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FISCAL POLICY: Use of the federal government's powers of spending and taxation to stabilize the business cycle. If the economy is mired in a recession, then the appropriate fiscal policy is to increase spending or reduce taxes--termed expansionary policy. During periods of high inflation, the opposite actions are needed--contractionary policy. The consequences of fiscal policy are typically observed in terms of the federal deficit.

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CONSTANT RETURNS TO SCALE: A given proportionate increase in all resources in the long run results in the same proportionate increase in production. Constant returns to scale exists if a firm increases ALL resources -- labor, capital, and everything else -- by 10%, and output also increases by 10%. You might want to compare increasing returns to scale and decreasing returns to scale. Returns to scale are the flip side of economies of scale and diseconomies of scale. Although economies and diseconomies of scale focus on changes in average cost, returns to scale focus on production.

     See also | resources | labor | capital | increasing returns to scale | decreasing returns to scale | diseconomies of scale | economies of scale | long-run average cost | output |


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CHANGE IN PRIVATE INVENTORIES

The increase or decrease in the stocks of final goods, intermediate goods, raw materials, and other inputs that businesses keep on hand to use in production. Formerly termed change in business inventories, this is one of two main categories of gross private domestic investment included in the National Income and Product Accounts maintained by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The other category is fixed investment. Change in private inventories tend to be about 3 to 5 percent of gross private domestic investment.

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