because the policy interest rate is at the zero lower bound. See also: zero lower bound.quantity-based environmental policyPolicies that implement environmental objectives by using bans, caps, and regulations.quotaA limit imposed by the government on the volume of imports allowed to enter the economy during a specific period of time.race to the bottomSelf-destructive competition between national or regional governments, resulting in lower wages and less regulation to attract foreign investment in a globalized economy.radical innovationInnovations based on a broad range of knowledge from different sectors, recombining this to create new and very different products.rationed goodsGoods that are allocated to buyers by a process other than price (such as queueing, or a lottery).ratio scaleA scale that uses distances on a graph to represent ratios. For example, the ratio between 3 and 6, and between 6 and 12, is the same (the larger number is twice the smaller number). In a ratio scale chart, all changes by the same ratio are represented by the same vertical distance. This contrasts with a linear scale, where the distance between 3 and 6, and between 6 and 9, is the same (in this case, 3). Also known as a log scale (in for example, Microsoft Excel).real interest rateThe interest rate corrected for inflation (that is, the nominal interest rate minus the rate of inflation). It represents how many goods in the future one gets for the goods not consumed now. See also: nominal interest rate, interest rate.real wageThe nominal wage, adjusted to take account of changes in prices between different time periods. It measures the amount of goods and services the worker can buy. See also: nominal wage.recessionThe US National Bureau of Economic Research defines it as a period when output is declining. It is over once the economy begins to grow again. An alternative definition is a period when the level of output is below its normal level, even if the economy is growing. It is not over until output has grown enough to get back to normal. The latter definition has the problem that the ‘normal’ level is subjective.reciprocityA preference to be kind or to help others who are kind and helpful, and to withhold help and kindness from people who are not helpful or kind.redistribution policyTaxes, monetary, and in-kind transfers of the government that result in a distribution of final income that differs from the distribution of market income. See also: predistribution policy.regressive (policy)An expenditure or transfer that increases the incomes of richer households by more than poorer households, in percentage terms. See also: progressive (policy).relative priceThe price of one good or service compared to another (usually expressed as a ratio).remittancesMoney sent home by international migrant workers to their families or others in the migrants’ home country. In countries which either supply or receive large numbers of migrant workers, this is an important international capital flow.rent ceilingThe maximum legal price a landlord can charge for a rent.repeated gameA game in which the same interaction (same payoffs, players, feasible actions) may be occur more than once.research and developmentExpenditures by a private or public entity to create new methods of production, products, or other economically relevant new knowledge.reservation indifference curveA curve that indicates allocations (combinations) that are as highly valued as one’s reservation option.reservation optionA person’s next best alternative among all options in a particular transaction. Also known as: fallback option. See also: reservation price.reservation priceThe lowest price at which someone is willing to sell a good (keeping the good is the potential seller’s reservation option). See also: reservation option.reservation wageWhat an employee would get in alternative employment, or from an unemployment benefit or other support, were he or she not employed in his or her current job.reserves (natural resource)The amount of a natural resource that is economically feasible to extract given existing technologies. See also: resources (natural).residual claimantThe person who receives the income left over from a firm or other project after the payment of all contractual costs (for example the cost of hiring workers and paying taxes).resources (natural)The estimated total amount of a substance in the earth’s crust. See also: reserves (natural resource).revealed preferenceA way of studying preferences by reverse engineering the motives of an individual (her preferences) from observations about her or his actions.reverse causalityA two-way causal relationship in which A affects B and B also affects A.rival goodA good which, if consumed by one person, is not available to another. See also: non-rival good.savingWhen consumption expenditure is less than net income, saving takes place and wealth rises. See also: wealth.scarcityA good that is valued, and for which there is an opportunity cost of acquiring more.Schumpeterian rentsAnother, equivalent way to refer to innovation rents. Also known as: innovation rents.secondary and primary marketsThe primary market is where goods or financial assets are sold for the first time. For example, the initial sale of shares by a company to an investor (known as an initial public offering or IPO) is on the primary market. The subsequent trading of those shares on the stock exchange is on the secondary market. The terms are also used to describe the initial sale of tickets (primary market) and the secondary market in which they are traded.secondary labour marketWorkers typically on short-term contracts with limited wages and job security. This might be due to their age, or because they are discriminated against by race or ethnic group. See also: primary labour market, segmented labour market.segmented labour marketA labour market whose distinct segments function as separate labour markets with limited mobility of workers from one segment to the other (including for reasons of racial, language, or other forms of discrimination). See also: primary labour market, secondary labour market.self-insuranceSaving by a household in order to be able to maintain its consumption when there is a temporary fall in income or need for greater expenditure.separation of ownership and controlThe attribute of some firms by which managers are a separate group from the owners.sequential gameA game in which all players do not choose their strategies at the same time, and players that choose later can see the strategies already chosen by the other players, for example the ultimatum game. See also: simultaneous game.A part of the assets of a firm that may be traded. It gives the holder a right to receive a proportion of a firm’s profit and to benefit when the firm’s assets become more valuable. Also known as: common stock.shockAn exogenous change in some of the fundamental data used in a model.short-run equilibriumAn equilibrium that will prevail while certain variables (for example, the number of firms in a market) remain constant, but where we expect these variables to change when people have time to respond to the situation.short run (model)The term does not refer to a period of time, but instead to what is exogenous: prices, wages, the capital stock, technology, institutions. See also: wages, capital, technology, institutions, medium run (model), long run (model).short sellingThe sale of an asset borrowed by the seller, with the intention of buying it back at a lower price. This strategy is adopted by investors expecting the value of an asset to decrease. Also known as: shorting.short side (of a market)The side (either supply or demand) on which the number of desired transactions is least (for example, employers are on the short side of the labour market, because typically there are more workers seeking work than there are jobs being offered). The opposite of short side is the long side. See also: supply side, demand side.short-termismThis subjective term refers to the case when the person making a judgement places too much weight on costs, benefits, and other things occurring in the near future than would be appropriate.simultaneous gameA game in which players choose strategies simultaneously, for example the prisoners’ dilemma. See also: sequential game.social dilemmaA situation in which actions taken independently by individuals in pursuit of their own private objectives result in an outcome which is inferior to some other feasible outcome that could have occurred if people had acted together, rather than as individuals.social insuranceExpenditure by the government, financed by taxation, which provides protection against various economic risks (for example, loss of income due to sickness, or unemployment) and enables people to smooth incomes throughout their lifetime. See also: co-insurance.social interactionsSituations in which the actions taken by each person affect other people’s outcomes as well as their own.social normAn understanding that is common to most members of a society about what people should do in a given situation when their actions affect others.social preferencesPreferences that place a value on what happens to other people, even if it results in lower payoffs for the individual.solventA firm or individual for which net worth is positive or zero. For example, a bank whose assets are more than its liabilities (what it owes). See also: insolvent.sovereign debt crisisA situation in which government bonds come to be considered so risky that the government may not be able to continue to borrow. If so, the government cannot spend more than the tax revenue they receive.specializationThis takes place when a country or some other entity produces a more narrow range of goods and services than it consumes, acquiring the goods and services that it does not produce by trade.speculationBuying and selling assets in order to profit from an anticipated change in their price.speculative financeA strategy used by firms to meet payment commitments on liabilities using cash flow, although the firm cannot repay the principal in this way. Firms in this position need to ‘roll over’ their liabilities, usually by issuing new debt to meet commitments on maturing debt. Term coined by Hyman Minsky in his Financial Instability Hypothesis. See also: hedge finance.stable equilibriumAn equilibrium in which there is a tendency for the equilibrium to be restored after it is disturbed by a small shock.stagflationPersistent high inflation combined with high unemployment in a country’s economy.stationary stateIn the absence of technological progress, the marginal contribution of additional capital goods to increased production would eventually become so small that the process of growth could cease. John Stuart Mill welcomed this prospect as ‘a very considerable improvement on our present condition’.statutory minimum wageA minimum level of pay laid down by law, for workers in general or of some specified type. The intention of a minimum wage is to guarantee living standards for the low-paid. Many countries, including the UK and the US, enforce this with legislation. Also known as: minimum wage.stockA quantity measured at a point in time. Its units do not depend on time. See also: flow.stock exchangeA financial marketplace where shares (or stocks) and other financial assets are traded. It has a list of companies whose shares are traded there.strategic complementsFor two activities A and B: the more that A is performed, the greater the benefits of performing B, and the more that B is performed the greater the benefits of performing A.strategic interactionA social interaction in which the participants are aware of the ways that their actions affect others (and the ways that the actions of others affect them).strategic substitutesFor two activities A and B: the more that A is performed, the less the benefits of performing B, and the more that B is performed the less the benefits of perfoming A.strategyAn action (or a course of action) that a person may take when that person is aware of the mutual dependence of the results for herself and for others. The outcomes depend not only on that person’s actions, but also on the actions of others.subprime borrowerAn individual with a low credit rating and a high risk of default. See also: subprime mortgage.subprime mortgageA residential mortgage issued to a high-risk borrower, for example, a borrower with a history of bankruptcy and delayed repayments. See also: subprime borrower.subsistence levelThe level of living standards (measured by consumption or income) such that the population will not grow or decline.substantive judgements of fairnessJudgements based on the characteristics of the allocation itself, not how it was determined. See also: procedural judgements of fairness.substitutesTwo goods for which an increase in the price of one leads to an increase in the quantity demanded of the other. See also: complements.substitution effectThe effect that is only due to changes in the price or opportunity cost, given the new level of utility.supply curveThe curve that shows the number of units of output that would be produced at any given price. For a market, it shows the total quantity that all firms together would produce at any given price.supply shockAn unexpected change on the supply side of the economy, such as a rise or fall in oil prices or an improvement in technology. See also: wage-setting curve, price-setting curve, Phillips curve.supply sideThe side of a market on which those participating are offering something in return for money (for example, those selling bread). See also: demand side.supply side (aggregate economy)How labour and capital are used to produce goods and services. It uses the labour market model (also referred to as the wage-setting curve and price-setting curve model). See also: demand side (aggregate economy).supply-side policiesA set of economic policies designed to improve the functioning of the economy by increasing productivity and international competitiveness, and by reducing profits after taxes and costs of production. Policies include cutting taxes on profits, tightening conditions for the receipt of unemployment benefits, changing legislation to make it easier to fire workers, and the reform of competition policy to reduce monopoly power. Also known as: supply-side reforms.supply-side problem See also: supply side.surplus, joint See: joint surplus.systematic riskA risk that affects all assets in the market, so that it is not possible for investors to reduce their exposure to the risk by holding a combination of different assets. Also known as: undiversifiable risk.systemic riskA risk that threatens the financial system itself.tacit knowledgeKnowledge made up of the judgements, know-how, and other skills of those participating in the innovation process. The type of knowledge that cannot be accurately written down. See also: codified knowledge.tangencyWhen two curves share one point in common but do not cross. The tangent to a curve at a given point is a straight line that touches the curve at that point but does not cross it.target wealthThe level of wealth that a household aims to hold, based on its economic goals (or preferences) and expectations. We assume that households try to maintain this level of wealth in the face of changes in their economic situation, as long as it is possible to do so.tariffA tax on a good imported into a country.tax incidenceThe effect of a tax on the welfare of buyers, sellers, or both.TaylorismInnovation in management that seeks to reduce labour costs, for example by dividing skilled jobs into separate less-skilled tasks so as to lower wages.technically feasibleAn allocation within the limits set by technology and biology.technological progressA change in technology that reduces the amount of resources (labour, machines, land, energy, time) required to produce a given amount of the output.technologyThe description of a process using a set of materials and other inputs, including the work of people and machines, to produce an output.tipping pointAn unstable equilibrium at the boundary between two regions characterized by distinct movements in some variable. If the variable takes a value on one side, the variable moves in one direction; on the other, it moves in the other direction. See also: asset price bubble.tipping point (environmental)A state of the environment beyond which some process (typically a degradation) becomes self-reinforcing, because of positive feedback processes. On one side, processes of environmental degradation are self-limiting. On the other side, positive feedbacks lead to self-reinforcing, runaway environmental degradation. See also: positive feedback (process).too big to failSaid to be a characteristic of large banks, whose central importance in the economy ensures they will be saved by the government if they are in financial difficulty. The bank thus does not bear all the costs of its activities and is therefore likely to take bigger risks. See also: moral hazard.total surplusThe total gains from trade received by all parties involved in the exchange. It is measured as the sum of the consumer and producer surpluses. See: joint surplus.trade balanceValue of exports minus the value of imports. Also known as: net exports. See also: trade deficit, trade surplus.trade costsThe transport costs, tariffs or other factors incurred in trading between markets in two countries that mean that, for affected goods, the law of one price will not hold across each market. See also: law of one price.trade deficitA country’s negative trade balance (it imports more than it exports). See also: trade surplus, trade balance.trademarkA logo, a name, or a registered design typically associated with the right to exclude others from using it to identify their products.trade surplusA country’s positive trade balance (it exports more than it imports). See also: trade deficit, trade balance.trade unionAn organization consisting predominantly of employees, the principal activities of which include the negotiation of rates of pay and conditions of employment for its members.tragedy of the commonsA social dilemma in which self-interested individuals acting independently deplete a common resource, lowering the payoffs of all. See also: social dilemma.transaction costsCosts that impede the bargaining process or the agreement of a contract. They include costs of acquiring information about the good to be traded, and costs of enforcing a contract.trilemma of the world economyThe likely impossibility that any country, in a globalized world, can simultaneously maintain deep market integration (across borders), national sovereignty, and democratic governance. First suggested by Dani Rodrik, an economist.unemploymentA situation in which a person who is able and willing to work is not employed.unemployment benefitA government transfer received by an unemployed person. Also known as: unemployment insuranceunemployment, involuntaryThe state of being out of work, but preferring to have a job at the wages and working conditions that otherwise identical employed workers have. See also: unemployment.unemployment rateThe ratio of the number of the unemployed to the total labour force. (Note that the employment rate and unemployment rate do not sum to 100%, as they have different denominators.) See also: labour force, employment rate.unstable equilibriumAn equilibrium such that, if a shock disturbs the equilibrium, there is a subsequent tendency to move even further away from the equilibrium. utilityA numerical indicator of the value that one places on an outcome, such that higher valued outcomes will be chosen over lower valued ones when both are feasible.value addedFor a production process this is the value of output minus the value of all inputs (called intermediate goods). The capital goods and labour used in production are not intermediate goods. The value added is equal to profits before taxes plus wages.verifiable informationInformation that can be used to enforce a contract.wage inflationAn increase in the nominal wage. Usually measured over a year. See also: nominal wage.wage labourA system in which producers are paid for the time they work for their employers.wage labour contract See also: wage labour, contract.wage-price spiralThis occurs if an initial increase in wages in the economy is followed by an increase in the price level, which is followed by an increase in wages and so on. It can also begin with an initial increase in the price level.wage-setting curveThe curve that gives the real wage necessary at each level of economy-wide employment to provide workers with incentives to work hard and well.weakness of willThe inability to commit to a course of action (dieting or foregoing some other present pleasure, for example) that one will regret later. It differs from impatience, which may also lead a person to favour pleasures in the present, but not necessarily act in a way that one regrets.wealthStock of things owned or value of that stock. It includes the market value of a home, car, any land, buildings, machinery or other capital goods that a person may own, and any financial assets such as shares or bonds. Debts are subtracted—for example, the mortgage owed to the bank. Debts owed to the person are added.welfare stateA set of government policies designed to provide improvements in the welfare of citizens by assisting with income smoothing (for example, unemployment benefits and pensions).willingness to accept (WTA)The reservation price of a potential seller, who will be willing to sell a unit only for a price at least this high. See also: willingness to pay.willingness to pay (WTP)An indicator of how much a person values a good, measured by the maximum amount he or she would pay to acquire a unit of the good. See also: willingness to accept.winner-take-all competitionFirms entering a market first can often dominate the entire market, at least temporarily.worker’s best response function (to wage)The optimal amount of work that a worker chooses to perform for each wage that the employer may offer.yieldThe implied rate of return that the buyer gets on their money when they buy a bond at its market price.zero economic profitA rate of profit equal to the opportunity cost of capital. See also: normal profits, opportunity cost of capital.zero lower boundThis refers to the fact that the nominal interest rate cannot be negative, thus setting a floor on the nominal interest rate that can be set by the central bank at zero. See also: quantitative easing.zero sum gameA game in which the payoff gains and losses of the individuals sum to zero, for all combinations of strategies they might pursue.