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ZERO SLOPE: A horizontal line in which the numerical value of the slope, calculated as the change in the variable on the vertical axis divided by a change in the variable on the horizontal axis, is zero. In other words, the Y-axis variable is fixed, or constant, for any and all values of the X-axis variable.

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Lesson Contents
Unit 1: Instability
  • Overview
  • Business Cycles
  • Expansionary Good Times
  • Contractionary Bad Times
  • Unit 1 Summary
  • Unit 2: A Simple Cycle
  • Long-Run Trend
  • Contraction
  • Trough
  • Expansion
  • Peak
  • Unit 2 Summary
  • Unit 3: Measurement
  • Indicators
  • Leading
  • Coincident
  • Lagging
  • Unit 3 Summary
  • Unit 4: Causes
  • Complexity
  • Investment
  • The Process
  • Politics
  • The Process
  • Unit 4 Summary
  • Unit 5: Policies
  • Options
  • Expansionary
  • Contractionary
  • Unit 5 Summary
  • Course Home
    Business Cycles

    To purpose of this lesson is to examine the nature and causes of macroeconomic instability, which goes by the handy title business cycles. Business cycles are the recurring expansions and contractions of economic activity that generate the problems of unemployment and inflation. This lesson explores how business cycles can be stabilized with the goal of lessening unemployment and inflation.

    • The notion of business cycles is introduced in the first unit of this lesson, with an eye on what they are and why they are important to study.
    • The four components of a standard, simple business cycle -- expansion, peak, contraction, and trough -- are then presented and discussed in the second unit.
    • The third unit is devoted to several key measures of business cycle activity, especially leading, lagging, and coincident indicators.
    • A couple of the most often discussed causes of business-cycle instability -- investment and politics -- are discussed in the fourth unit.
    • The fifth unit closes out this lesson with an introduction to the expansionary and contractionary economic policies used to stabilize business cycles.

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    PRICE LEVEL

    The average of the prices of goods and services produced in the aggregate economy. In a theoretical sense, the price level is the price of aggregate production. In a practical sense, the price level is commonly measured by either of two price indexes, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the GDP price deflator. The CPI is the price index widely publicized in the media and used by the general public. The GDP price deflator, in contrast, is less well-known, but is usually the price index of choice among economists. The inflation rate is calculated as the percentage change in the price level.

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    APLS

    WHITE GULLIBON
    [What's This?]

    Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time at a flea market trying to buy either several magazines on computer software or a T-shirt commemorating the second moon landing. Be on the lookout for celebrities who speak directly to you through your television.
    Your Complete Scope

    This isn't me! What am I?

    The wealthy industrialist, Andrew Carnegie, was once removed from a London tram because he lacked the money needed for the fare.
    "Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value. "

    -- Albert Einstein

    JPUBE
    Journal of Public Economics
    A PEDestrian's Guide
    Xtra Credit
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