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WPI: The abbreviation for Wholesale Price Index, which is an index of the prices paid by retail stores for the products they would ultimately resell to consumers. The Wholesale Price Index, abbreviated WPI, was the forerunner of the modern Producer Price Index (PPI). The WPI was first published in 1902, and was one of the more important economic indicators available to policy makers until it was replaced by the PPI in 1978. The change to Producer Price Index in 1978 reflected, as much as a name change, a change in focus of this index away from the limited wholesaler-to-retailer transaction to encompass all stages of production. While the WPI is no longer available, the family of producer price indexes provides a close counterpart in the Finished Goods Price Index.

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Lesson Contents
Unit 1: The Method
  • Overview
  • Components
  • A Process
  • Unit 1 Summary
  • Unit 2: Theory
  • Concept
  • Abstraction
  • Economic Theories
  • Unit 2 Summary
  • Unit 3: Verification
  • Overview & Data
  • Evaluation
  • Evaluation:Don't Agree
  • Unit 3 Summary
  • Unit 4: Science and Practice
  • Set Up
  • Theory
  • Verification
  • Unit 4 Summary
  • Unit 5: Cause and Effect
  • Purpose
  • An Example
  • Analysis
  • Unit 5 Summary
  • Course Home
    Economic Science

    In this lesson you'll see why and how the scientific method is a process of discovery. You'll see that it's a process of building theories to explain the workings of the world (the economy) by proposing then testing hypotheses. The five units making up this lesson will guide you through the basics of the scientific method and how it's used in the study of economics.

    • The first unit introduces the scientific method, especially its' four key components -- theories, principles, hypothesis, and data.
    • The second unit then takes a closer look at theories, including the central role played by abstraction.
    • In the third unit, we will focus on the process of verification -- how and why hypothesized relationships about the workings of the economy are compared with actual data.
    • We then turn out attention to a simple example of how the scientific method is used to test a hypothesized relation between course grades and where students are seated in a classroom.
    • The fifth and final unit in this lesson examines the role that cause and effect plays in the scientific method and economic science.

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    EQUITY

    This has two, not totally unrelated, uses in economics--one of five economic goals and ownership of an asset. As an economic goal, one of the two microeconomic goals, achieving equity means that income and wealth are distributed in a fair manner. What is meant by "fair" is subject to continuing debate. As ownership, equity typically refers to the ownership of a corporation, especially corporate stock. An equity market, as such, is another term for a stock market that trades ownership stock of corporations.

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    Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time browsing about a thrift store trying to buy either a microwave over that won't burn your popcorn or a T-shirt commemorating the first day of winter. Be on the lookout for pencil sharpeners with an attitude.
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