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DEFAULT RISK: The probability that a borrowing agent will not pay in full the agreed interest and/or principal. A default risk can be assigned to any bond or loan agreement. Of course, there are some instruments considered default-risk-free, that is, instruments for which the probability that a borrowing agent will not pay is zero. The most noted examples are the U.S. Treasury securities, which have virtually no default risk because the U.S. government guarantees that all the principal and interest will be repaid. When calculating the risk premium on financial instruments, investors use default-risk-free instruments for comparison.

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AVERAGE TOTAL COST: Total cost per unit of output, found by dividing total cost by the quantity of output. Average total cost, usually abbreviated ATC, can be found in two ways. Because average total cost is total cost per unit of output, it can be found by dividing total cost by the quantity of output. Alternatively, because total cost is the sum of total variable cost and total fixed cost, average total cost can be derived by summing average variable cost and average fixed cost.

     See also | total cost | quantity | average total cost curve | total variable cost | total fixed cost | average variable cost | average fixed cost |


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ASYMMETRIC INFORMATION

Information is not equally available to everyone. Asymmetric information results because efficient information search inevitably stops short of compete information. Some people obtain more benefits from information than others, are willing to incur higher search costs, and thus end up knowing more. Or they incur lower information search costs and have easier access to the information. In a market, sellers tend to have more information about the good than buyers. Asymmetric information gives rise to adverse selection, moral hazard, and the principal-agent problem. These problems can be lessened through signalling and screening.

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