March 23, 2018 

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RATIONAL BEHAVIOR: The notion that people make decisions based on the desire to obtain the greatest amount of satisfaction. Rational behavior essential means that people prefer more to less. The presumption of rational behavior underlies most economic analyses, especially those applied to consumer demand theory.

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Lesson 1: Economic Basics | Unit 5: Policies Page: 14 of 18

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Because markets are imperfect, government is prompted to intervene with economic policies.
  • Economic policies are government actions designed to affect economic activity and pursue one or more economic goals.
Policies can take the form of:
  • Laws passed by legislatures.
  • Administrative actions taken by elected executives.
  • Rules set forth by government agencies.
  • Decisions made through the courts.
The government has four types of policies.
  • Fiscal policy: Based on government's power to collect taxes from the public and spend those funds as it chooses. Used for income redistribution and macroeconomic performance.
  • Monetary policy: Based on government's centralized control of the money supply. Used for macroeconomic performance.
  • Regulatory policy: Based on government's ability to enact laws, rules and restrictions. Used for efficiency and equity
  • Judicial policy: Based on government's ability to enforce laws through the courts. Used for efficiency and equity

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A Latin term meaning that other factors remain unchanged. Ceteris paribus is commonly used as an assumption when conducting a wide variety of economic analyses. By holding everything else constant, the ceteris paribus assumption makes it possible to identify the cause-and-effect relation between two factors. Relaxing the ceteris paribus assumption is the primary analytical technique used in the comparative statics study of economics.

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Francis Bacon (1561-1626), a champion of the scientific method, died when he caught a severe cold while attempting to preserve a chicken by filling it with snow.
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