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Friday, December 18, 2009

Economics A-Z (G,H,I,M)

Gains from trade The addition to output and consumption resulting from specialization in production and free trade with other economic units including persons, regions, or countries.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) An international body set up in 1947 to probe into the ways and means of reducing tariffs on internationally traded goods and services. Between 1947 and 1962, GATT held seven conferences but met with only moderate success. Its major success was achieved in 1967 during the so-called Kennedy Round of talks when tariffs on primary commodities were drastically slashed and then in 1994 with the signing of the Uruguay Round agreement. Replaced in 1995 by World Trade Organization (WTO).

Giffen goods The term Giffen goods refers to inferior goods which experience a rise in demand when prices rise and a fall in demand when the prices decrease. This is remarkable because Giffen goods break the law of demand.

A theoretical concept, Giffen goods are named after its conceptualizer, Sir Robert Giffen, as is pointed out in the book 'Principles of Economics' by Alfred Marshall. There is limited proof of the existence of real Giffen goods. However, the presence of Giffen goods have been argued by many economists.

The concept implies that potential consumers of the goods believe that if the price is higher the quality of those goods are higher. Marketing-led pricing studies often find this to be the case, although this typically only applies

Global warming Theory that world climate is slowly warming as a result of both MDC and LDC industrial and agricultural activities.

Gross domestic product (GDP): Gross Domestic Product: The total of goods and services produced by a nation over a given period, usually 1 year. Gross Domestic Product measures the total output from all the resources located in a country, wherever the owners of the resources live.

Gross national product (GNP) is the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year, plus income earned by its citizens abroad, minus income earned by foreigners from domestic production. The Fact book, following current practice, uses GDP rather than GNP to measure national production. However, the user must realize that in certain countries net remittances from citizens working abroad may be important to national well being. GNP equals GDP plus net property income from abroad.

Globalisation or Globalization: The process whereby trade is now being conducted on ever widening geographical boundaries. Countries now trade across continents and companies also trade all over the world.

Human capital Productive investments embodied in human persons. These include skills, abilities, ideals, and health resulting from expenditures on education, on-the-job training programs, and medical care.

Imperfect competition: A market situation or structure in which producers have some degree of control over the price of their product. Examples include monopoly and oligopoly. See also perfect competition.

Imperfect market A market where the theoretical assumptions of perfect competition are violated by the existence of, for example, a small number of buyers and sellers, barriers to entry, nonhomogeneity of products, and incomplete information. The three imperfect markets commonly analyzed in economic theory are monopoly, oligopoly, and monopolistic competition.

Import substitution A deliberate effort to replace major consumer imports by promoting the emergence and expansion of domestic industries such as textiles, shoes, and household appliances. Import substitution requires the imposition of protective tariffs and quotas to get the new industry started.

Income inequality The existence of disproportionate distribution of total national income among households whereby the share going to rich persons in a country is far greater than that going to poorer persons (a situation common to most LDCs). This is largely due to differences in the amount of income derived from ownership of property and to a lesser extent the result of differences in earned income. Inequality of personal incomes can be reduced by progressive income taxes and wealth taxes. This is measured by the Gini coefficient.

Index of industrial production: A quantity index that is designed to measure changes in the physical volume or production levels of industrial goods over time.

Inflation is the percentage increase in the prices of goods and services.

Indirect tax: A tax you do not pay directly, but which is passed on to you by an increase in your expenses. For instance, a company might have to pay a fuel tax. The company pays the tax but can increase the cost of its products so consumers are actually paying the tax indirectly by paying more for the merchandise.

Interdependence Interrelationship between economic and noneconomic variables. Also, in international affairs, the situation in which one nation's welfare depends to varying degrees on the decisions and policies of another nation, and vice versa. See also dependence.

International commodity agreement
Formal agreement by sellers of a common internationally traded commodity (coffee, sugar) to coordinate supply to maintain price stability.

International Labor Organization (ILO) One of the functional organizations of the United Nations, based in Geneva, Switzerland, whose central task is to look into problems of world labor supply, its training, utilization, domestic and international distribution, etc. Its aim in this endeavor is to increase world output through maximum utilization of available human resources and thus improve levels of living.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) An autonomous international financial institution that originated in the Bretton Woods Conference of 1944. Its main purpose is to regulate the international monetary exchange system, which also stems from that conference but has since been modified. In particular, one of the central tasks of the IMF is to control fluctuations in exchange rates of world currencies in a bid to alleviate severe balance of payments problems.

International poverty line An arbitrary international real income measure, usually expressed in constant dollars (e.g., $270), used as a basis for estimating the proportion of the world's population that exists at bare levels of subsistence.

Land reform A deliberate attempt to reorganize and transform existing agrarian systems with the intention of improving the distribution of agricultural incomes and thus fostering rural development. Among its many forms, land reform may entail provision of secured tenure rights to the individual farmer, transfer of land ownership away from small classes of powerful landowners to tenants who actually till the land, appropriation of land estates for establishing small new settlement farms, or instituting land improvements and irrigation schemes.

Macroeconomic stabilization Policies designed to eliminate macroeconomic instability.

Macroeconomics: The branch of economics that considers the relationships among broad economic aggregates such as national income, total volumes of saving, investment, consumption expenditure, employment, and money supply. It is also concerned with determinants of the magnitudes of these aggregates and their rates of change over time.

Market. In marketing terms, market is an organization or a group of customers who are engaged in the buying and selling of a particular product. They possess the necessary finances to buy the product and are allowed by the rules and regulations of the state to do so. The magnitude or size of a market is not fixed. The market for a particular product can be expanded by reducing its price. The market for a particular item may also be expanded by revamping some of the existing rules and regulations. This would lead to a greater number of people buying that particular product.

Market economy: A free private-enterprise economy governed by consumer sovereignty, a price system, and the forces of supply and demand.

Market failure: A phenomenon that results from the existence of market imperfections (e.g., monopoly power, lack of factor mobility, significant externalities, lack of knowledge) that weaken the functioning of a free-market economy--it fails to realize its theoretical beneficial results. Market failure often provides the justification for government interference with the working of the free market.

Market-friendly approach: World Bank notion that successful development policy requires governments to create an environment in which markets can operate efficiently and to intervene selectively in the economy in areas where the market is inefficient (e.g., social and economic infrastructure, investment coordination, economic "safety net").

Market mechanism: The system whereby prices of stocks & shares, commodities or services freely rise or fall when the buyer's demand for them rises or falls or the seller's supply of them decreases or increases.

Market prices: Prices established by demand and supply in a free-market economy.

Merchandise exports and imports: All international changes in ownership of merchandise passing across the customs borders of the trading countries. Exports are valued f.o.b. (free on board). Imports are valued c.i.f. (cost, insurance, and freight).

Merchandise trade balance: Balance on commodity exports and imports.

Microeconomics: The branch of economics concerned with individual decision units--firms and households--and the way in which their decisions interact to determine relative prices of goods and factors of production and how much of these will be bought and sold. The market is the central concept in microeconomics.

Middle-income countries (MICs): LDCs with per capita income above $785 and below $9,655 in 1997 according to World Bank measures.

Mixed economic systems: Economic systems that are a mixture of both capitalist and socialist economies. Most developing countries have mixed systems. Their essential feature is the coexistence of substantial private and public activity within a single economy.

Monetary policy: The regulation of the money supply and interest rates by a central bank in order to control inflation and stabilize currency. If the economy is heating up, the central bank (such as RBI in India) can withdraw money from the banking system, raise the reserve requirement or raise the discount rate to make it cool down. If growth is slowing, it can reverse the process - increase the money supply, lower the reserve requirement and decrease the discount rate. The monetary policy influences interest rates and money supply.

Money supply: the total stock of money in the economy; currency held by the public plus money in accounts in banks. It consists primarily currency in circulation and deposits in savings and checking accounts. Too much money in relation to the output of goods tends to push interest rates down and push inflation up; too little money tends to push rates up and prices down, causing unemployment and idle plant capacity. The central bank manages the money supply by raising and lowering the reserves banks are required to hold and the discount rate at which they can borrow money from the central bank. The central bank also trades government securities (called repurchase agreements) to take money out of the system or put it in. There are various measures of money supply, including M1, M2, M3 and L; these are referred to as monetary aggregates.

Monopoly: A market situation in which a product that does not have close substitutes is being produced and sold by a single seller. See also monopsony.

Multi-Fiber Arrangement (MFA) A set of nontariff bilateral quotas established by developed countries on imports of cotton, wool, and synthetic textiles and clothing from individual LDCs

Multinational corporation (MNC) An international or transnational corporation with headquarters in one country but branch offices in a wide range of both developed and developing countries. Examples include General Motors, Coca-Cola, Firestone, Philips, Volkswagen, British Petroleum, Exxon, and ITT. Firms become multinational corporations when they perceive advantages to establishing production and other activities in foreign locations. Firms globalize their activities both to supply their home-country market more cheaply and to serve foreign markets more directly. Keeping foreign activities within the corporate structure lets firms avoid the costs inherent in arm's-length dealings with separate entities while utilizing their own firm-specific knowledge such as advanced production techniques.

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