Micro-Economics Glossary for Job Interview
Abundance A physical or economic condition where the quantity available of a resource exceeds the quantity desired in the absence of a rationing system.
Aggregate demand (AD) Total planned to spend on final goods and services.
Aggregate demand (AD) curve shows the relationship between aggregate demand and inflation; because short-run equilibrium output equals aggregate demand, the aggregate demand curve also shows the relationship between short-run equilibrium output and inflation; increases in inflation reduce aggregate demand and short-run equilibrium output, so the aggregate demand curve is downward-slop.
Average total cost (ATC) Total cost divided by total output.
Average variable cost (AVC) Variable cost divided by total output.
Budget Set Different bundles of goods and services that are attainable to the consumer at given market prices and the consumer’s fixed level of income.
Barrier to entry Any force that prevents firms from entering a new market.
Barter The direct trade of goods or services for other goods or services.
Buyer’s surplus The difference between the buyer’s reservation price and the price he or she actually pays.
Competition The process of consumers bidding prices upwards or producers cutting prices in order to allow those agents to be involved in market trade.
Complementary Goods A pair of goods where the quantity demanded of one increases when the price of a related good decrease.
Consumer (household) An economic agent that desires to purchase goods and services with the goal of maximizing the satisfaction from consumption of those goods and services
Consumer’s Surplus The difference between what a consumer is willing to pay for each unit of a commodity consumed and the price actually paid.
Cross-Price Elasticity of Demand A measure of sensitivity in the quantity demanded of one good in reaction to changes in the price of a related good.
Capital gains Increases in the value of existing assets.
Capital inflows Purchases of domestic assets by foreign households and firms.
Capital losses Decreases in the value of existing assets.
Capital outflows Purchases of foreign assets by domestic households and firms.
Cartel A coalition of firms that agrees to restrict output for the purpose of earning an economic profit.
Change in demand A shift of the entire demand curve.
Change in supply A shift of the entire supply curve.
Change in the quantity demanded A movement along the demand curve that occurs in response to a change in price.
Change in the quantity supplied A movement along the supply curve that occurs in response to a change in price.
Closed economy An economy that does not trade with the rest of the world.
Complements Two goods are complements in consumption if an increase in the price of one causes a leftward shift in the demand curve for the other.
Constant (or parameter) A quantity that is fixed in value
Consumer price index (CPI) For any period, measures the cost in that period of a standard basket of goods and services relative to the cost of the same basket of goods and services in a fixed year, called the base year.
Decreasing Returns to Scale (DRS) A long-run production concept where a doubling of all factor inputs results in less than double the amount of output.
Demand A relationship between market price and quantities of goods and services purchased in a given period of time. Represents the behavior of buyers in the marketplace.
Diminishing Marginal Productivity (DMP) A short-run production concept where increases in the variable factor of production lead to the less and less additional output.
Diminishing Marginal Utility (DMU) An economic concept that refers to the notion that additional units consumed of a particular commodity provide less and less additional satisfaction relative to previous units consumed.
Economic Agent A decision-maker involved in any type of economic activity.
Economics The study of how a given society allocates scarce resources to meet the unlimited wants and need of its members.
Efficiency A situation in the allocation of resources where the benefits of consuming one more unit exactly equal the (social and private) costs or producing that good.
Equilibrium A condition where there is no tendency for an economic variable to change.
Expenditure The amount spent by a consumer on a bundle of goods or services (the product of market price and quantity demanded).
Factors of Production An exhaustive list of inputs required for any type of production.
Factor Prices The payments made to the factors of production (rents, wages, interest, and profits).
Final Goods and Service Goods and services that are purchased for direct consumption.
Fixed Costs of Production Those costs of production are independent of production levels in the short run.
Flow Variable A variable that is measured per unit of time.
Income Effect A reaction of consumer’s demand for goods or services due to changes in purchasing power holding relative prices constant (see Substitution Effect).
Income Elasticity of Demand A measure of the sensitivity of quantity demanded to changes in consumer income.
Income-Neutral Good A good where the quantity demanded is unchanged when consumer income changes.
Increasing Returns to Scale (IRS) A long-run production concept where a doubling of all factor inputs more than doubles the amount of output.
Indifference Curve A set of points that represent different bundles of goods that provide the consumer with the same level of satisfaction (or utility).
Inferior Good A good where the quantity demanded decreases when consumer income increases (there is an inverse relationship between quantity demanded and income).
Intermediate Goods and Services Goods (or services) used to produce other goods (i.e., capital equipment)
Long Run Production Production activity where all factors of production may vary in quantity. The firm has the freedom to substitute among these factors or production in an attempt to minimize costs.
Marginal Rate of Substitution The rate by which a consumer may substitute a quantity of one good for another holding his/her level of utility constant.
Marginal Costs The cost of producing one more unit of a good in the short run. A measure of the opportunity costs of the variable inputs in their next best use.
Marginal Revenue The revenue generated to a firm by selling one more unit of a good or service.
Marginal Utility The satisfaction a consumer receives by consuming one more unit of some good or service.
Market Markets refers to the set of all actual and potential buyers of a product or a service.
Monopolistic Competition A market structure is similar to perfect competition in that there are a large number of firms competing in a given industry. However, each firm is selling a differentiated product and may exploit brand preferences such that is may act as a monopolist with respect to its own customers.
Monopoly A market structure where only one firm exists in a given industry. This firm has a high degree of market power such that it is able to act as a price-maker with respect to market prices.
Need Needs are the stage of felt deprivation.
Wants are desires for specific satisfiers of the deeper needs shaped by culture and society.
Normal Good A good where the quantity demanded increases when consumer income increases (a direct relationship between quantity demanded and income).
Oligopoly A market structure with only a few firms in a given industry.
Opportunity Cost The value of a resource applied to its next best use.
Perfect Competition A market structure where many firms exist, each with a small percentage of market share selling a homogeneous product. These firms are all price-takers with no influence on market price.
Price Elastic Demand When the percentage change in quantity demanded exceeds the percentage change in market price.
Price Elasticity of Demand A measure of the sensitivity of quantity demanded to changes in market price.
Price Inelastic Demand When the percentage change in quantity demanded is less than the percentage change in market price.
Unitary-elastic Demand When the percentage change in quantity demanded is exactly equal to the percentage change in market price.
Producer (business firm) An economic agent that converts inputs (factors of production) into output (goods and services) with the goal of maximizing profits from the production and sale of those goods and services.
Producer optimum A choice of input combinations or output levels that maximize the profits of a producer taking all prices as a given.
Producer’s Surplus The difference between the revenue received and the variable costs of production for each unit of a commodity sold. Represents a contribution to fixed costs and producer profits.
Production Function A technical relationship between a certain level of factor inputs and the corresponding level of output.
Production Possibilities Frontier A relationship between two types of output defining the tradeoff that exists in allocating resources from the production of one good to the other.
Profits The difference between sales revenue and the costs of production.
Rationing Systems A process used to match the desire for goods and services with their availability.
Relative Prices A ratio of any two prices or one particular price compared to a price index.
Resources The raw materials and other factors of production that enter the production process or final goods and services that are desired by economic agents.
Revenue The amount received by a producer from the sale of goods and services (the product of market price and quantity sold).
Risk A measure of uncertainty about the value of an asset or the benefits of some economic activity.
Satiation A level of consumption where the consumer is fully satisfied in a given period of time.
Scarcity A physical or economic condition where the quantity desired of a good or service exceeds the availability of that good or service in the absence of a rationing system.
Shortage A market condition where the quantity demanded of a particular good or service exceeds the quantity available.
Short Run Production Production activity where only one factor of production may vary in quantity. All other factors of production are fixed in quantity. Substitution among factors is not possible.
Stock Variable A variable measured at a point in time.
Substitution Effect The reaction of a consumer’s demand for goods based on changes in relative prices holding purchasing power (or utility) constant (see Income Effect).
Substitute Goods A pair of goods where the quantity demanded of one increases when the price of a related good also increases.
Supply A relationship between market price and quantities of goods and services made available for sale in a given period of time.
Surplus A market condition where the quantity supplied of a particular commodity exceeds the quantity demanded
Total Effect The observed change in quantity demanded due to a price change of one particular good.
Unrelated Goods A pair of goods where the quantity demand of one is unaffected by changes in the price of the other.
Utility A measure of the satisfaction received from some type of economic activity (i.e., consumption of goods and services or the sale of factor services).
Variable Costs of Production Production costs are related to changing quantities of a variable factor of production in the short run.
Contributor: Farjana Mahjabin Trisha
From Mawlana Bhashani Science & Technology University