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HEDGING: Buying or selling futures contracts to protect against price changes. This is a common form of "insurance" used by those who produce various commodities, such as wheat, cattle, coffee, and natural gas, as well as those who buy these commodities as inputs.

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COMPARATIVE STATICS: The technique of comparing the equilibrium resulting from a change in a determinant with the equilibrium prior to the change. Comparative statics is the primary analytical technique used in the study of economics. A popular example of this technique is found in the study of markets. Comparative statics is used to analyze how the equilibrium price and equilibrium quantity are affected by changes in the demand and supply determinants, which are graphically represented by shifts of the respective demand or supply curves.

     See also | equilibrium | ceteris paribus | economic analysis | determinant | market | aggregate market | equilibrium price | equilibrium quantity | demand shock | supply shock | surplus | shortage |


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PERFECT COMPETITION

An ideal market structure characterized by a large number of small firms, identical products sold by all firms, freedom of entry into and exit out of the industry, and perfect knowledge of prices and technology. This is one of four basic market structures. The other three are monopoly, oligopoly, and monopolistic competition. Perfect competition is an idealized market structure that is not observed in the real world. While unrealistic, it does provide an excellent benchmark that can be used to analyze real world market structures. In particular, perfect competition efficiently allocates resources.

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The portion of aggregate output U.S. citizens pay in taxes (30%) is less than the other six leading industrialized nations -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, or Japan.
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