A hub of online professional and topical glossaries/dictionaries
?
Dicts
Items 1→50 of 191. Page 1 of 4. items/page.
ABSOLUTE ADVANTAGE  look up translate image
The ability of an economic actor (an individual, a household or a firm) to produce some particular good or service with a smaller total input of economic resources (labor, capital, land, etc.) per unit of output than other economic actors. In analyzing the theory of trade and economic specialization, it is important to distinguish absolute from comparative advantage, since it is comparative advantage that determines the potential welfare gains from specialization and trade, and not absolute advantage. See also: comparative advantage
ACQUITTAL  look up translate image
The judgement of a court that a person charged with a crime has not been proved to be guilty. See also: conviction
AGENCY PROBLEM  look up translate image
Also sometimes referred to as the principal-agent problem. The difficult but extremely important and recurrent organizational design problem of how organizations can structure incentives so that people (“agents”) who are placed in control over resources that are not their own with a contractual obligation to use these resources in the interests of some other person or group of people actually will perform this obligation as promised — instead of using their delegated authority over other people's...(more)
AGGREGATE DEMAND  look up translate image
Also more accurately referred to as aggregate expenditure, this is one of the key concepts introduced by John Maynard Keynes that still today is at the heart of most macroeconomic theories about the determination of the overall level of employment (and thus the level of national income produced) in a country's economy during a given year. Although there have turned out to be a number of logical problems and ambiguities in making the analogy work, Keynes's original basic notion was that “aggregate...(more)
AGGREGATE SUPPLY  look up translate image
Another of the concepts introduced by John Maynard Keynes that still today are used in macroeconomic theories about the determination of the overall level of employment and national income. Like his concept of aggregate demand, the basic notion of aggregate supply was created by analogy to a microeconomic concept originally applying only to an analysis of the market for a single product — in this case, the concept of a supply schedule. Thus, Keynes reasoned, just as the microeconomic theorist...(more)
ALLOCATION  look up translate image
The division of things into shares or portions. In economics, the term refers primarily to the “allocation of resources,” the process by which economic resources get allotted (apportioned, assigned) to their particular uses for directly or indirectly satisfying human wants. The allocation process in a particular society's economy is the process by which the three fundamental economic questions get answered in that society: What goods and services are produced (and in what quantities)?...(more)
ANARCHISM  look up translate image
Any of a variety of ideologies sharing the fundamental belief that the state and all similar forms of governmental authority are unjustified and oppressive and illegitimate and therefore ought to be abolished, with future social and economic cooperation to be carried out only by means of voluntary relationships and consensual agreements under conditions of perfect legal equality. See also: state, legitimacy, ideology, socialism
APPROPRIATION BILL  look up translate image
A (proposed) formal action by a legislative assembly (such as the U.S. Congress or a state legislature) that specifies exact amounts of the government's money that the Treasury may legally pay out (through new hiring, contracts for purchases, findings of individuals' eligibility for income transfer payments, etc.) for each of a list of particular pre-authorized programs carried out by governmental agencies over a specific period of time (normally one year). See also: authorization bill
ARISTOCRACY  look up translate image
A privileged social class whose members possess disproportionately large shares of a society's wealth, social prestige, educational attainment and political influence, with these advantages having been acquired principally through gift or inheritance from a long line of similarly privileged and cultivated ancestors. The term refers also to a form of government in which the state is effectively controlled by the members of such a class. The term tends to have a somewhat unsavory or derogatory connotation...(more)
AUTHORIZATION BILL  look up translate image
A (proposed) formal act (or “law”) of a legislative body (such as the U.S. Congress or a state legislature) that legally establishes a new government agency or program or else renews or extends an existing agency or program whose previous legal authorization to exist would otherwise expire with the passage of time. Authorizations may be for one year or more than one year — about one-half of current Federal spending is by agencies or programs subject to annual re-authorization, while the other...(more)
AUTOCRACY  look up translate image
A system of government in which supreme political power to direct all the activities of the state is concentrated in the hands of one person, whose decisions are subject to neither external legal restraints nor regularized mechanisms of popular control (except perhaps for the implicit threat of coup d'etat or mass insurrection). See also: dictatorship, totalitarianism, fascism
BANKING  look up translate image
In the broadest sense of the term, “banking” is the business of accepting temporary responsibility for safeguarding other people's money (“deposits”) and then lending out these funds (along with the bankers' own funds) in order to earn interest for the bank's own account. Banking firms thus earn their profits primarily by serving as “financial intermediaries” who mobilize the scattered savings of many households and firms (by offering safekeeping services and paying interest on at least...(more)
BARRIERS TO ENTRY  look up translate image
Conditions or circumstances that make it very difficult or unacceptably costly for outside firms to enter a particular market to compete with the established firm or firms that are already selling the good or service involved. These barriers may derive from several causes. Legal or regulatory or other clearly political barriers to entry are historically the most common source of long-lived monopolistic or cartelized conditions in the marketplace, either through overt grants of monopoly to politically...(more)
BARTER  look up translate image
Trading of goods or services directly for other goods or services, without using money or any other similar unit of account or medium of exchange. Although barter represents the earliest form of trade discovered by primitive man that made possible a more extensive division of labor beyond the limited bounds of a family or small clan grouping, it quickly encounters some practical limits to its efficiency as the division of labor becomes still more extensive and more specialized. Bartering requires...(more)
BILL, APPROPRIATION  look up translate image
A (proposed) formal action by a legislative assembly (such as the U.S. Congress or a state legislature) that specifies exact amounts of the government's money that the Treasury may legally pay out (through new hiring, contracts for purchases, findings of individuals' eligibility for income transfer payments, etc.) for each of a list of particular pre-authorized programs carried out by governmental agencies over a specific period of time (normally one year). See also: authorization bill
BILL, AUTHORIZATION  look up translate image
A (proposed) formal act (or “law”) of a legislative body (such as the U.S. Congress or a state legislature) that legally establishes a new government agency or program or else renews or extends an existing agency or program whose previous legal authorization to exist would otherwise expire with the passage of time. Authorizations may be for one year or more than one year — about one-half of current Federal spending is by agencies or programs subject to annual re-authorization, while the other...(more)
BLACK MARKET  look up translate image
A market in which certain goods or services are routinely traded in a manner contrary to the laws or regulations of the government in power. Typical reasons why the market goes underground in this way include the desire by substantial numbers of buyers and sellers to evade restrictive government price controls or inconvenient rationing schemes, to avoid paying heavy taxes on the good or service in question, or simply to be able to obtain forbidden goods or services that the government does not want...(more)
BUDGET  look up translate image
A statement of a government's planned or expected financial position for a specified period of time (usually one year) based on estimates of the expenditures to be made by the government's main subdivisions (wages and salaries of government employees; consultants' fees; purchases of equipment, supplies, real estate, etc.; money transferred to beneficiaries of various programs, and so on) during the specified period, along with estimates of the revenues to be realized from the various sources of...(more)
BUDGET DEFICIT  look up translate image
The amount by which total government spending is more than government income during a specified period; the amount of money which the government has to raise by borrowing or currency emission in order to make up for the shortfall in tax revenues. See also: budget, budget surplus, national debt, fiscal policy
BUDGET SURPLUS  look up translate image
The amount by which government revenues are more than government spending during a specified period. See also: budget, budget deficit, national debt, tax, fiscal policy
BUREAUCRACY  look up translate image
In ordinary usage, “bureaucracy” refers to a complex, specialized organization (especially a governmental organization) composed of non-elected, highly trained professional administrators and clerks hired on a full-time basis to perform administrative services and tasks. Bureaucratic organizations are broken up into specialized departments or ministries, to each of which is assigned responsibility for pursuing a limited number of the government's many official goals and policies — those falling...(more)
BUREAUCRATIC POLITICS  look up translate image
Bureaucratic politics theories or explanations of why particular public policy decisions got made the way they did stress the motivation by the relevant officials in the government bureaucracy to protect or promote their own agency's special interests (in competition with other agencies) as a major motivating factor in shaping the timing and the content of government decisions. Each bureau (or other governmental sub-division) continually strives to maximize its budget and its authorized manpower,...(more)
BUSINESS CYCLE  look up translate image
More or less regular swings or wave-like fluctuations in the pace of a country's economic growth, well above and well below the long-term trend in the growth rate of total production; the ups and downs of overall business activity, as evidenced by surges and declines in GNP and GDP, unemployment rates, and the general price level; the boom-and-bust pattern of recession (or depression) and recovery. In older economic literature (and still today in British usage) the term “trade cycle” is often...(more)
CABINET  look up translate image
A select group of state officials who each head one or more of the principal bureaucratic departments or agencies of the executive branch of government and who meet as a group from time to time for the purpose of discussing current policy proposals and advising the chief executive of their recommendations. (Chief executives usually also maintain one or more additional advisory councils that may well be more influential than the more formal cabinet.) [See also: bureaucracy, bureaucratic politics]
CAPITAL  look up translate image
The existing stock of goods which are to be used in the production of other goods or services and which have themselves been produced by previous human activities. Capital is conventionally subdivided into "fixed capital" and "circulating capital," although the distinction is mainly a matter of degree of durability rather than a clear-cut difference in kind. Fixed capital refers to durable producers' goods such as buildings, plant and machinery, while circulating capital refers to stockpiles of...(more)
CAPITALISM  look up translate image
A form of economic order characterized by private ownership of the means of production and the freedom of private owners to use, buy and sell their property or services on the market at voluntarily agreed prices and terms, with only minimal interference with such transactions by the state or other authoritative third parties. [See also: market, market economy, communism]
CAPTURED AGENCY  look up translate image
A government agency, especially a regulatory agency, that is largely under the influence of the economic interest group(s) most directly and massively affected by its decisions and policies -- typically business firms (and sometimes professional associations, labor unions, or other special interest groups) from the industry or economic sector being regulated. A captured agency shapes its regulations and policies primarily to benefit these favored client groups at the expense of less organized and...(more)
CARTEL  look up translate image
A formal organization set up by a group of firms that produce and sell the same product for the purpose of exacting and sharing monopolistic rents. The intended purpose of a cartel is to reap monopoly profits by artificially restricting output and thus driving the price above the level that would prevail if they remained in competition with one another. This they normally accomplish by agreeing on a relatively high common asking price for their product that none of the member firms will be permitted...(more)
CETERIS PARIBUS  look up translate image
Latin expression for "other things being equal." The term is used in economic analysis when the analyst wants to focus on explaining the effect of changes in one (independent) variable on changes in another (dependent) variable without having to worry about the possible offsetting effects of still other independent variables on the dependent variable under examination. For example, "an increase in the price of beef will result, ceteris paribus, in less beef being sold to consumers." [Putting aside...(more)
CHECKS AND BALANCES  look up translate image
A fundamental principle undergirding the design of American government is that of the separation of powers, which prescribes the parcelling out of the various powers and functions of government to separate and relatively independent levels and branches of the federal system in order to prevent their all being controlled at the same time by any potentially tyrannical political faction. But, to the way of thinking of the Framers of the Constitution, the long-term survival of free popular government...(more)
CIVIL RIGHTS/CIVIL LIBERTIES  look up translate image
The rights of every citizen to freedom of thought, freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of movement, freedom to enjoy privacy and autonomy in the management of one's personal affairs, freedom of private individuals to associate voluntarily and to form organizations for pursuing common purposes, and freedom to participate politically in ways that do not infringe upon the similar rights of others. Although the two terms overlap considerably in ordinary usage (and are often difficult...(more)
COMMERCE CLAUSE  look up translate image
The provision of the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 8, paragraph 3) that gives Congress the authority to regulate trade with foreign nations and among the states.
COMMON LAW  look up translate image
Legally binding rules or principles of justice developed in the course of history from the gradual accumulation of rulings by judges in individual cases, as differentiated from the kind of statute law embodied in special legal codes or statutes enacted by legislative assemblies or imposed by executive decrees. The importance of the common law heritage is particularly great in the legal systems of Great Britain and of most former British colonies, including the U.S. [See also: tort, contract, property rights]
COMMUNISM  look up translate image
Any ideology based on the communal ownership of all property and a classless social structure, with economic production and distribution to be directed and regulated by means of an authoritative economic plan that supposedly embodies the interests of the community as a whole. Karl Marx is today the most famous early theoretician of communism, but he did not invent the term or the basic social ideals, which he mostly borrowed and adapted from the less systematic theories of earlier French utopian...(more)
COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE  look up translate image
The ability of one economic actor (an individual, a household, a firm, a country, etc.) to produce some particular good or service at a lower opportunity cost than other economic actors can. That is, the economic actor with a comparative advantage can produce the particular good or service by giving up less value in other goods or services that he could otherwise produce with his labor and resources than the other economic actors would have to give up in producing that same good or service. This...(more)
COMPETITION  look up translate image
Competition is one of the most important concepts in economics, yet when examined closely, it turns out to be one of the most elusive concepts to nail down in practice. A market in some particular good or service is said by economists to be "competitive" if a substantial number of buyers and sellers trade in the good or service independently and thus no single buyer or seller is so "weighty" in the marketplace as to significantly influence the going price of the good or service by his/her individual...(more)
COMPLEMENTARY GOODS  look up translate image
Two products for which the demand schedules are related to each other so that an increase in the price of the first good will cause a leftward shift of the entire demand schedule for the other good(s) -- that is, less of the second good will now be demanded at any given available price of the second good. (By the same token, a decrease in the price of the first good will result in a rightward shift of the entire demand schedule for the other good(s), so that more of the second good will now be demanded...(more)
CONFEDERATION  look up translate image
A form of government in which the major geographical subdivisions of the country have their own governmental organizations that retain numerous independent rights of policy-making and decision that may not be overridden by the central government, and in which the central government's rights of policy-making and decision are severely restricted. The distinction between a federation and a confederation is not always easy to make, but generally speaking, confederations assign much more limited powers...(more)
CONSERVATISM  look up translate image
A general preference for the existing order of society and an opposition to all efforts to bring about rapid or fundamental change in that order. Conservative ideologies characteristically strive to show that existing economic and political inequalities are well justified and that the existing order is about as close as is practically attainable to an ideal order. Conservative ideologies most often base their claims on the teachings of religion and traditional morality and tend to downplay the reliability...(more)
CONSTITUENT  look up translate image
A person who is represented politically by a designated government official or officeholder, especially when the official is one that the person represented has the opportunity to participate in selecting through voting or perhaps through other methods of indicating political confidence and support. A Senator's constituency consists of the citizenry who reside within his or her state. The constituency of a Member of the House of Representatives consists of the people who live in his or her district....(more)
CONTRACT  look up translate image
A legally binding agreement between two or more competent parties fixing the precise terms and details for a voluntary exchange of goods or services over which the contracting parties possess property rights. An agreement is a legally enforceable contract if and only if: The agreement must be "mutual" (all parties have the same understanding of the meaning of their agreement -- there is a "meeting of the minds"); The agreement must be "voluntary" (none of the parties is agreeing...(more)
CONVICTION  look up translate image
The judgement of a court that a person charged with a crime is guilty. [See also: acquittal]
CORPORATION  look up translate image
Also referred to as limited liability corporation. A type of legal entity provided for in the laws of most modern economically developed countries that two or more investors may agree to create for the purpose of combining some of their resources and going into business together. Corporations have the status of "artificial legal persons" and thus may own property, make contracts, be held responsible for committing crimes or torts, initiate court actions such as lawsuits, and so on. In the United...(more)
COST  look up translate image
In the widest sense, the measure of the value of what has to be given up in order to achieve a particular objective. In everyday language, people most often use the term rather like an accountant does, as synonymous with the total money outlays actually paid out to achieve the objective, but this is not precisely what economists mean by the term. Economists are concerned with rational decision-making, and the rational decision-maker needs to estimate in advance the full range of consequences of...(more)
COUP D'ETAT  look up translate image
A quick and decisive extra-legal seizure of governmental power by a relatively small but highly organized group of political or military leaders, typically by means of the unexpected arrest or assassination of the incumbent chief executive and his principal supporters within the government. For the coup to be successful, the rank and file of the police and military have to be willing to take orders from the new government leaders once the coup is accomplished, so typically the organizers of successful...(more)
DEFICIT, BUDGET  look up translate image
The amount by which total government spending is more than government income during a specified period; the amount of money which the government has to raise by borrowing or currency emission in order to make up for the shortfall in tax revenues. See also: budget, budget surplus, national debt, fiscal policy
DEFLATION  look up translate image
The opposite of inflation -- that is, a sustained fall over time in the general level of prices, normally measured by the annual percentage increases or decreases of a weighted index of prices of some large and representative sample of goods and services (both consumers' goods and producers' goods) regularly traded in the particular economy under consideration. Just as very large scale inflations are normally the result of large percentage increases in the money stock, large-scale deflations are normally the consequence of substantial reductions in the available money stock. [See also: inflation]
DEMAND  look up translate image
The willingness and ability of the people within a market area to purchase particular amounts of a good or service at a variety of alternative prices during a specified time period. [See also: law of demand, demand curve, demand schedule, supply]
DEMAND CURVE  look up translate image
A graphical representation of a demand schedule. Conventionally, the demand curve is usually drawn between axes with price plotted along the vertical axis and number of units of the good or service demanded plotted along the horizontal axis. Where the law of demand applies to the particular market under consideration, the demand curve will slope (either gently or steeply) downwards from left to right. [See also: demand, law of demand, demand schedule, supply]
DEMAND SCHEDULE  look up translate image
A table or listing showing the number of units of a single type of good (or service) that potential purchasers would offer to buy at each of a number of varying prices during some particular time period. Demand schedules may be drawn up to reflect the behavioral propensities of a single unique individual, household, or firm -- or, more frequently encountered in microeconomic analysis, composite demand schedules for the particular good may be derived by adding up all the demand schedules of the large...(more)
first prev Page of 4 next last
Back to Top
Political economy terms
Visibility Public
Created by admin
Created on 2012-08-15 06:11:05
Number of terms 191
Last added None
Members
Sources